The time for beating around the bush is well and truly over. With more than 70 billion farmed animals now slaughtered annually around the globe (often in the most nightmarish way) merely to satisfy selfish culinary or cultural habits – and with millions more forced to be victims in outmoded methods of clinical research or perverse ideas of fashion, sport and entertainment – the time to push for robust change in the way we collectively treat animals has never been more urgent.
Some human beings are inherently cruel; terminal sociopaths devoid of any sense of empathy, fairness or justice – they simply don’t care, and likely never will. The majority of us however, consider ourselves to be reasonable, and at least on a basic level, to actually care about our fellow sentient beings. Herein lies the paradox. Although we may be troubled somewhere in the back of our minds – as habitual consumers of the flesh, skins and secretions of non-human animals – we conveniently disassociate ourselves from any meaningful emotional connection to the horrendous suffering so frequently inflicted upon them. Why is this? Are we hypocrites? Are we fools? Are we morally lazy? And the bottom line is yes – tragically, we are. There is no way we can proclaim ourselves to be lovers of animals while also condoning the systemic abuse of such vast numbers for wholly unnecessary purposes. There is no way we can consider ourselves to be noble advocates of social justice by championing the rights and welfare of humans while deliberately ignoring the desperate plight of so many non-humans. The very notion of being civilized is at stake here; there are no half-measures – we cannot be authentic environmentalists, philanthropists, feminists, socialists or liberationists of any kind while simultaneously exploiting animals in the barbaric, unenlightened way that we do.
Failure to acknowledge the suffering of others has always been to the shame of the human species. The time to wise-up to a more inclusive sense of empathy, compassion and solidarity is now!
By Edward Jackson
The above commentary was posted to Vegan Fierce with the express permission of Edward Jackson.