Abolitionist Reflections on Cecil the Lion

CecilIf we have spent any time on social media lately we have probably seen much outrage in relation to the hashtag ‪#‎CecilTheLion‬. From what I understand, Cecil was an old lion whom was much beloved in Zimbabwe and who was murdered, decapitated and then photographed by a US citizen who paid many tens of thousands of dollars to get access to him.

Why have I raised this issue of Cecil the lion’s murder?

Firstly, we need to understand that this murder is not an unusual event. Canned hunting and safari hunting is big business. Have a look online and you’ll see hundreds of photos of people with murdered African animals. Let’s keep in mind that this type of killing happens regularly in Africa and elsewhere. One elephant is murdered every 15 minutes. Why? Because society views animals as property. (Each day 153 plus million animals are tortured and murdered mostly for food.) Society creates demand for animal products and included in those products is ivory and body parts. There is also a demand by a non-vegan society for killing animals as entertainment.

An uncomfortable truth we need to face is that the person who murdered Cecil is just like all of us who use animals as resources and who use animals for our pleasure. I hear some say what?!? How is my eating a “steak” or a chicken wing or eating icecream or eating my morning eggs have anything to do with the likes of this “psychopath” who killed that lion?

Let me explain.

The dentist who murdered Cecil did so because it gave him pleasure.  We could be accused of similar motives. We eat animal products like meat, dairy, eggs, etc because it gives us pleasure but at the expense of many lives and yes, the dairy and egg industry is immensely violent. The fact is we certainly don’t need to eat animal products (or use animals for any other purpose) at all since we can *easily* meet our nutrition needs from plants (and other non-animal sources). The truth is that any animal we eat, wear or use is no less nor more morally important than Cecil. They love their life as much as Cecil the lion did and they deserve to not be treated as a “thing”.

But back the issue of killing for entertainment.

The killing of animals for entertainment and for “trophies” happens regularly. Putting it simply, while animals are viewed as property and while they are viewed as resources, no animal is safe. No single issue campaign nor any petition is going to end the property status of animals. No amount of money we throw at this issue, no “ban” or “boycott”, no politician we lobby is going to end the property status of animals. Only a general societal change of attitude, a paradigm shift away from our speciesist attitude towards nonhuman animals is going to end their property status and that means we need to recognise ALL animals as the sentient beings they are. We need to recognise their moral personhood and stop using them as “things”, as resources.

While what happened to Cecil is tragic and terrible, we need to open our minds to the reality that Cecil the lion is no more nor less morally important than any sentient animal whom we eat, wear and use.

Chris Hedges (an ethical vegan and Pulitzer prize recipient) talks about the issue of moral compartmentalisation and ‪‎veganism‬ in his essay “All Forms of Life are Sacred“.

Here’s an excerpt of Hedges’ essay:

“‘These are fundamental issues of justice’, he said of animal rights during our lunch.’These are fundamental issues that require that we take nonviolence seriously. You cannot speak about nonviolence and stick violence into your mouth three times a day. How many of us have grown up with a dog, a cat, a parakeet or a rabbit? Did we love those beings? Did we love them in a different way from the way we ‘loved’ our car or our stereo? Why is that love different? It is different because that is the love of an other, whether that is a human person or a nonhuman person. It is love for an other who matters morally. Did we cry when that being died? It is [a] moral [contradiction] to treat some animals as members of our family and then roast and stick forks into other animals, which have been abused and tortured and [who] are no different from our nonhuman family members.'”

In future, when we hear about tragedies like this one where a certain member of a species (that we fetishise) is murdered, let us remember that this particular nonhuman, just like all nonhuman sentient beings (no matter what species), deserves at least one basic right; not to be used as a resource, and deserves not to be treated as property. That means we need to embrace veganism. Veganism rejects the property status of all animals from every species. Veganism recognises the moral personhood of nonhuman animals.

Can you imagine a world where the most vulnerable (nonhuman animals) are truly respected? And let us consider that if we respect the most vulnerable, nonhumans, this attitude most likely will then spread to encompass the most vulnerable of our own species. We can create such a world by first becoming vegan.

To find out more about how easy it is to become vegan, please view this vegan resource here http://www.HowDoIGoVegan.com

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Filed under abolitionism, Canned hunting, Cecil the Lion, Hunting, moral compartmentalisation, Safari, veganism, violence

Vegan Trove Podcast Ep 17: No one Left to Remember, No one To Tell.

Here is the latest Vegan Trove podcast: Listen here sixth mass extinction

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Filed under animal agriculture, Arctic, human overpopulation, Near Term Extinction, veganism

Crying Calves, Distressed Mothers and We Are Responsible

Friends, I’ve been very busy the last few weeks and will be till probably mid July so unfortunately I haven’t been able to post a blog or do a podcast for a while, but I thought I would share an experience I had today. Please watch this short vid:

Many cows over the fence in the large pasture have been crying day and night for the last 2 days. For those who are not vegan, this is a regular occurrence on any farm that supplies animal products (meat, dairy etc) to supermarkets. The farmer who recently sold his 100 acres said he was “simplifying” his herd. That’s code for “taking them away to be murdered because he needs to reduce the numbers since selling his land”.

So the farmer has separated the mothers from their calves and the mothers were being taken away to be killed. The calves will never see their mothers again because the mothers have been murdered. And I can imagine the mothers were crying and extremely distressed all the way to the slaughterhouse right up until they were murdered.

All this tragedy and violence takes place simply because we think animal products “taste good”. We certainly don’t need them to survive or be healthy. Distressing events like this one take place regularly, not just when farmers sell their land. It is a normal occurrence on any farm, particularly dairy farms.

I went out because being witness to this tragedy was too distressing, and upon my return the calves were gone and the mothers were gone. If the calves were not killed too, then wherever they are, they are still crying for their mothers. This is the unspeakable bereavement which occurs every day everywhere all over the world. To do this to sentient beings is morally wrong.

The truth is, most of us are living unconsciously. We live unconsciously, and we do not think about, or wish to think about the tremendous violence we participate in because we create demand for animal products. We need to ask ourselves: Do we really think this is OK? Do we really think it’s justifiable? And we need to consider, if we need to ask ourselves this question, then it probably isn’t OK.

A friend of the farmer knew I was vegan and said to me, “you think differently but in this place, this is how things are”. I replied that one does not have to be vegan to see that there is something very wrong about removing crying children from their distressed mothers and then murdering them. I can guarantee if I lined up a group of non-vegans in front of these crying calves for 2 days, most people would probably find the experience distressing and would probably consider this terribly wrong. And yet because all we see in supermarkets are neat little packages of “meat” and very attractive containers of dairy products, we do not need to think about (nor to we want to think about it) or see what goes on behind these products.

Please go vegan. It’s a first step to a nonviolent life. If you’re not vegan, please start here

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Vegan Trove Podcast Ep 16: Taking the Rights of Animals Seriously

AAPListen Here to my latest podcast which is a reading of an excerpt of “Animals As Persons : Essays on the Abolition of Animal Exploitation”

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Thanks for listening. Look forward to your company next time.

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Vegan Trove Podcast Ep 15: Can I Bully You Into Adopting My Point Of View?

Listen hereeducation-548105_640.

Is publicly humiliating people on our social media pages in our vegan education efforts helpful or a counterproductive? I speak about this prevalence of this on social media in relation to abolitionist vegan education as well as related issues including claims by a small few that it is racist to promote veganism for the animals.

There’s new trend of rescue animal sanctuaries selling animal products from their refugees of domestication to the nonvegan public, thus reinforcing the public’s nonveganism. I discuss this and also the interrelatedness of all forms of discrimination which are just faces of the same ignorance.

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Vegan Trove Podcast Ep 14: Promoting Violence In Soft Tones With A Smile On His Face (Pt 1 and 2)

Doesn't belong in a nonviolent movement12My latest Vegan Trove​ podcast in 2 parts: “”
Listen to Part 1 here  
Listen to Part 2 here

In podcast Ep 14 Part 1, I share an essay titled “On Militant Direct Action.

In part 2, I discuss the promotion of violence within certain animal advocacy circles and how the small few who promote violence often contradict themselves and are deeply misanthropic.

Please join me for part 2 which will be posted shortly.

Disclaimer: Please note I do not endorse individuals, opinions, links mentioned in the podcast or on external sites.

Links to information contained:
On Militant Direct Action

A Comment on Violence

More on Violence and Animal Rights

A Commentary on Violence 

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Vegan Trove Podcast Ep 13: “Meat Free Week Australia” Helps the Animals?

Meat Free WeekIn episode 13, (please listen here) I take a brief look at yet another new gimmick “Meat-Free Week Australia” (just one in an increasingly long line) and the problems associated. I share an excerpt by Prof. Gary Steiner about anthropocentrism and a couple of works about the “humane” myth.

Disclaimer: Please note I do not endorse opinions, links, individuals or ads on external sites.

For more info:

Recommended books

Gary Steiner on Anthropocentrism

The Myth” of Humane Animal Use

The Meaning of “Humane

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