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Exploitation explained extensively
Why is it okay for a lion to eat meat, but not a human being?
Short answer: because the lion does not exploit a zebra. All dairy and almost all meat comes from cruelty and exploitation. And if we’re really getting into the nitty-gritties of it, exploitation is when we steal someone’s freedom for our benefit. The life of an animal matters because he or she is a someone. An animal’s life is more than her heartbeats – living means having the freedom to do as she pleases, make friends, have a family, eat what she wants and have children if or when she wants to.
That makes everything simple to understand, doesn’t it? For instance …
When a lion tries hunting a zebra, he isn’t exploiting the zebra because the zebra is a free individual who can respond as he pleases. In fact, in the wild, prey species routinely outlive predators. On the other hand, a cow grazing on a pasture presents an idyllic picture, but she is denied the right to live in a normal community (as wild cattle do), migrate, eat a wide variety of food, and is forcibly made pregnant every year (wild cattle have babies once in 3 years, if that).
Having a rescue dog is not exploitation, because the dog wants to be with you. Buying the dog from a breeder is exploitation, because that denies dogs the right to choose their own life partners and endure repeated pregnancies and separation from their babies.
San tribesmen hunting antelope is not exploitation because they hunt for survival and the antelope has every chance of escape. Hunting with a rifle is exploitation because these hunters are not part of the ecosystem (they’re “tourists”), it’s not done out of necessity, and the deer has virtually no chance of surviving.
Raising chickens in a backyard is exploitation, because the birds exist for use by their “owners”. A vegan stuck on a hypothetical “deserted island” who kills a pig is doing it for survival, not exploitation.
Vegans talk about “speciesism” and “canism”. What’s that?
Our language had no word for biases and hypocrisy that define our relationships with animals. One one hand, we share cat memes till the Internet breaks down, and on the other, we pay to support industries that toss day-old chicks into grinders, alive. Most people would do anything to protect their dogs, but spare no thought for equally sensitive, intelligent and lovable pigs that are denied any kindness for the few short months of their lives. Language can be a powerful barrier to accepting our kinship with animals. In the era of slavery, slaves were referred to as “bucks” and “beasts”. Today, we continue to have different words for animal skins (leather, hide), communities (packs, herds), massacres (culling, harvesting), murders (slaughter, processing), etc.
To describe this ethical flaw, we use the word “speciesism” – like racism or sexism. Speciesism is the foundation of a culture of double standards and lies that allow us to conveniently subject billions of individuals to unimaginable cruelty and exploitation. This culture is called “carnism“.
If, like most other people, you are a good person who abhors cruelty toward animals, and yet continue to buy animal products, which supports the exploitation of innocent animals, it’s because you have undergone social conditioning due to the culture of carnism. Thinking that these animals had good, happy lives, did not experience fear or pain, and were slaughtered humanely, is your mind’s cognitive dissonance acting out.
Speciesism explained by Jim Benton
“It’s just the way things are.” Take a moment to consider this statement. Really think about it. We send one species to the butcher and give our love and kindness to another apparently for no reason other than because it’s the way things are. When our attitudes and behaviors towards animals are so inconsistent, and this inconsistency is so unexamined, we can safely say we have been fed absurdities. It is absurd that we eat pigs and love dogs and don’t even know why. Many of us spend long minutes in the aisle of the drugstore mulling over what toothpaste to buy. Yet most of don’t spend any time at all thinking about what species of animal we eat and why.
Our choices as consumers drive an industry that kills ten billion animals per year in the United States alone. If we choose to support this industry and the best reason we can come up with is because it’s the way things are, clearly something is amiss. What could cause an entire society of people to check their thinking caps at the door – and to not even realize they’re doing so? Though this question is quite complex, the answer is quite simple: carnism.
To identify with others is to see something of yourself in them and to see something of them in yourself – even if the only thing you identify with is the desire to be free from suffering.
Carnism explained by Dr. Melanie Joy