Is it justification enough to continue eating meat, dairy and eggs merely for the fact that we have done so in the past? Just because humans have done something in the past, doesn’t mean it is right to continue doing so.
For instance, we have in the past subjected certain groups of humans to slavery, confinement and death simply because we thought we were superior to them in some way.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the Roman gladiators who would fight to the death before a large audience. If this argument was valid, then we could still hold gladiator fights because we had done so in the past.
We also crucified, impaled and stoned people to death for various “crimes,” burned women alive at the stake for merely thinking they might be witches and massacred large populations to death for believing differently or being from a different culture than us. There are countless atrocities that have been an unfortunate part of our past. Does that mean we should excuse that behavior in the future? Luckily we have realized that those acts are barbaric and, therefore, made them illegal. As humans, we have the ability to reason and do what is morally right. We have the ability to change.
Some cultures today eat cats, dogs, guinea pigs, monkeys, dolphins, or horses. Does it mean this practice is acceptable because it is what they have always done? Is it okay that they eat what we consider to be a pet? What is the difference between those animals that we deem pets, and those animals that we deem food? How is it morally okay to eat a cow or a pig, but completely against our morals to eat dogs or cats?
“We can no more justify using nonhumans as human resources than we can justify human slavery. Animal use and slavery have at least one important point in common: both institutions treat sentient beings exclusively as resources of others. They cannot be justified with respect to humans; it cannot be justified with respect to nonhumans – however “humanely” we treat them.” ~Gary Francione
If we are truly a superior species, we would see that consumption of meat, dairy and eggs have an extremely adverse effect on our health, our environment and the animals and, more importantly, that it is morally wrong. It is time for us to see that we have been wrong in subjecting these innocent, sentient non-humans to abuse, torture and death.
I would like you think for a moment what exactly someone would have to do for humans to hate them so much that they sentence their entire species to abuse, torture, slavery, rape, kidnapping of their offspring and death for all of eternity? What have they done to deserve this?
Let’s elaborate on what we do to non-humans:
Abuse. Perform a search in any search engine on the internet for animal abuse and you will find thousands and thousands of accounts of abuse and torture of non-human “farm” animals. It is not far-fetched to say that they are subjected to abuse every single day. There are 56 billion land animals per year killed for human use. This means that abuse is likely occurring every second of every day. There can never be a humane way to provide as much meat as our human population consumes. It must be efficient and fast in order to keep up with demand. The well-being of the animals is the absolute last thing being considered. Employees must keep the kill line going no matter the cost, and get frustrated and sometimes abusive in an attempt to keep things moving along. After all, if the production is held up, they have their supervisors to answer to…potentially risking their jobs. That is a lot of pressure placed on the employees, especially if they are trying to support their family and may not have a many other options available to them for employment. They don’t have time to worry about the downed cow, the pig’s broken leg or the turkey’s broken wings. The problem doesn’t lie with the employees of these factory farms, it lies in our pocketbooks for creating the demand.
Torture. Torture is inflicting severe pain on someone. For example, in any egg production establishment, whether free-range, backyard, or cage-free, they must obtain their laying hens from a hatchery. Hatcheries are extremely cruel to baby chicks. When a baby chick is born, he is immediately thrown into containers for sorting. Since employees have to do it quickly, he is thrown into the container, and then yanked out of the container where he is checked to see whether he is male or female. In this process, it is not uncommon for chicks to get caught in the machinery, ripping legs, wings or skin from their bodies alive. If male, he is either thrown into a macerator where he is ground up alive or suffocated in a plastic bag with thousands of other male chicks. If female, she is sent over to be debeaked and declawed without painkillers. Imagine how much slower production would be if they took the time to anesthetize each chick before performing these procedures. Their beaks and toes are very sensitive and have many nerves running through them, making the procedure extremely painful and traumatizing.
Slavery. Non-humans are used in every way imaginable, horses pull people in carts or carry them on their backs, ox pull plows through fields, elephants, lions, tigers and other animals are forced to perform in circuses and zoos, mice, rabbits and guinea pigs are used for testing. The list could go on and on. I personally deem this slavery as they are not performing by choice, they are held against their will to perform certain tasks. Oftentimes, if they cannot perform to the “owners,” they are killed.
Rape. Rape is defined as a type of sexual assault involving sexual intercourse or other forms of sexual penetration without the consent of those individuals. For example, turkeys have been bred to grow so incredibly fast that they cannot even manage to reproduce on their own anymore. Workers violently grab male turkeys by their legs, force him to ejaculate and collect the sperm. They then violently grab the female turkeys by their legs, and forcefully impregnate them. For cows, they “collect” sperm which involves forcefully taking sperm from bulls and impregnating cows by inserting their arms into their vaginal canals. How is this not sexual assault? If we did this to humans, perpetrators would be punished to the full extent of the law. But when we do it to non-humans, we have no problem with it. I’ve even had people laugh and call it absurd that we label this as rape. Please explain how this isn’t rape.
Kidnapping. Kidnapping is defined as taking, seizing and carrying away someone by force. In the dairy industry, it is routine to impregnate cows as mentioned above, and then forcefully remove the calf from the mother almost immediately after birth so the calf does not take the milk they want to sell to humans. Now this simple sentence sounds bad enough, but actually seeing this experience rather than reading it is quite traumatizing. The farmer takes the baby calf away from the mother. Oftentimes, the mother cries and follows the farmer in an attempt to be with her calf. Once the calf is removed from the mother, many will try to break down fences to get to their babies. The mother cow cries for days for her calf. The calf is then kept in dark until he’s sent to slaughter for veal (at only weeks old) or is raised to be a dairy cow like her mother. Mother pigs oftentimes can only law down in one spot unable to move or stand up while they nurse their piglets until they are taken away. Oftentimes, the piglets are removed to have their teeth cut, their tails cut off and their testicles removed without anesthesia. Many of them die from shock right in front of their mothers. [the following video is not graphic]
So, tell me exactly what someone would have to do to deserve this? Apparently nothing, because that is what non-humans have done to deserve this…nothing. They are vulnerable, and we are exploiting them. In humans, it would be illegal, people would be outraged. In non-humans, most people either look away or encourage it. Just because our human race has committed these atrocities on non-humans in the past, does not give us a pass to continue doing so into the future. We have the ability to see the error of our ways, we have changed our ways before, and we will keep changing our ways if we have any chance of continuing to evolve.