It seems the world of animal activism – much like many other areas of liberalism – is getting more and more closed-minded. It seems these days, it’s all or nothing. Now you have to go (pardon my pun) the whole hog!
I don’t think anyone would question my stance on animal cruelty, but I am constantly being alienated because I am a meat eater. I have been extremely vocal in the struggle to ban bull fighting and related activities, but I have had to distance myself from one of the main anti-taurino pages simply because they no longer post anything that doesn’t include a “go vegan” / “meat is murder” tag.
All kinds of animal rights causes are being diluted when battles against outright, everyday acts of cruelty can be won, but people like me who have helped win such battles, are being pushed aside. It is EXACTLY the same as the extreme feminist “STFU white man” rhetoric going on in the literary world. or the campus “safe space/trigger warning” debacle.
Apparently, it’s no longer good enough to be anti-cruelty; you have to be vegan too, to be taken seriously. Well you know what? Bite Me! I’ve been banging these drums for longer than most of these people have been pulling up their own pants, so yeah, bite me!
There is a discussion to be had about the cruel aspects of intensive animal farming, of course. Great, so table an agenda, stop tacking it on to every good deed, every cat shelter, anti-fur, anti-dog fighting Facebook post. I spent most of my adult life in the hotel and restaurant sector, both in management and in the kitchen as a Chef setting meat standards. I’ve seen slaughter houses. I know that what gets labelled as “humane killing” is far from that. It’s done the way it’s done (and I’m not going to be graphic) to preserve meat quality. It sure as hell ain’t pretty; it does what it is supposed to do. With all the cruelty, injustice and horror in the world, well to be frank, if the way we kill our food is your highest concern…tell you what, when it’s the last battle to fight, give me a call.
I don’t like chicken factories, I don’t like the way the birds are treated far less the quality of the product. But you ask Mrs Smith down at the supermarket if she is prepared to pay $/€/£12 per kg for chicken and then let those birds roam free. Meanwhile, how about we let all the birds we don’t eat out of captivity – close the aviaries, shut down the zoos? To me caging a creature that can fly is one of the most hideous acts of cruelty humans undertake. We won’t even get started on the whole blood-sports thing.
Oh, and now as they say, there goes the other shoe. Livestock farming is a greater contributor to global warming than the motor car. Really? I read about it, I can’t say the “statistics” convinced me, but then interested parties have been paying for research to improve their point of view for decades. Maybe, maybe not. But, yeah basically I am now destroying the planet and a cruel bastard to boot! So, here my dear extreme vegan activist is the simple truth: You can convince everyone to stop eating meat, heck; you can even legislate for it, but don’t expect to be happy when you’ve finished. Farming is business. People do it to make a living, plain and simple. Ban GM crops, they’ll grow something else. Ban meat eating and they’ll grow something else. AND EVERY SINGLE DOMESTICATED ANIMAL WILL BE SLAUGHTERED. Oh, except the ones we don’t actually eat; you know dairy herds, sheep for wool – until we are told that is cruel too and the economics kicks in again: Bye, Bye Black Sheep!
We can all help stop animal cruelty, from the guy in the street yanking too hard on a dog’s choke chain to the dog left outside all winter, the animal torture, the abandonment, giving to shelters, better yet taking from shelters, naming and shaming thugs and trophy hunters, and YES, looking after the livestock we raise to be a food source the best we can while it is alive. BUT we can do it without shaming people who are on the same side, just because they happen to accept that our metabolisms and digestive systems, even our teeth are designed to make us omnivores.
They only way we can’t help animals is by making them extinct. There is no “what if we put them on a ranch/reserve/petting zoo” option – have you any idea how many millions of animals we are talking about? Like I said, table an agenda; let’s talk about humane farming practices, raising prices, ending excess production and waste. Why not put up the prices for the rich, lower them for the poor, feed the poorest for free – our own first and then the rest of the world? OR you can carry on losing allies and alienating and shaming people and well…
…let me know how you helped the animals when the last cow is dead.