Every little tragedy on television is met with an “oh my” and often some money is sent to those helping. But what about the tragedies we ignore every day? We have dogs, cats, gerbils, and snakes as pets and though they are very much like pigs, cows, chickens, and lambs we would never eat them, but it’s ok for these animals to be tortured for food their entire lives because they taste good. And the sick insanity of it all is that they don’t taste good. Why would there be half a grocery isle dedicated to marinades and spices if flesh was a tasty dish in and of itself. One’s desire to consume something once living with blood and emotion in its body drives their ignorance to suffering.
And scholars can’t see past their slick metaphors and acknowledge this suffering even when they’re supposedly out to help save us from the big bad corporations. Not to pick on her, but Barbara Ehrenrich, In This Land is Their Land speaks about corporate greed all while fantasizing about taking a ham with her on the plane for fear of a lack of food at her impoverished destination. Let’s face it. I’m not the one that needs saving. It’s the helpless, the hopeless, the other.
We pass by the homeless fantasizing about their devious ruse all while they live it up in mansions paid for by our pity. They secretly sip champagne during the hottest parts of the day smiling under their practiced posture of sadness. If you are in another camp you may simply hate them for not working. You have a job and you can barely make it yourself. How dare they ask you for money. Hopefully you’re neither of these, but we know this mindset exists. I’m as guilty as the next.
Why do we ignore obvious suffering? Why do we let others con us into projecting our fears and troubles onto others less fortunate? What creatures are less fortunate than animals? Wouldn’t it make sense that we should protect them? Even for those that do care for animals there are hierarchies Why do we pine for the beaten baby seals while ignoring the baby calve spending its life in a cage? So many refuse to wear fur but have no problem consuming steak.
In my view all living things must be respected. This is as true for migrants as it is for sharks and hens. In humans we often see the worst in those that are forced to endure suffering their whole life. How is an animal any different. When you eat them you are eating their pain and suffering. This causes our bodies to react by bearing disease.
The problem with anything is not the problem itself, but the mindset that let it occur. It’s time for a change in mindset – one where all living things are allowed proper rights and proper respect.