Recently a scandal has broken about puppies and kittens being, in essence, routinely tortured and killed in English laboratories. From the undercover video taken by the British Union for the Abolition of  Vivisection (BUAV) I quote: these puppies are ones “that will never experience the love of a human family, the joys of going for a walk, or felt the grass beneath their feet.”

Animal suffering isn’t a new phenomenon, just because we have taken cats and dogs into our homes as pets and formed affection towards them has jumped them up to astounding levels in our hierarchy of the value of life. People often delight in showing you photos of their pets,  funny cat videos have taken a fever of their own and have facilitated cats’ growing affection in our hearts. Our dogs are ‘man’s best friend’, we care for them, love them, take them into our family. Unfortunately, the inconvenient fact is that there is no difference between the animals snuggling up with you on the sofa and the animals on your plate. They too each have their own unique and interesting personality which never has the chance to flourish, they have the ability to form bonds and affections and feel pain and suffering as much as any puppy or kitten.

Image from http://www.morguefile.com/

We live in an era where there are more than 150 billion unnecessary and wholly preventable killings a year, let that number sink in. In a society  so acutely conditioned and habituated that it has devalued life to a point where 150 billion deaths a year has crept up on us. Each year in the UK alone, more than 900 million animals are slaughtered for food, that’s 30 every second. 30 lives, every single second. Since you’ve been reading this article, hundreds of animals have been killed. Furthermore, this figure doesn’t include fish, who are killed in such vast numbers that they are counted in tonnes. A slaughter rate so high that we must quantify it by the weight of their mass carcasses.

The Express labels this use of puppies and kittens in laboratories as “horrific” and the Daily Mail article’s highest rated comments are: “Howling in fear and agony. Absolutely barbaric. An extremely upsetting video,” “even cattle don’t suffer as long as these poor things” (even cattle?), “it’s enough to make you vomit”, “I hope all those involved die in screaming pain”. So I suppose following their own ideology they had better prepare themselves for the same fate as chances are they eat the carcasses of the animals who have most probably suffered more and been killed less ‘humanely’ *cough*. I have been continually informed by many  that this is somehow disparate, that it’s different to eat your pet because you’ve formed affections with them but that the animals we eat have been purely bred for this purpose. A point that seems to fall to the ground as soon as it leaves the barrel, I love my sister with all my heart and would never do harm unto her, but thus I also wouldn’t do harm unto an unknown girl because I appreciate she may be someone else’s sister and they most likely feel just the same as me. If you wouldn’t kill a puppy or a kitten then please don’t blinker yourself to the routine and large-scale mass killing of animals throughout the world both in laboratories and abattoirs. Your food may come neatly packaged and you bore no witness to the suffering and killing, but although there may be no blood on your hands, trust me, blood has been shed.

The ‘horse meat scandal’ was another smack in the face for common sense, the matter of fraud and misrepresentation was of course an issue. However, outrage broke out amongst many at the possibility that a poor helpless, defenceless horsey had potentially been killed for their dinner. Of course, the furore that broke may have been  focused elsewhere if in middle-class suburban paradise we were equally in the habit of riding on the backs of cows, plaiting their mains and encouraging young girls to play with ‘my little calf’ figurines. Although, the fact is that this is not the case, the love and affection is directed towards another species and thus the 35 million cows slaughtered annually is merely an habituated by-product of our nutrition.  However, in some deep, dark corner of our minds we are aware of the unpleasant and inconvenient truth. JBS Family Butchers in Sudbury recently has been forced to take down its window display of various body parts of butchered animals’ carcasses because of a stream of ‘hate-mail’ and complaints that the sight was distressing and unsettling for their children, especially those that had pets.  Clearly this illustrates children’s and to some sense our own level of consciousness regarding the uncomfortable and afflictive truth that we push to the back of our minds so as to persist with our untroublesome lives eating the food to which we are accustomed to. We can sleep easy at night in the knowledge that we have so sharply and unconsciously configured our ethical principles to those of society that this sheer conformity has facilitated our  veiling of this uncomfortable truth.

Image from http://www.morguefile.com/

However, this is a truth that children are aware of and evidently find unsettling, perhaps because they are too young and innocent to have yet become habituated  victims of society. I know there are many themes that are to be shielded from children’s innocent eyes, for example sex. However, this is a purely adult theme. Yet we continue to feed children meat while simultaneously sheltering them from the back story: the systematic, ritual suffering and killing of animals which the child can accurately draw stark comparisons with their own much cherished animal companions. We thus inhibit them from making their own informed decisions. If you believe a child is too young to be exposed to this distressing and disconcerting reality and thus make their own life choices then don’t feed them meat until you believe this point has come.

I’m sure I will garner some level of objection, I do understand that the animals’ massacre can be considered to some extent purposeful, for alimentation. Yet, this is not a necessary plight. This systematic, large scale, painful killings of animals whose lives are cut short without barely beginning is not something I can personally bare on my conscience. In anticipation of your criticisms please refer to the FAQ section. It’s taken me a lot of strength to articulate my feelings and I have wobbled a great deal over the proportionate variable of offending people; people who hold the general, majoritarian social mindset and propelling my view into the public eye. I often try to keep my views hushed, swept under the rug, no one likes a liberal, know-it-all, in your face, brandish crank. Right? Ultimately however, on balance I think you have to stand strong to your principles; defend the defenceless and give a voice to the voiceless. Maybe I’m wrong and I’m sure I’ll be told if I am, but I can take the flack in the neck if I can sleep easy at night with the perhaps idealistic dream that one day all animals will garner the same respect and affection that we lavish unto our chosen subset of species.

FAQ

1. Animals aren’t like humans, they were put on this planet for our use.

How can so many lives be so nonchalantly stripped of all value and purpose beyond our own egocentric view.

.       I agree! But, I couldn’t go without meat! It’s so tasty I simply couldn’t live without it

In the face of mass slaughter and suffering I tend to let my heart, soul and mind lead me and not my taste buds.

3. They are killed humanely

This is one of the most laughable oxymorons, of course there are different levels of suffering involved in each killing, that’s why murderers often are condemned to different sentences in prisons, but ‘humane’ isn’t an adjective that can be pinned to ‘killing’ without a ludicrous juxtaposition. It is incongruous and self-contradictory in itself and used purely to ease your heavy, guilty soul.

4.       Plants are alive too, but you eat them?

Please re-evaluate your existence on this planet.

3 Comments »

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  • Joe
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    Brutal condescension isn’t exactly a sure-fire method for persuading people to agree with you…

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  • Frenchy
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    Using your point that pets and farm animals aren’t very different, I think that there is no problem with eating dogs or horses, or any other animal for that matter. After all, rabbits are adorable little creatures often kept as class pets; they taste wonderful.

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  • Natalie
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    I stopped eating meat when I was a young child because of this cruelty. I understand that many people don’t want to be vegetarians but I really can’t see a difference between a dead cow and a dead horse when it’s placed on a plate.

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