Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Part 1 – Introduction
("Non-Vegan 'Food' & Child Pornography: A former victim of child sexual abuse makes a screaming plea for help")
Being a vegan in a non-vegan society makes me feel like I'm surrounded by kiddie porn watchers everywhere I go. History shows that human beings, raised in a society in which something unethical is the norm (such as wife beating or discrimination towards a particular group), are blind to the fact that this thing is unethical and accept it or even engage in it rather mindlessly. Therefore, I know that on the one hand these non-vegans are innocent, because they grew up in a culture which taught them to think the imprisonment and murder of animals is ok. And so I forgive them, for they know not what they do. But on the other hand I know they are guilty, because of their compassionless complicity in horrible crimes (such as what you see in the 12 minute "Meet Your Meat" video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VIjanhKqVC4 ).
So even as I forgive them, even as I count some of them as my loved ones, even as I am awed and inspired by some of them for their otherwise compassionate hearts and ethical enlightenment, I nonetheless fear them, distrust them, and am saddened to the core by them -- just as you would be if 99% of the people you knew watched child pornography.
That's right; I said what you thought I said. Kiddie porn. Child pornography. That horrible thing. In my view, eating meat or food that comes from the bodies of farmed animals is like watching child pornography. When a person consumes child porn, they don't abuse children directly but they contribute to the economic demand which drives that abuse to occur (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Child_pornography). So it is with eating animal products. When a person consumes dairy or meat or eggs, they don't abuse animals directly but they contribute to the economic demand which drives that abuse to occur. Neither 'food' from animals nor child porn would be available to purchase if there weren't people out there willing to pay for them.
A harsh analogy? Perhaps. But only because most non-vegans are oblivious of certain facts. Fact1: The lives of farmed animals are as horrible as the mainstream conception of hell. Fact 2: Farmed animals are very similar to us emotionally (see the film "The Emotional World of Farm Animals": http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8312987796490958256 ). Fact 3: Each of these individual animals has its own personality. (People with dogs know that no two dogs are alike. People with cats know that no two cats are alike. But few people realize that the same is true for cows, etc.) So despite that the eating habits of non-vegans help to cause extreme suffering, the fact of their ignorance makes their hearts somewhat innocent. This is unlike a child porn watcher, who knows that what he/she does is wrong, but just doesn't care enough to stop.
And so even though I would say that unnecessarily choosing to eat animal products is as great a crime as watching child porn, I would not say that an ignorant non-vegan is as unethical a human being as a child porn watcher. But once a non-veg€€an knows the horrors that farmed animals suffer and continues to choose to be non-vegan, it's hard for me to see them as any better than a child porn watcher. Yes, the desire to masturbate to images of children is itself an inherently sick desire, whereas the desire to eat things you find tasty is not sick, but I'm not comparing kiddie porn watchers and informed non-vegans in terms of how sick their desires are. I'm comparing them in terms of their lack of compassion and their degree of responsibility for the existence of horrific abuse. Perhaps we can call this a sickness of the heart -- at least that portion of the heart reserved for compassion towards animals.
But how dare I compare mere animal abuse to the sexual abuse of human children!? I dare to because I was a sexually abused child for over five years. It's my experience, and so it's my prerogative to use it to make this comparison. (Yet it should be noted that this child porn analogy is only directed at people who can feasibly choose veganism. There are those for whom veganism is not an accessible choice. I'll discuss this in part 4.)
I believe that I as a sexually and physically abused child had it far better than a typical farmed animal does. Because at least for me there was good mixed with the bad. Besides abuse and neglect, my childhood had more love and fun and cuddles and play and happiness than the average child. And despite the abuse in early life, I was able to grow up, move away from the abusive situation, get some therapy, and have a chance at healing, happiness, and life. But for farmed animals, torture, pain, and misery fill their lives minute by minute, day by day, until it all ends in painful terrifying murder. They never get a chance to heal, to be happy, or to live an existence worthy of the term 'life'.
.Link to part 3 of 5: http://allsentientsfeelpain.blogspot.com/2009/12/part-3-animal-suffering-and-human_8603.html [Note: Part 2 removed.]