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Rapeless Mondays - the funcrunch files


May. 5th, 2014 11:47 am Rapeless Mondays

Organizations and individuals who promote animal welfare reform, single-issue campaigns, and ideas like "Meatless Mondays" often ask why we vegan abolitionists are opposed to such. What is the harm? The whole world won't go vegan overnight, if ever, after all. Shouldn't we respect people's freedom of choice as they go on their personal journeys to find whatever lifestyle works best for them?

Imagine if such an approach were taken to ending rape, child molestation, or murder. These horrific crimes against humanity will likely always be with us, sadly. But that does not mean that we promote "Rapeless Mondays", or campaign for "more humane child abuse". A victim who is not beaten while they're being sexually molested might be "better off" than one who is, but sexual molestation is still inherently inhumane.

We don't counsel people to rape, molest, or murder less frequently or more gently; we tell them not to do it, period. (Or at least that's what we should be doing; in today's rape culture, it's not surprising to see more education and blame directed at the victims than at the perpetrators.)

Those who are bothered or offended by my comparison of animal exploitation to human exploitation should keep in mind a few things:

- I am a mixed-race queer FTM transsexual atheist who was sexually abused for years as a young child. While I certainly am not speaking from a position of no privilege (as I am able-bodied, educated, and financially stable), I am a member of numerous social groups that have been targets of exploitation.

- Exploitation is the commonality in the mistreatment of both human and nonhuman animals. The sexual molester treats their victim as a thing to be used, as their personal property to be exploited. Nonhuman animals are all considered property, so this treatment as a thing, an object, is considered normal and expected. It is still exploitation, because these animals are sentient, suffer pain and wish to avoid death, and cannot consent to being used in such a way.

- Once the facts are known and understood about how animals are exploited for their bodies, one cannot claim a meaningful difference between the pleasure a molester gets from exploiting humans and the pleasure an omnivore gets from eating meat, dairy, or eggs. The fact that the food item usually no longer resembles the animal that suffered and died to provide this momentary palate pleasure makes it easier to deny the connection.

I denied the connection myself for a long time. I can do so no longer. Because I had absolutely no reason other than pleasure, habit, and convenience to continue eating dairy and eggs. Habit and convenience are often used as justifications for exploitation even when it is conceded that pleasure alone is not, but consider that we do not allow these as excuses from molesters either. The person who beats their spouse might claim that they do it because their parents and their grandparents did it, that their spouse is used to such treatment, or that it would be too much effort to try counseling or talking with their spouse instead of beating them to get them to do what they want.

None of these should be considered reasons to condone the spouse-beating, to say that it's OK to continue it as the exploiter experiences their "personal journey", to say that they should have the "freedom of choice" to beat their spouse six times a week as long as they abstain on Mondays. The same applies to the exploitation of nonhuman animals.

Does this mean that everyone who eats an ice cream cone should be thrown into jail, sentenced to community service, or have to list themselves publicly on a web site for offenders? Of course not. Punishment is neither the goal nor the solution here. The point is to educate people and ask them to think, really think, about the impact of their choices on others. Not just other humans, but other sentient beings. Giving factual information and asking people to think is not in any way taking away freedom of choice. It is giving a more informed basis for that choice.

In conclusion, I do not support "Meatless Mondays" any more than I support "Rapeless Mondays". I support veganism, every day of the week and year. If people choose to become vegan instantly, gradually, or not at all, that is their choice and I am not taking away that choice. But I will not condone the continued exploitation of animals.

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Comments:

From:maestrodog
Date:May 5th, 2014 11:03 pm (UTC)
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While I applaud your ideal, I don't think comparing eating meat to rape is a fair comparison. The difference is that molesting or raping a person does not produce any kind of end product that someone can actually use or consume without knowing where it came from or what was used to make it.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that there is no such thing as a total removal from the world's evils for any kind of material survival or privilege, unless you want to isolate yourself from humanity and provide 100% of all your needs and wants personally. The clothes you wear, the computer you used to write this post, the building you or your spouse work in to get that financial stability you have, all were produced with several resources that can all probably be traced to something bad...harsh child labor, human abuse (such as hiring illegal immigrants for the building construction under harsh conditions and paying them pittance wages), animal exploitation (I'm sure there are pieces of things you use every day whose parts could also be traced to exploited animals...many industrial oils used to build machine parts, for instance, contain some animal by-product, not to mention the pollution emitted from computer-building facilities destroys the environment), or questionably-obtained funds through criminal/illegal activity. There is simply no escaping it.
From:funcrunch
Date:May 5th, 2014 11:19 pm (UTC)
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While I applaud your ideal, I don't think comparing eating meat to rape is a fair comparison. The difference is that molesting or raping a person does not produce any kind of end product that someone can actually use or consume without knowing where it came from or what was used to make it.


I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. My position is that the origin of the "end product" - the animal's flesh, milk, or eggs - is irrelevant because the use of animals for food is inherently inhumane unless necessary for survival. My goal is for people to not "use" animals at all.

I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that there is no such thing as a total removal from the world's evils for any kind of material survival or privilege, unless you want to isolate yourself from humanity and provide 100% of all your needs and wants personally.


That's absolutely true, and total isolation from humanity, even if possible, would not prevent causing some harm to other sentient beings either. However, I strongly believe that it is entirely possible for the vast majority of humans to live very well without consuming animal products, and the breeding of domestic animals for consumption is responsible for the overwhelming majority of their suffering and death. Most other uses of animals are byproducts of raising and slaughtering them for food.
From:plymouth
Date:May 19th, 2014 10:43 pm (UTC)
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I've been thinking on this post for a couple of weeks since you first posted it because while "offended" is not the right word for how I felt about this post I am bothered by it in some ways.

If you found out that someone you are friends with is in an abusive relationship where they rape their significant other on a regular basis and didn't see anything wrong with it or plan to change it would you stay friends with that person?

Because you ARE friends with people who eat meat on a regular basis and don't see anything wrong with it and don't plan to change it.
From:funcrunch
Date:May 19th, 2014 11:01 pm (UTC)
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If you found out that someone you are friends with is in an abusive relationship where they rape their significant other on a regular basis and didn't see anything wrong with it or plan to change it would you stay friends with that person?

If I found out about it and encouraged them to get counseling and they refused, and really said that didn't see anything wrong with it and didn't plan to change it, then yes, I would likely stop being friends with that person.

Because you ARE friends with people who eat meat on a regular basis and don't see anything wrong with it and don't plan to change it.

That is the very painful situation that I am struggling to deal with right now. I expect I will ultimately lose many friends over this issue. But it's too important for me to ignore any longer.

Edited at 2014-05-19 11:02 pm (UTC)
From:plymouth
Date:May 19th, 2014 11:17 pm (UTC)
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Perhaps we should agree to go our separate ways then. I am uncomfortable being friends with someone who considers me the moral equivalent of a rapist.