This post from Gia made me want to re-address the issue that I touched very lightly upon a while back about the hypocrisy of eating meat.
I have no real theme throughout this post except it being a brain dump of all the things I struggle with in my life, thinking about what I do wrong, what I could do better and how hypocritical I am.
ANIMALS WHO ARE RAISED FOR CONSUMPTION
There is a big difference between treating animals like happy animals until they are slaughtered for food, and treating animals like a commodity until they are slaughtered.
A lot of grocery store beef, chicken, pork and so on, have horrible conditions for the animals until they’re slaughtered.
Chickens for instance, have their beaks cut off and pigs have their tails snipped off so that when they are in distress being cooped up together in a tight pen or coop without any room to move or roam around, they are unable to go berserk and bite/peck and attack one another out of sheer insanity.
I’d rather pay more to eat a chicken or a cow that had a long and happy life before being slaughtered.
Milk is also not exempt from this.
The treatment of dairy cows is horrific. They are producing amounts of milk that is not natural because they’re being injected with hormones and so on. I totally acknowledge this, yet I still drank milk during my pregnancy to get the calcium I needed. I stopped shortly after giving birth.
ANIMALS EAT OTHER ANIMALS
What sets us apart as humans is that we are sentient enough to realize that we don’t NEED to eat meat as omnivores and can survive as vegetarians, then it becomes a lifestyle choice, not something hardwired in us.
I do not have a problem with eating meat, and being an omnivore, although I do tend to veer more towards vegetarianism these days. I’m eating a lot less meat, I find. Animals in the Animal Kingdom eat meat and kill other animals, we are sentient beings who technically can live without meat and eat beans, but I really do enjoy the taste of meat, even if I don’t eat it all the time.
Haven’t had beef in a LONG time.
LONG-TIME TRADITION OF ANIMAL PRODUCTS AND FOR CONSUMPTION
Beaver pelts for hats, goose down in jackets, fur as a winter insulator for us fur-less humans. These are all things we did in the past to survive and thrive.
Is it really wrong? I struggle with this one. I think if an animal is killed for no good reason — not for meat, but purely for vanity or for ridiculous medicines where people think the animal can actually cure you with its tusk, horn, bile, or body parts, then it is not a tradition I support.
I don’t even support eating shark’s fin. I had it a few times when I was a kid and liked it very much but as I got older, we stopped that practice and now I don’t eat it out of principle, yet I really like eating foie gras, but mostly because we eat ducks, even if they are force-fed to have their livers engorged and to grow large (I struggle with that too).
I’m a hypocrite.
EVERYTHING CRUELTY-FREE? GOOD LUCK WITH THAT
Cruelty-free products are things I buy and look for, but I also know that you can’t always find everything truly cruelty-free.
Animal testing is a difficult subject for me.
On the one hand, it advances science. On the other, it experiments on animals who don’t have a representative or a voice to speak out against what is being done.
WHAT ABOUT HUMAN BEINGS IN FACTORIES?
We are the only animals to enslave our own, kill our own in needless wars and do unspeakable acts against our own kind just because of a different gender, colour of skin, look, origin, etc
Aside from animals, people who are into cruelty-free everything should also consider the working conditions of where their garments have been made.
They’re cruel to those people who have to work to make those products. I am not immune to this, as I own a lot of products from Apple for instance, where they’re FOR SURE made in sweatshops in China.
But what are my options?
I struggle with this because I need a computer for work, and I want to use it for my personal life as well. If I could pay $2000 more for my laptops to make sure that they had decent working conditions, I would, but not many people have money for that, let alone money for Apple products.
WEARING LEATHER OR USING ANIMAL-BASED PRODUCTS
I wear and buy a lot of leather. I also have no problem with this because I eat and others eat, cows. I don’t like things where we don’t use the meat of the animal, like fox fur and so on, unless it’s vintage and it’s already been years since it was done before people were aware of the situation.
Otherwise, I steadfastly avoid wearing or using items from animals that are just killed for the sake of their fur.
I feel particularly bad for elephants and their beautiful ivory tusks. Or poor bears chained in compounds to have their bile drained for (stupid) traditional medicines.
However I do think as a society we are eating FAR too much meat. For one thing, it isn’t good for your body and we should eat more like the Japanese — a little bit of meat for flavour, and a whole lot of grains/vegetables/fruit.
For another, the destruction of land and habitats for animals just to raise cattle for consumption is unbelievable. Animals are literally dying and becoming extinct because we can’t control our meat consumption to something reasonable.
THIS IS WHY I PREFER SECONDHAND CLOTHING
I prefer buying secondhand or vintage. It just makes me feel better about my choices, not to mention that it saves me money.
WHY DO WE LOVE KITTENS AND PUPPIES BUT NOT PIGLETS AND CHICKS?
I am not a pet owner, but I do like looking at baby animals and pets. It would be wrong and extremely untruthful of me to say that I don’t ever feel pangs of guilt eating meat when I think about how that animal was once a baby animal.
Why is it that we love cats, dogs and so on, and would never EVER think of killing or eating them, but then turn around and stuff our faces with cows and pigs?
I am not trying to turn anyone vegetarian, but I am really curious as to how our brain compartmentalizes animals into “suitable-to-eat” and “unsuitable-to-eat” categories.
You might say that it’s because traditional pets are smart, almost sentient in a way, and they have feelings and emotions.
I would counter that all animals have feelings, although some animals may display it in a more anthropomorphic manner than others.
Animals, ALL animals, have the capability to love and be loved. They form attachments, have emotions and sometimes, act very much like humans.
Just check out Mr. G and his friend Jellybean.
EXOTIC ANIMALS ARE THE WORST PETS FOR ME & I HATE ZOOS
I also have a problem with people taking exotic animals, declawing them and treating them like pets. This is why I also don’t like zoos. I have started to feel quite uncomfortable with the idea of zoos, which I like to term “animal prisons”.
That’s all I had to say .. so far on the topic, but you are totally right that you can’t be into being cruelty-free in one area and then turn a blind eye to the rest.