Pax (funcrunch) wrote,

More thoughts on veganism and death

I posted yesterday that over 50 billion animals a year are killed worldwide for food. This number does not even include fish and other aquatic animals, only land mammals and birds. I got the figure from this screenshot and went to the source site to run the numbers for myself. They are now even higher. In 2011, over 57 billion chickens alone were slaughtered for food.

It's easy to become numb to this amount of death. After all, there's the saying, "one death is a tragedy, a million is a statistic." But then, most people don't see chickens, pigs, cows, and fish the way they see dogs, cats, dolphins, and gorillas. The latter are seen as intelligent and worthy of protection; the former are just food, or means of producing food (milk and eggs).

I don't have any personal reason to feel special empathy toward chickens and other farmed animals. I've never been to a slaughterhouse, I've never been to an animal sanctuary. I have seen photos and videos of both, but those alone were not enough to convince me that these animals should not be killed unless absolutely necessary.

What it comes down to is that all sentient beings feel pain and wish to avoid death. It doesn't matter to me how intelligent they are. It doesn't matter to me how cute or cuddly they are. What matters to me is that death is final, and no sentient being consents to being killed.

I'm currently reading Gary Francione's book Introduction to Animal Rights, which discusses the above issues (amongst others) and posits that as long as we consider animals - any animals - to be property, any discussion of animal welfare reform is meaningless, because ultimately we can do whatever we wish with our property; an animal is no different than a chair or a car in that regard. The full list of FAQs from that book is available on Gary's web site.

Gary's abolitionist views on veganism are not popular, but support for them is growing. While social media is only one metric, the number of likes on his Facebook page have exploded over the last couple of months. I am glad to have found a community, even a virtual one, of people who are working to create a much less violent world.
Tags: vegan

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