Howard Zinn was featured on DemocracyNow!’s Friday 11/24/06 broadcast, and it tied together many issues that have been on my mind. I highly recommend listening to it. He is the author of “A People’s History”, a book that has been on my list of books to read for a while. I’ll get to it soon.
The AETA passed. President Bush signed it into law. This country doesn’t look too friendly for animal rights activists, whether we’re peaceful and law abiding or not.
Meanwhile every 30 seconds another 10,000 animals are slaughtered in the U.S.
I volunteer at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary, where something like 100 animals live, saved from abuse and slaughter. From neglect. From terror and pain. 100 animals. But 10,000 are slaughtered every 30 seconds. 10 billion are slaughtered every year for human consumption just in the United States. 10 million companion animals are killed every year for lack of a home, though more are born every day, purposely bred for the money they can bring.
It makes the 100 animals saved at Poplar Spring seem like no more than a drop in the bucket, but for those individuals it is everything. It is their life. It is the care and love they receive instead of torture and death. That makes it so much more than a drop in the bucket.
The crazy thing is that every animal being slaughtered is being slaughtered as a direct consequence of humans making certain choices. Making the choice to buy the eggs, the milk, the cheese, the meat. Making the choice that compassion means less than the fleeting pleasure on their tongues. Making the choice that the ability to dominate gives them the right to. Making the choice to ignore their moral obligation to recognize the right of other sentient beings to live their lives.
These scones, however, are vegan. They tasted even better than they look. It isn’t that we give up great tasting food when we go vegan – vegan food arguably tastes better, and definitely causes no suffering. Easy choice, you’d think.
And it is a choice. Humans have no need of animal products in their diet, and in fact animal protein causes an incredible amount of damage to their health. So the incompassionate choice is compounded by being unhealthy. The lack of compassion most humans feel towards other animals, as shown by their consumption choices, is thus extended to themselves.
What does this have to do with the AETA and the war in Iraq and the CIA in Central and South America? Everything and nothing, it seems. I can’t help but to believe if we cared about every life, we’d really care about every life. Let’s abolish war. Let’s make better choices. Let’s not take away people’s right to voice their dissent, to protest things they know is wrong. Let’s pay attention to history, read more than just the approved versions that make it to the school history books, and maybe even learn from our mistakes. Let’s recognize everyone’s right to live their own lives, regardless of species. I know I ask for too much, but that isn’t going to stop me from asking anyway.