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An Injury to One is an Injury to All

Abuse of power is always wrong. Abuse of animals legitimizes the abuse of power over human beings (sexism, racism, homophobia and all the other "isms"). This leads to war.

What's the point of knitting a sweater-while unraveling it at the same time? Women fighting for reproductive and equal rights, social justice workers, gays and lesbians fighting homophobia, civil rights activists and even environmentalists "unravel" all their good work if they abuse their power over animals and Nature! What a bitter irony!

What is the source of racism, sexism, homophobia, exploitation of the poor by the rich, genocide, war and all the other ways humans oppress each other? Why are we arrogantly destroying Mother Earth who sustains all living beings-including humans and their global economy? Why do these insane practices from the age of barbarism continue?

[ United Poultry Concerns I Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth ]

An Injury to One is an Injury to All!
Animal rights linked to human rights
by Elaine Charkowski

What's the point of knitting a sweater-while unraveling it at the same time? Women fighting for reproductive and equal rights, social justice workers, gays and lesbians fighting homophobia, civil rights activists and even environmentalists "unravel" all their good work if they abuse their power over animals and Nature! What a bitter irony!

What is the source of racism, sexism, homophobia, exploitation of the poor by the rich, genocide, war and all the other ways humans oppress each other? Why are we arrogantly destroying Mother Earth who sustains all living beings-including humans and their global economy? Why do these insane practices from the age of barbarism continue?

Humans have used prejudice to justify exploiting each other for thousands of years. All prejudice is based on "otherness." Oppressors regard the oppressed as "different." Nuclear weapons make this primitive "us vs them" worldview as dangerous as it is outdated.

In "Animal Liberation," Peter Singer calls prejudice against animals and the Natural World "speciesism." Cruelty to animals, environmental destruction and human vs. human oppression are all interconnected abuses of power.

Jeremy Bentham, a philosopher centuries ahead of his time, opposed both slavery and cruelty to animals. He said, "The question is not 'Can they reason?' nor 'Can they talk?' The question is 'Can they suffer?' No matter what the nature of the being, the principle of equality requires that its suffering be counted equally."

Ranking the suffering of some beings as being more important than the suffering of others is an ethical slippery slope. Descartes, with heartless arrogance, said animals were just unfeeling mechanisms created for us to use and their cries of pain were merely the sounds of machinery!

Men with these views easily ignored the agonized cries coming from the filthy holds of their slave ships since they regarded their human cargo as animals without souls!

A secretly-taped video showed slaughterhouse workers hacking the legs off cattle and skinning them while these suffering beings were still fully conscious! According to the Humane Farming Association, workers are forced to slaughter at blinding speed or get fired. This means they often don't have time to stun the cattle before cutting them to pieces!

Poultry slaughterers (mostly women of color) often get carpal tunnel syndrome from cutting chicken's throats at a brutal pace day after day. When their arms become exhausted, their blades often miss. Many of these pitiful birds are still fully conscious when dipped in scalding water to remove their feathers.

Karen Davis PhD. founded United Poultry Concerns (www.upc-online.org) to promote compassion for domestic fowl. She said, "The argument that a group of individuals is 'all alike' has been used throughout human history as an excuse to oppress that group and so, harming them seems less horrendous. Chickens, whether intelligent or stupid, individual or identical, are sensitive beings. They feel pleasure and pain and experience fear and well-being. This is enough to make it wrong to cause them pain and suffering."

Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple is a tireless activist who fights racism. She made the connection between animal abuse, sexism and racism when she visited a factory farm. When she saw thousands of suffering hens crammed into filthy cages her heart was filled with grief. At that moment, she realized these hens were her sisters!

Women who fight sexism, domestic violence and exploitation must understand that they perpetuate their own abuse when they exploit animals-especially female animals-by eating their flesh.

In his book An Unnatural Order, Jim Mason traced the source of what he calls Dominionism (the abuse of animals, the environment-and humans). As gatherer-hunters, we saw ourselves as part of the natural world. At that time, most humans believed every being, including animals and plants, had a soul and was sacred. When hunters killed an animal, they apologized to its soul since they knew the animals were their relatives.

This worldview changed roughly 10,000 years ago when humans began to dominate nature with agriculture and animal husbandry. Domestication (enslaving) animals required blunting compassion since each animal was known as an individual. Thus, animals had to be regarded as "lower" beings without souls in order to kill them without remorse.

No longer relatives, animals and plants were now seen as merely "things" to be exploited. This was "justified" because animals and plants are "different" and thus "lower" than humans. In addition to legitimizing slavery, sexism, war, and all oppression against "different" people, Dominionism also legitimized the rape and plunder of the entire Natural World.

According to the bible (Genesis 1:2),"God blessed them and said to them, Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle and over all the wild beasts that move upon the earth."

Globally, modern human society is still based on primitive Dominionism (might makes right) as can be seen by the rising tide of war and violence against "other" people and Mother Earth Herself. Thanks to male-supremacist organized religion, Dominionism has had a long shelf-life. It's supported and enforced by all the father-god religions, including Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism, and Confucianism.

Some Buddhist sects teach that one must be born a human male to achieve enlightenment! The Dalai Lama eats meat! He believes this is OK since he didn't kill the animal! What about the "karma" of slaughterhouse workers?" (to learn more about "compassionate Buddhism, see Friendly Feudalism: The Tibet Myth Michaelparenti.org)

Richard Lewinsohn, author of "Animals Men and Myths," said the corral was the first concentration camp and the rope around an animal's foot the first shackle. Many people eat meat and use animal products from animal concentration camps (factory farms) without even considering the feelings of the suffering beings they consume.

The misery of fellow humans (overworked slaughterhouse workers) is also not given a thought. The meat industry deliberately builds slaughterhouses in impoverished areas where workers endure horrible working conditions—and racism. Americans are pitted against immigrants. In the slaughterhouse, humans and animals alike are exploited and abused.

Manifestations of speciesism, such as factory farms, rodeos, circuses and bullfights are condoned by the dominant culture of Dominionism. Societies desensitized by Dominionism are unlikely to stop abusing humans, exterminating their fellow earthlings and destroying the natural world. Speciesism perpetuates Dominionism.

The wealthy ruling class treats everyone else like most humans treat animals and uses military force (murder and torture) to protect its economic interests. Under Dominionism, we are all the cattle of the rich whose corporate media promotes violence and "otherness." Divide and conquer makes us easier to control and exploit.

However, Mason and many psychologists believe violence is a learned behavior and that humans, especially men, are naturally kind and non-violent -when not abused.

For example, in the violent and impoverished Congo, brutalized soldiers have been killing and eating Pygmies! This is an extreme example of regarding people as "the other" since the soldiers regard Pygmies as animals. However in Iraq, another soldier, Sergeant David J. Borell, took the moral high road even in the horrible midst of war.

An Iraqi father asked him for medical aid for his three badly burned children, so Borell asked army doctors for help. He was outraged when they refused! When he saw the Iraqi children, he immediately visualized his own daughters instead of dehumanizing the Iraqi children as "the other," or "enemy children."

There is also ancient evidence that men are not naturally violent. In her book The Chalice and the Blade, Riane Eisler cites archaeological evidence from peaceful Goddess societies in ancient Crete proving that it's not natural for men to wage war. Murals and artifacts indicate these men enjoyed 1,500 years of peace!

Men must no longer legitimize their violent acts using the excuse of "testosterone poisoning."

When we practice acts of compassion in our everyday lives by being kind to animals and avoiding animal products, we resensitize ourselves and lay the foundation for a new worldview based on empathy with the oppressed instead of "otherness."

Mason believes a compassionate world of peace is within our grasp. An Unnatural Order" can be ordered at your local bookstore.

None of us are free if one of us is caged!

 
 


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Comments

Re: An Injury to One is an Injury to All

This article amazes me on so many levels, it's amazing. The flight of ideas from one statement to the next, amazing. The gender and sapien bigotry are abundant, amazing. It's like a lead story, amazing.

Truely an amazing article.

Ed Ward, MD,
Founder, LA-CRC, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LA-CRC/
Founder, LSMP, groups.yahoo.com/group/LSMP/
edward19(at)cox.net (at) = @ (for the @ crawlers) my email.
thepriceofliberty.org/ward.htm
www.quickbase.com/db/99r7qj9f (Class action lawsuit state info)
groups.yahoo.com/group/louisianacivilrightscouncil/ (LA state info)
groups.yahoo.com/group/LA-CRC/ [Louisiana Civil Rights Council Message Board]
Learn about your Family and Individual Constitutional Rights and this governments Constitutional Restrictions and Vote.
www.google.com/search
 

Re: An Injury to One is an Injury to All

Thank you for posting this, Elaine. I've been vegan for 20 years. While so many on the left are rightfully outraged by all the human deaths in Iraq and Palestine, where is the thought toward the billions of animals who are suffering and dying on factory farms and in laboratories at the same time that our human brothers and sisters are suffering at the hands of our government? When I go to peace marches and see activists munching down the corpses of animals, I know we have a long way to go. When one consumes violence, one becomes that violence.
 

Re: An Injury to One is an Injury to All

YAY to those who find it important to be conscious of how we treat animals as a society. Abusing animals in industry is another naturalized but also hidden practice with a lot of brutal realities obscured by the smooth surface of a cold-cut. YUM!

But this article takes moral stances and makes hierarchical value judgments that I can't stomache and that I think are violent abuses of power and privilege.

It starts out saying that all abuse of power is wrong. But all abuse of power isn't 'wrong' as I see it because I have a hard time using words like right and wrong when I've been told that most of the shit I like to do is wrong and bad.

And I was confused about this whole 'otherness' thing. Like how was their no problems with otherness until agriculture? Agriculture caused otherness? I think super-speculative narratives of history based on psuedo-anthropological abstractions cause otherness and I'm feeling other'ed right now!
I appreciate animal empathy but I am sick of holier than thou value schemes in left/anarchist scenes. I resent those that make a heirerchy of political causes with theirs at top. How much more divisive can you get?

Everyone makes choices about how their political expressions will manifest. There is no reason to believe that consciousness of speciesism (sic?) is objectively more important than other oppressions. Objectively to who? Everyone has their own set of political situations that make them feel personally oppositional. There is no 'real' cause of all the bad stuff in the world, if reality is mediated by power and doesn't exist beyond communities.

I'm all for veganism and I'm vegetarian but vegan snobbery worries me because it is intentionally exclusionary and constanstly sounds like a moral stance! Class War isn't the only thing that is 'really' going on, but neither is animal oppression! Someone who is eating a ham sandwhich at an antiwar protest isn't anymore hypocrtical than a vegan in sweatshop made clothes (and I don't care if the clothes are 'really' bought found or stolen, every made in korea 100% cotton black hoodie sends a message...)
 

Re: An Injury to One is an Injury to All

Art of chickens by Doug Argue

www.dougargue.com/index.html
 

Re: An Injury to One is an Injury to All

> A secretly-taped video showed slaughterhouse
> workers hacking the legs off cattle and
> skinning them while these suffering beings
> were still fully conscious!

Sounds pretty horrific, huh? But are you similarly horrified when a cheetah does much the same thing to its prey? Why not?

Perhaps you see the cheetah as being "different" in some manner that leads you to hold the cheetah to a "lower" standard than you do of a human. Why is this? Have you "otherized" the cheetah?

If the defining question is, as Bentham puts forward, "Can they suffer?", then does it make any difference whether the animal's suffering is caused by a slaughterhouse worker, a hunter-gatherer, or a wolf? And if we, as elitist humans -- the self-appointed "cops of the bioregion" -- conclude that the animal can suffer, then what should we do? Should we intervene... come crashing onto the scene with our sirens and flashing lights in order to interfere with the wolf's suffering-laden feeding patterns?

You claim that everything went to hell when humans began to practice animal husbandry AND AGRICULTURE. So why do you then proceed to rant about the evils of the slaughterhouse, yet never once decry the brutal patriarchal domination that is reinforced every time I plant another row of organic tomatoes in my back yard?




> As gatherer-hunters, we saw ourselves as part
> of the natural world. At that time, most
> humans believed every being, including animals
> and plants, had a soul and was sacred. When
> hunters killed an animal, they apologized to
> its soul since they knew the animals were
> their relatives.

Assuming that this is true,
 

Re: An Injury to One is an Injury to All

To Ne@nderthal, from Elaine

Wild carnivores have *no choice* but to kill animals. They evolved to need animal flesh to survive. However, humans can *choose* to avoid eating animals by becoming vegetarian and *can survive and thrive* without eating animals.
The planet's remaining tribal hunter-gatherers also often have *no choice* but to kill animals to survive, especially in northern or arid regions where there is not enough edible vegetation to sustain their lives.
The criteria is survival—which is NOT the abomination of "sport" hunting by humans who dont need the animal to survive.
Regarding your remark about " brutal patriarchal domination that is reinforced every time I plant another row of organic tomatoes in my back yard," eating vegetables is necessary for humans to survive and causes less death than eating a factory farmed animal that was fed by killing many plants.
Eating factory farmed animals also causes millions of humans to starve.
The *millions of tons of wheat and corn* fed to enslaved food animals could eliminate famine in many parts of the world by using it to feed starving humans instead of using it to mass produce millions of helpless enslaved factory farmed animals.
At least wild animals have a chance to flee the tribal hunter or carnivore-unlike the "domestic" (enslaved) animals in cages who were bred by humans and cant even survive in the wild anymore.
Turkeys have been genetically engineered to be hugely obese, They cant even breed or walk properly and suffer from joint pain. Humans have no right to play "god" and create beings for food that are capable of suffering.
 

Re: An Injury to One is an Injury to All

well ,it seems as though people are getting excited in the mind ,and trying to start fights within the activist community , we need to stick together if we want any kind of change to come , not try and find things to seperate up , . now befor we go any ferther i want to say that this is just the way i feel and i do not empose any jugment on others , and speak for no one other then me ,,,,,,so back to the topic. all beings are unique and feel strongly about diferent issues, and we must respect that, but we still need to be free to educate people , so i feel that picking apart the article to find something ofencive to someone and then writing off the core issue as being non credable ,. i will admit, there were some slightly jugmentable comments , but if you are trying to promote an idea you have to go to lenths to make people think about it , this can be a hard thins to do and not offend anyone.. so i am thankfull for the article and also the commentry ,, we need to stop this war between veg. and non veg. , i meen a protester eating meat is still beter then no protester, and a yuppy vegan is beter then no vegan , we all chose witch battles to fight and not everyone can fight them all . and for me i identify as VEGAN/ACTIVIST WHO CARES FOR NON VEG. ACTVIST. p.s. do not mind the spelling its anarcy in writing.
 

Re: An Injury to One is an Injury to All

LN,

So meat eaters are to be banned too? "corpse eathers" are responsible? I take offense, I am a carnivore and I hate oppression and fascism. While it is my personal believe that NO One should be allowed to buy a meat that they had not personally killed (once is enough to make future purchases). AND YES, THERE WOULD BE ONE HELL OF LOT LESS MEAT BEING EATEN if that were to happen. But, I like meat occasionally. Hundreds of thousands of years have prepared my system for meat, along with nuts, berries, etc. AND YES, THERE WOULD BE ONE HELL OF LOT LESS MEAT BEING EATEN. And being a corpse eater, as humanely as possible, within the food chain that has allowed mankind and all previous animalas to survive to this point, I TAKE OFFENSE TO BEING CALLED PART OF THIS PRESENT US TYRANNY OF TODAY.

Carniveganores for Equality and Constitutional Rights (CECR). Requires one, as quick and as painless a death as possible, (without the need of vet approval) for the dinner that will be partaken. Look for a few more to not partake of dinner. JMO. After that, it's a Carnivores Constitutional Right to eat meat. Is everyone to be thrust in veganism and carnivores called fascist because we eat meat, while those under any label (fascism itself if this happens) vilify us not for our actions but what we eat?
Is any American not allowed to eat what she wants to eat? Will they be made criminals next?

Ed Ward, MD,
Founder, LA-CRC, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LA-CRC/
Founder, LSMP, groups.yahoo.com/group/LSMP/
edward19(at)cox.net (at) = @ (for the @ crawlers) my email.
thepriceofliberty.org/ward.htm
www.quickbase.com/db/99r7qj9f (Class action lawsuit state info)
groups.yahoo.com/group/louisianacivilrightscouncil/ (LA state info)
groups.yahoo.com/group/LA-CRC/ [Louisiana Civil Rights Council Message Board]
Learn about your Family and Individual Constitutional Rights and this governments Constitutional Restrictions and Vote.
www.google.com/search

FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
 

Re: An Injury to One is an Injury to All

To Ed Ward MD,

Yikes!
Regardng your comment "I TAKE OFFENSE TO BEING CALLED PART OF THIS PRESENT US TYRANNY OF TODAY.
Using capital letters in your post makes me realize that I caused you insult and anger —which is NOT what I wanted do do!!
I did **NOT** mean to imply that people who eat animals are fascists and tyrants!
Regarding your other comment
" Is everyone to be thrust in veganism and carnivores called fascist because we eat meat"?
NO! NO! NO!!! I wrote the article to inform meat eaters about facts they may not have known concerning the cruelty of the meat industry. Facts deliberately hidden from the public by the corporate media and the meat industry (such as mis information about the safety of meat and mad cow disease and the abuse of slaughterhouse workers).
I wrote the article because my hope is that, armed with this knowledge, meat eaters would **choose* to begin learning vegan alternatives to meat such as in cookbooks like The Compassionate Cook" which has many recipes (based on recipes containing meat and dairy which are **adapted** to vegan fare). These delicious vegan adaptatons are helpful to those beginning to shift away from meat and ease the transition.
I NEVER intended to imply that meat eaters ARE fascists and be FORCED to go vegan! This would be facist! I think rude vegans who deliberately insult meat eaters caused the term "Food Nazi" to be created!
Again, I believe any exploitation *legitimizes* ALL exploitation and that human abuse of power over animals **legitimizes** the abuse of power over humans, NOT that meat eaters are abusive facists.
I am criticizing the action of eating meat—not the meat eaters!!! I hope this clears things up.
 

Re: An Injury to One is an Injury to All

Dear Elaine,

Thank you for a very kind informative response. I definitely understand your problems with corporation farms, public information and coporation media. The correlation between ordering a burger and the killing of a cow is tucked away in the subconscious of the orderer. Not many would be willing to eat the burger if, as in the old days, they actually had to kill the animal themselves.

Again, thanks for clarifying. As the unexplained thrust of the article seems to implicate eating meat to racism, slavery, oppresion, dv and a multitude of fascist's crimes.

My Best to You, Yours, Equality and Constitutional Rights,

Ed

Ed Ward, MD,
Founder, LA-CRC, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LA-CRC/
Founder, LSMP, groups.yahoo.com/group/LSMP/
edward19(at)cox.net (at) = @ (for the @ crawlers) my email.
thepriceofliberty.org/ward.htm
www.quickbase.com/db/99r7qj9f (Class action lawsuit state info)
groups.yahoo.com/group/louisianacivilrightscouncil/ (LA state info)
groups.yahoo.com/group/LA-CRC/ [Louisiana Civil Rights Council Message Board]
Learn about your Family and Individual Constitutional Rights and this governments Constitutional Restrictions and Vote.
www.google.com/search

FAIR USE NOTICE This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.
 

Re: An Injury to One is an Injury to All

Ed said:
>Not many would be willing
>to eat the burger if, as in
>the old days, they actually
>had to kill the animal themselves.

Actually, Ed, even in the "old days" most people didn't have to personally kill the animal from which they ate. HG societies usually have sexual division of activities like hunting, thus leaving at least half the group out of the hunt. Then factor out the kids, elderly, and otherwise unable. Finally, consider the degree to which a succesful hunter (or hunt group) would likely share his bounty with others, including hunt-eligible men whom had not participated in this particular kill. You are left with the high probability that even in the "old days," most folks did not have to personally kill the animal that they ate.

Admittedly, most of these folks would be much closer to that kill, and might be expected to help with cleaning/preparing/cooking the carcass, etc.

FOR ELAINE:
I respect the point that you are trying to get across to meat-eating folks. I would suggest that you might consider focusing your message more clearly.

If the primary point that you wish to impart is that factory farms/slaughterhouses are unimaginably horrific, then expand on that while leaving out the Dominionism, Speciesism, Religion, class analysis, and/or broad generalizations about human nature based upon pseudo-scientific novels. This is not to say that these other points aren't valid in their own right, but merely to say that they tend to distract and hinder the target reader from getting the central message that you want them to get. They get so riled up by these other emotionally-charged and value-laden terms that they can't even begin to seriously consider the "slaughterhouse" issue.

However, the horrors of the modern commercial slaughterhouse do not alone constitute a compelling argument against the eating of all meat, but rather for the personal avoidance of meat that comes from such a source. The issue is the same with eggs and dairy products.

In solidarity,
ne@nderthal
 

Re: An Injury to One is an Injury to All

To Ne@nderthal from Elaine
Dominionism (Speciesism, class abuse, sexixm etc and all human abuse) IS the central issue since the abuse of humans over animals spills over into human society
ANY exploitation *legitimizes* ALL exploitation which spills over into humans abusing humans.
The domination and abuse of certain humans is "justified" by relegating the exploited human to animals status, (such as slaves and women). At one time, slaves and women were said to have no souls—like the animals.
Consider who said this—the dominators who abuse power in their societies.

I'm not saying all who eat meat or inadvertantly exploit animals ARE cruel, I am focusing on the *practice of meat eating and all animal exploataion* as a form of domination (abuse of power) over the animals.
In an imperfect world with limited choices, all we can do is to try to avoid food and inductries that exploit animals whenever we are able to. Hope this clears my arguement up.
Regards, Elaine
 

Re: An Injury to One is an Injury to All

Elaine, you state that Dominionism (encompassing seemingly all forms of hierarchy and/or exploitation based upon race, class, gender, species, etc) "IS the central issue" of your article because humans' socially-accepted treatment of non-human animals serves as the basis for rationalizing hierarchical treatment of other humans. (If I have mischaracterized your position, please let me know.)

If, as you argue, humans rationalize their abuse of other humans "by relegating the exploited human to animals status," and further that the status of animals is morally unacceptable, then I presume that you are arguing that both human and non-human animals should be given equally valued and protected status. If so, the logical continuation of this proposition is that the killing of a non-human animal is the equivalent of the killing of a human animal, which would thus define all hunters and slaughterhouse workers as murders (and meat-eaters as complicit in those murders). But further, it would logically also have to define the killing of any animal (human or non-human) by any other animal as constituting murder.

This doesn't work, does it? For in formulating such definitions, we have condemned the most basic, natural cycles of life on this planet as being "wrong."

Furthermore, this formulation seems to create an arbitrary hierarchy between plants and animals. Thus, abuse and exploitation would not be eliminated. Instead, the bar for what/whom qualifies as a "potential victim" would merely be shifted to draw the line at the sometimes-hazy distinction between fauna and flora.

Somewhere in there, we have to be able to make distinctions between species. And we must find distinctions between the taking of life versus "abuse" and/or "exploitation."

Challenging "Dominionism" asks us not simply to see animals as beings capable of suffering. Its solution is not simple; you can't just stop eating animals. Vegetarianism, for all its merits, is not "The Solution" to Dominionism. There are societies where vegetarianism has long been commonplace, and yet brutal, rigid, codified hierarchies persist in these same societies.

Elaine argues that the "practice of meat eating... [is] a form of domination (abuse of power) over the animals."

This statement is problematic in several ways:
1)It tends to demonize meat-eating persons and societies, even when their lifestyle is ecologically sustainable to a much greater degree that is our own;
2)It makes a moral judgment about an ecological issue, even though nature is amoral.
3)It maintains an artificial distinction between humans and all other animals, implying that humans aren't animals, themselves.

Ultimately, I feel that the central issue is not whether a person eats meat, but whether our societal methods of food production (and most everything else about how we live) are ecologically sustainable over the long-run. Choices about food production (like others) need to include bioregional issues among a multiplicity of factors (which may shift in importance from region to region).

Clearly, factory farms, like Corporate Agriculture in general, are NOT sustainable in the long-run. Neither are they safe or efficient; their products and methods are dangerous, and their massive costs are subsidized and externalized.

We need to be clear and precise in what we are talking about, even if that tends to make things much more complex (because things tend to BE much more complex). This leads to difficult realities, such as that it is more sustainable to drink a glass of cow-milk from the organic family-run farm on the outskirts of town than it is to drink a glass of rasberry-kiwi juice made from the frozen concentrate of food grown literally on the other side of the planet.

If issues of "what is natural" or "how species X evolved" are to be taken into consideration in a discussion of whether or not humans should eat non-human animal meat, then the argument is easily made that Homo (humans) have evolved over millions of years to include meat and other animal products as part of their regular diet.

We, homo, have been using fire (thus, cooking food to some extent) for a bit less than a million years... long, long before the appearance of Cro-Magnon, modern humans. While we've had "cooking," we've evolved considerably, but this doesn't seem to have moved us in a "plant-based diet" direction.

The one BIG change that has allowed us to really consider a shift towards a plant-based diet is the Agricultural Revolution. And yet, some pro-vegetarian theorists argue that the AgRev was one of the primary causes (along with animal husbandry) of Dominionism. As such, (animal rights-based) Vegetarianism finds itself hand-in-hand with its avowed enemy, Dominionism -- the kernel of each springing from the same source.
 

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