I took this picture of two adjacent magazines yesterday in the Whole Foods checkout line. For those who may have been paying attention, this was the message:
“The Animal Mind: How they think. How they feel. How to understand them… and how to dominate them, exploit them and grill them once we’ve killed them”.
(far in the background, a “Real Food” poster depicting fruit hangs virtually unnoticed)
The Time Magazine cover story does not question whether animals think and feel, but rather it plainly indicates that non-human individuals think, feel and can be understood. In a word, they are sentient, and when it comes to inclusion in the moral community, sentience is all that matters. Unfortunately, by choosing a photo of “man’s best friend” as the animals’ representative rather than an individual from a species not commonly held in high regard, fetishized and one of the chosen groups with whom humans often share their homes and lives, Time subtly reinforces the otherization of those animals not fortunate enough to have been deemed by humans to be “pets” and companions.
If It’s “Invisible”, Why Do We See It Everywhere We Look?
Contrary to what a certain author – one who promotes reducetarianism and “reducing harm” rather than advocating unequivocal veganism – might suggest, I submit that there is no “invisible belief system” compelling humans to use and eat animals (the concept has certainly sold a lot of books, but so has Dianetics…). The speciesism that underlies and fuels our global society’s deadly disconnect where non-humans are concerned, and its manifestations, could not be more stark, overt and obvious:
Love, cherish and protect these animals. Enslave, exploit and execute these animals.
Is there a morally significant difference between the two groups?
No. The only difference is the one arbitrarily assigned by non-vegans based on how humans can most benefit from objectifying non-humans and using them as “things” to satisfy our pleasures. When humans victimize other humans in that way, there is an almost universal outcry against what is rightly understood to be oppression and a vociferous demand that it stop at once. Conversely, when humans victimize non-humans in that way, they begin fabricating easily refutable excuses, rationalizations and justifications to make the unacceptable acceptable. We find “right” ways to do wrong things. We justify killing for pleasure, comfort and convenience.
That is speciesism, and that is unacceptable.
If one agrees that it is wrong to harm and kill unnecessarily, then since there is no human need to consume animal flesh or secretions or to use animals for any other reasons, animal use is therefore unnecessary and it becomes one’s moral obligation to live vegan.
Denial of reality does not change reality, it merely provides a temporary escape from emotional discomfort and cognitive dissonance. It’s time to stop pretending that the obvious is hidden and work under the premise that fits reality – there are things in this world that are easy to see but difficult to look at. When we agree to look at them together, we can start living in the solution and end the problem for good.
Those who argue against veganism are, knowingly or not, arguing in favor of exploitation, oppression, enslavement, bullying, theft and needless death. Once non-vegans are educated and come to understand these stark realities, changes happen. Lives are transformed. A vegan world is within our reach.
[I encourage all readers to click the blue links embedded in this essay and explore the information on those sites. Also, please read our Disclaimer regarding external sites, organizations, individuals, etc.]