I have become so inundated with thoughts trying to conceptually make moralistic vegan concepts come to life within my mind, to find myself more resentful of the class hatred it takes to be hardcore and militant about something so trivial. I understand the need to end the brutality that has become the meat industry, but why is it so common place to protest this system of oppression and continue to treat human labor as normative? Certainly our capitalist society has been unremorseful and completely barbaric to our animal neighbors, but how can one worry so wholeheartedly about the welfare of cows and pigs while there are starving children in our midst? It has easily become the quandary that affects the creation of my own personal discourse the most. I read a post recently that complicity says that one cannot be a feminist and a consumer of dairy products. I literally had to sit back and ask myself how people can be that gullible and buy into such ignorant rhetoric. Certainly the dairy industry has become a racket of overusing of a cows life simply to force reproduction. It is a very sickening practice, and it has connotations within our own society’s rape culture. I guess this simply has to be another matter of morality and the value of certain lives.
I for one have always placed a higher value on the life of people than animals. I understand that some may find it honorable to protect and stand in the corner of animal life, and I believe humans need to do that, but I have a hard time believing that a person could ever stand in the corner of protecting life while telling half of the worlds population that their plight is no reason to not adapt to a lifestyle decision. Feminism is a human matter, not one that is contingent based upon other creatures in the order of life. Moral vegans are more worried and put off by cows being used and produced for milk than they are women being used as sex slaves and cheap labor throughout the world. That is irrational at best. Animal life can’t be protected when the agents of change are being treated as badly or worse. Over half of the world’s population is starving. Cows in the meat industry are still fed. Cows in the milk industry still have it better than human beings alive on this planet. That to me is a more pressing problem than milk. You have children being used as sex slaves and drug mules across the globe, and you want people to feel obligated to drop those truths to protect cows on a dairy farm? That is absurd at the very best.
I choose to drop moral conclusions from the vegan movement. My ire stands against capitalism, the leader in murder across the planet. Capitalism kills human beings AND animals in the name of profit and imperialism from coast to coast. WE are all targets and there is a price on all of our heads. When human beings have to resort to being nothing more than ticks on a balance sheet, how can you expect people to worry about the well being of chickens? When indigenous tribes are being slaughtered across the world to obtain fossil fuels and vital land bases for industrial use is it really ethical or moral to prioritize animal meat consumption? The animals will stop being used and abused for their commodity value when human beings aren’t treated in the same way. I do not intend to continue this lifestyle of abjuration of class ethics; it is not intended to do any real good. Our social structure is built on a system of necessity and convenience. I do believe that if someone can be vegan, it is in their best interest to do so, but isn’t this a fascist means of control over others to demean and convey ill willed sentiment with others due to their personal choices?
There are many medical groups that understand the need for meat consumption, Doctors Without Borders for instance, have put together many programs that deal with child malnourishment and most if not all doctors say children need meat, milk, and eggs. Moral vegans scoff these ACTUAL facts as merely justification for more slaughter and more oppression. I can only imagine what these so-called moralists would say to a starving person in a third world country who has no options outside of the meager amounts of food they have, including insects and other organisms that they desperately consume because they have nothing else. Would you really tell these people they need to observe your dietary choices unless they want to be labeled oppressors? If so, you are my enemy and you are the enemy of egalitarianism. Egalitarian social structures are not built to support and make sure animals are happy, they are the realization that if human beings are free from oppression, then hopefully we can mutually build a priority system to not oppress other species either.
Animals will have a much better opportunity at survival when the agents for change and social growth (humans) aren’t being treated as the same slabs being sold in the market. There is no rhetoric that can be enough to change that fact so save your breath. I have kept my vegan lifestyle quite private because I am tired of the problematic arguments that seem to come from this movement. I don’t want to be associated with it. I refuse to be part of a classist, white supremacist, racist, non-egalitarian movement. I don’t support human hatred. You cannot be cruelty free and be a didactic high-minded vegan, they are not companionable. Sorry folks.
Interesting view but you fail to identify four key issues:
1) When you question how people can pay attention to the suffering of cows and chickens when humans are suffering, this extends to the following idea: human suffering is more important, more of an injustice, and that we should concentrate on these issues first. So I am curious as to what your definition of justice is, if it is not rectify a wrongdoing; the quality of being fair and reasonable; equitable; and moral righteousness. To claim justice is a human centric concept is very anthropocentric and contradicts the very chore of the term “justice”. As a realist I accept that there will always be human suffering in the world, and therefore—according to your logic—there will always be enough injustices and human suffering to marginalise wrongs done to animals. But justice is not a finite commodity, as Matthew Scully states, “where we find wrongs done to animals, it is no excuse to say that more important wrongs are done to humans beings, and let us concentrate on those. A wrong is a wrong, and often the little ones, when they are shrugged off as nothing, spread and do the gravest harm to ourselves and others.”
Let me give you an example of why this logic is so flawed. In Europe in 2001 more than 10 million animals were disposed of because of foot and mouth disease. This situation is easily treated with medication and easily avoided if the animals are not living in mass-confinement facilities—where disease is highly abundant and highly contagious—or being fed the ground up remains of other animals. If the government and agricultural sector had not fostered this same view, these animals would not have been so mercilessly thrown into burning pyres all across Europe, the farmers would not have suffered the loss of so many animals—or as one writer at the time called it an “economic disease”—and Europe would not have suffered from the “mad cow” scare. The sheer fact is, is that not even you could stomach seeing cows, pigs, sheep and lambs being shot, thrown into burning pyres (some still alive), and bulldozed into muddy graves. Such massive punishment with complete disregard, so I ask you, is that not an injustice? Should we continue to overlook issues like this whilst human suffering still exists?
2) You make a very brave statement when you claim “cows in the milk industry still have it better than human beings alive on this planet”. Unfortunately there are A LOT of ramifications to this statement and it is deeply embedded in speciesm, racism, imperialism and Orientalism—quite frankly a lot of isms. Let me give you an example, a lot of people justify the exploitation of black people because they believe that the black slaves in the U.S. had it better than in Africa because at least they were fed. I am simply going to focus on why this is deeply embedded with Orientalism. Said’s Orientalist wholly exists as a concept around a biologically inferior human being, he states the notion of the Other is exclusively coined by the one marginalises them i.e. the Orient is created by the Orientalist. Your view that human suffering is more important than animal suffering provokes Orientalist thinking because you harbour the view that one specie is more important than the other, just as the colonialists harboured the view that white people were more important than black people. Or the view that black slaves had it better than the “savage” blacks in Africa. The ramifications of this statement is that you advocate the notion of us vs them and use this difference to justify your superiority and their inferiority, and just as the conquerors gave the indigenous people the identity of a savage man, you give animals the identity of a less important being.
If you are going to foster that view you have a lot of explaining to do because once upon a time, blacks were less important, children were less important, women were/are less important. You claim to be a feminist and yet to mirror the same pattern of thought of previous forms of exploitation, as you depict those—animals—that you exploit as less important. We can agree on one thing: naturally I believe that people will only start caring about animals when the majority of human suffering is alleviated, not because humans are more important, but as anthroforms we are naturally evolved to care more about the safety of our own species. But until that time comes or if it comes, your logic is very flawed and echoes Orientalist thought, in which the identity of the inferior is defined by the scholar who gives it. That is what I believe is absurd at its very best.
3) You claim a lot of medical groups, such as Doctors Without Borders, stress the necessity to eat meat, dairy and eggs. Perhaps you aren’t aware of how corrupted the nutritional guidelines in the U.S. and the West are by the corporate interests of Kraft, Nestle etc—the giant conglomerates who sell the most meat/dairy/eggs. These stakeholders can pay to be on the food pyramid. I am not American but I am very aware of how health care programs work in the U.S.. Food nutrition is organised by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and they fund the science to justify it through a local state academic institution. And yet, the United States—the biggest consumer of meat/dairy/eggs—has one of the highest rates of heart disease, osteoporosis, cancer, obesity, and diabetes. If you look outside the establishment and mainstream science and do further research you will find very contrasting information.
- The China Study—examined the relationship between animal products and illnesses across 65 rural counties in China—concluded that people with a high consumption of animal-based foods were more likely to suffer chronic disease than those who ate wholly plant-based diet. Additionally, it showed that a plants-based diet could reverse the development of chronic diseases.
- The United Healthcare/Pacificare nutrition guideline recommends a plants-based diet.
- National Geographic featured an article, The Secrets of Living Longer, which recommends a plants-based diet through a study on the Sardinians, Okinawans and Adventists who “suffer a fraction of the diseases that commonly kill people in other parts of the developed world”.
- A recent Harvard study showed pasteurized milk products from factory farms are linked to causing-hormone dependent cancers because of the dangerously high levels of estrone sulfate, an estrogen compound linked to testicular, prostate and breast cancers. This information is not noted by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, the USDA, or the conventional milk lobby. Additionally, new provisions in the 2012 Farm Bill create even more incentives for farmers to produce lower-quality milk and incentivize confined factory farming methods—the very culprit of why modern milk is no longer nature’s finest product.
- Read this science report, Fatty Acids in Dairy and Meat Products from 14 European Countries, to learn about the level of cholesterol, saturated fat and transfatty acids in meat, dairy and eggs.
- Animal protein is shown to accelerate osteoporosis because of the high level of acid in dairy, this forces the blood to reestablish a proper Ph balance. In order to do this, the body withdraws calcium-phosphate from the bones as a buffer and uses alkaline mineral phosphate to neutralise the acid. Calcium is then excreted through our urine e.g. the Harvard nurses health study which followed 85,000 nurses for 12 years and found those that consumed animal protein had a higher risk of bone fracture because muscle protein has a high sulphur content.
- The International Agency For Research On Cancer (IARC) concluded that those eating 2 ounces of meat a day had a 50% greater risk of developing cancer of the colon or the rectum. Those eating more of 5 and a half grams of meat a day had over twice the risk of developing colon or rectal cancer.
4) To conclude your argument you claim, “I refuse to be part of a classist, white supremacist, racist, non-egalitarian movement.”
Here are a few reasons why eating meat is in fact classist, white supremacist, racist and a non-egalitarian movement:
- The developed world exports grains to developing countries and imports meat with it. If this trend continues, the developing world will not be able to produce enough food to feed itself as farmers are abandoning traditional crops in favour of raising animals to sell meat-eaters in the first world e.g. 80% of starving children live in countries that actually have food surpluses but farmers use the surplus grain to feed animals instead of people.
- In some of the world’s poorest nations, grain and land that could be used to feed the hungry are instead being fed to animals whom end up on the dinner plates of the rich e.g. famine in Ethiopia during the 1980s did not occur because there was no food but on the contrary, European nations imported grain from the impoverished country to feed chickens, pigs and cows… during the crisis tens of thousands of people died but if the grain had been used to feed the Ethiopians who grew it, the famine could have been averted.
- 2/3 of the grain exports to other countries is used to feed farm animals instead of people, as Dr Waldo Bello, the executive director of the Institute for Food and Development Policy, states, “there is enough food in the world for everyone. But tragically, much of the world’s food and land resources are tied up in producing beef and other livestock—food for the well-of—while millions of children and adults suffer from malnutrition and starvation. In Central America, staple crop production has been replaced by cattle ranching”.
- American companies are moving into South American countries and buying up land and grain so that they ca raise animals to sell to meat-eaters in the States. These companies use the resources that should be used to feed the local people, so millions of people in South America and around the world are going hungry while animals raised for food consume their grain and destroy their environment e.g. in Guatemala, 75% of children under the age of 5 are malnourished and yet the nation continues to produce and export around 40 million pounds of meat to the U.S. every year.
- In 2010 Human Rights Watch began a campaign to end immigrant child labour in U.S. agriculture. They found child labourers (who are often as young as seven or eight) working on these industrial farms can expect to work 14-16 hours a day, seven days a week.
- An inquiry in 2010 into the treatment of agency and migrant staff at meat and poultry-processing firms showed widespread evidence of abuse and exploitation. Additionally, there was a lack of health and safety protection and workers did not know their rights. The inquiry on 260 workers found workers were being pushed, kicked, verbally abused, refused permission to go to the toilet, and pregnant workers were mistreated and suffered instant dismissal.
- Supermarkets have driven down the costs so you can buy your meat/dairy/eggs cheaper which has also driven down the costs of the supply chain with tens of thousands of workers paying the price, suffering discrimination and unfair treatment i.e. a two-tier market in which there are migrant agency workers that are exploited on poor conditions which undercuts employed workers on better conditions.
I had a look at your blog and I noticed you list ‘environmentalism’ as one of your ideological interests. I find this very confusing as the meat and livestock industry requires a tremendous waste of water (a vegan diet requires 300 gallons of water per day whereas it takes 4,000 for a meat-eater), 30% of the earth’s land, is incredibly energy intensive, is causing millions of acres of deforestation and will claim nearly half the amazon’s rainforest by 2050, makes up 1/3 of the fossil fuels consumed in the U.S., and leads to billions of tons of faecal contamination which contaminate our waterways. And the recent report by the United Nations on climate change stressed the need to make a global shift toward a vegan diet if we want to combat the worse effects of climate change.
As for your very loaded concluding statement, I believe it is testament to the fact that you need to do a lot more research before you claim to be the only moralist living a “high-minded” and “didactic” lifestyle.