Someone today took exception to my use of the term “murder” in relation to some comments I made about nonhuman animals and animal use in general.
I would like to share some of my comments and I have elaborated on my response in this post:
About my use of the term “murder”: I recognize animals are persons because I am an abolitionist vegan. Therefore, I use the term murder. Animals are property in our society, so they are not viewed as persons, but “things” and resources. Even the cat or dog who shares your home is viewed by society as property. If someone were to kill the dog who shares your home, the most that might happen is they get a slap on the wrist and they are told to refund the money it cost you to buy the dog or cat. For me, a nonhuman’s life is equally as important as a human’s life. That is not a popular view in our society because our society is inherently speciesist.
I received a terrible anonymous letter once a few years ago from someone when “my” beloved cat “Z” went missing. He was never to be found. We do not know what happened to him and we searched everywhere and did everything possible to recover him. We searched for months. Then two months after his disappearance I received an anonymous letter (although I knew exactly who sent it)
One line in it read:
“Stop looking for your bloody cat. It’s been summarily executed………..”.
The letter went on with some threats towards our other cats and was also disparaging of us. I do not believe “Z” was murdered after some consideration, but that this person found out that he was missing and “hated cats” and was just trying to be horrible to us. He succeeded. We were very traumatised not only that “Z” was missing, most likely dead, but by the thought that “Z” had been murdered.
Had this anonymous letter been about my human child who went missing, I could have taken it to the police and a full investigation would have taken place. But because this was about a nonhuman, there was little I could do but confront the person, which I did. It was obvious he had sent the letter.
I experienced the same levels of grief that I would have experienced had “Z” been a human child. Now that may sound completely foreign or even offensive to some people who have firmly entrenched speciesist views about nonhumans, but once one becomes an abolitionist vegan, the veil of speciesism is removed, and one’s whole attitude to nonhumans is transformed. That is what it is to be an abolitionist vegan. One’s world is enriched, and one experiences an interconnectedness that is profound. An abolitionist vegan would not think of harming a nonhuman or eating, wearing or using nonhuman animals, just as they would not think of harming or killing a child.
Because humans write dictionaries defining “murder”, and who make laws, etc and because we live in a specieisist society, we are indoctrinated to believe that other animals are our property, but just because we believe something to be so, does not make it so. We once believed that some races of humans were our property. Most of the public were convinced of this at one time, but it didn’t make it true. Speciesism is an irrelevant criterion, just as race, sex, sexual orientation are irrelevant criterion as to whether those individuals belong to the moral community.
For an abolitionist vegan, all forms of animal use are unjustifiable. Even if animal use were “humane”, it would still be unjust. We believe nonhuman animals deserve at least one right — the right not to be used as property and veganism is the step to taking that right seriously. It is undeniable that animal use is great violence. We can all it what we want, “murder”, “killing” “slaughter” “destroying” “executing” and so on, but the simple fact is it’s great violence.
What is the difference between the dog or cat who shares our home (who is viewed as property by society), and the pig, cow, sheep (who are viewed by society as property)? The very simple difference is we have a personal relationship with the dog or cat. That’s the only difference. But ALL other animals love life just as we do and just as the dog or cat does. They are all individuals. They have an interest in continuing life. The only reason we love one species, and think other species are “things” and resources is because we have been indoctrinated to believe so. That is speciesism.
In some countries people kill and eat dogs. Some of us in the West may be horrified by this, but there is no difference between killing a dog to eat, or a whale to eat, than killing cows, pigs, sheep etc to eat. It’s just a different cultural speciesist practice. To read more about speciesism, please view this site http://www.UVEarchives.wordpress.com
“Organic”, “free range” and so on — all of these animals end up at the same slaughterhouse. Watch this video which has no blood and guts, but it just shows what it’s like for a nonhuman to be walking to his or her death. —-
Finally, for anyone who thinks there’s such a thing as “humane” use and “humane” murder and if you promote welfare “reform”, or consume “happy meat” and “happy animal products” etc, then please watch this. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCcUV-Yg-bc
and watch this free online documentary Earthlings http://www.earthlings.com WARNING: The first vid is an everyday slaughterhouse. It contains graphic images. “Earthlings” unfortunately does not mention veganism as the answer to abolishing animal use, but it is a very confronting doc which people should watch but with the thought that we cannot “improve” this, because ALL animal use is abuse. We must end it by becoming vegan and through nonviolent vegan education. Whether “organic”, “free range”, etc, they all end up in the same slaughterhouse . There’s no such thing as a non-abusive slaughterhouse. The answer isn’t to try and make animal use more “humane”, because there’s no such thing.
If we are not vegan, we are participating in great violence and great injustice. To find out how easy it is to be vegan, start here http://www.vegankit.com