Investigating Animal Abuse

Today on “The Story” they interviewed “James” (not his real name) who was the guy who filmed the video circulating on facebook about male chicks being ground up alive. 

I have to say – this guy has a lot of strength to do what he does. I can’t even imagine.

After you begin to wake up to just how intelligent non-human animals are, it is very hard to imagine abusing or killing animals for any kind of job… THAT is a form of true altruism if I haven’t seen one… Once you’ve begun down the path of animal rights, it is a true sacrifice to go against those principals and knowingly work for companies and kill animals to expose those companies. The most insane thing for me to think about, is watching people do these things to animals and not being able to do something about it. That involves a lot of restraint.  I feel like I really love but also hate this guy James. I love him for exposing this industry but it’s impossible for me to not feel a tinge of hate because he is sitting in these facilities going along with it and killing animals right along side with them. As a vegan, it’s hard for me to imagine finding it in my conscience to do such things, even knowing how the exposure of these companies would do more good than the harm I personally caused by “going along”.  Someone’s gotta do it though, right?

But then I was thinking – being vegan alone involves a lot of restraint. I think that it was harder for me when I was first vegan, because you get use to things eventually. When I first went vegan, the happiness I felt towards it and the new-found power I felt because of it was something I wanted to spread and share with everyone. I wanted (though I restrained myself, of course) to preach to everyone about the “born-again” type feeling that I was experiencing. It only takes a few situations where you try to get people to see “the light” before you realize how pointless it is (that is, unless the person you are conversing with seems  interested in it or is asking).

I totally could relate to what James was saying on the program. No one wants to hear it… I deal with this and my own boyfriend sometimes. He’s not vegan, nor vegetarian (but he does eat more vegetarian now than when we met).  Even though he eats meat – he does feel the same way I do about many things concerning animals. If he watches a film documenting animal abuse – he often cries but when we start getting into heavy discussions about animal abuse – he often silences me.  He’ll say something like, “I already know how you feel about this.” or “Lets not talk about something depressing before work.”

Maybe I am depressing, I don’t know but I feel that I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I can face a lot of these things HEAD ON without feeling depressed. I’m not sure if I’m desensitized to it, or if I simply have gotten past that denial, freak-out phase that many milk drinking vegetarians face.  Many of the horrors that go on, still make me cry.  If I happen to a video showing a calf being beaten – I will still cry but watching these videos compared to discussing them seems very different to me.  I don’t feel the emotional connection when I don’t have to see it and I’m just discussing it.

It’s dawned on me recently that I think people get emotional because they never think about it, they completely avoid thinking about it.  Anytime we begin to come out of denial about anything, I think the reaction is an emotional one. Connecting the dots sort of broadens the context and people are forced to deal with the very real fact that many of the things they eat have come from conditions similar to the ones I’m discussing or the ones we are watching.

A lot of meat eaters get royally pissed off when a vegan asserts their feelings that they are living in denial and it is true for sure, that not all meat eaters are in denial but I’m willing to bet that for a great deal of meat eaters – they are.  Why do I think that?

Well, I’ve been called a vegan-nazi, a belief-pusher, self-righteous, holier than thou etc by many meat eaters for feeling rage about how animals are treated for food and other huge enterprises.  All of those same people have the same reaction I feel about animal enterprises towards Michael Vick.  I think that this is very telling. 

If they are enraged about a man promoting dog fights – they are no different from any vegan in terms of how they TRUELY feel about animals.

They may have convinced themselves that cows and chickens are stupid (and yes, I’ve gotten this excuse from many meat eaters) – which is a ridiculous argument because not all dogs are smart and most of the time – they are only as smart as those they coexist with.  Would the meat eaters enraged at Michael Vick be okay with dog fights, so long as the dogs used in dog fights are stupid? Or should ALL dogs be protected from dog fighting?  So the stupid argument is just not cool at all. Which is why MOST meat eaters stick to “needing” meat… Because if meat is necessary – than they don’t have to feel guilty for supporting the same kind of treatment Michael Vick supported. Which is why so many meat eaters actually go as far as HATING vegans.  We are proof that meat is not necessary and I’m one of those really pain in the ass vegans that has proved that you can live vegan, even when you live in poverty.

As a vegan, it is VERY hard to not get pissed off at every meat eater that points a finger at Michael Vick because in our eyes – eating meat is JUST AS frivolous as dog fighting in most situations. It’s not necessary, at least not if you live in the US and aren’t homeless or depending on parents. I realize that certain situations are different and meat is probably necessary (Which is why I don’t think that making meat illegal is a good idea) due to geographical reasons.

Seriously – what right do all of these meat eaters have to condemn Michael Vick? Especially since every meat eater I personally know (with the exception of my bf) eats waaaaaaaaay more meat and dairy than is even considered healthy.  I don’t think meat eating would bother me as much if people who ate it, didn’t have to have it with every meal or even every single day. In my opinion – it is much more frivolous than dog fighting (not that I’m trying to justify dog fighting). 

And then I think of things like how animal enterprises are run. How mothers have their babies ripped away from them. Even if you buy your milk at a local store – this STILL happens. Maybe that mother gets to roam freely in a field with fences but it’s still kidnapping in my opinion. This is why I consider being vegan and caring about animal rights very much a feminist issue. If we were taking human beings’ babies away, people would be in an outrage about it.

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