As a child you probably remember being taught that you should express compassion toward your family and friends. If you were fortunate enough to have a pet, you were instructed to treat him or her with care and love.
Incredibly though, there was a limit to the compassion that you needed to express. While you certainly could sympathize with a starving dog, you never needed to feel that sympathy for hens, for example. Hens are routinely forced to go up to 14 days without food or water in order to shock them into producing more eggs. Male calves have their testicles ripped from their scrotums without pain relievers and have their horns ripped out of their heads. Third-degree burns (branding) are also inflicted on them. When most compassionate people see any animal, whether it is a hen, pig, cow or their dog tortured and in utter distress, they feel the animal’s pain. Their capability for compassion shows no bounds.
I am sure that most people are aware of the dog cruelty that has transpired at the home of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick. Vick has pleaded guilty to felony charges of conspiracy for having a dog fighting ring and has admitted to being complicit in the killing of dogs. This story has received a lot of media coverage, as it should. There were protests and the public was outraged at such cruelty. The acts were heinous, cruel and unacceptable.
What if I told you that such acts occur everyday, all day and on a much larger scale on factory farms? Imagine the cruelty, torture and gruesome acts involved in Vick’s case but on the scale of billions of animals a year!
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, over 9.7 billion animals were killed for food in 2000. This includes over 800 million animals who died from disease, malnutrition, injury or suffocation. Those are numbers that are hard to comprehend. And these acts don’t find themselves in the media. People aren’t up in arms protesting this evil. And they should be. These animals are being murdered just like Vick’s dogs. If these animals were cats or dogs, the slaughterhouse heads would be going to jail just like Vick might.
The beef, milk and egg industries depend on us to be uninformed, apathetic and passive. There is a famous saying that says, “If slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would become vegetarian.”
What occurs behind those camouflaged walls necessitates obscurity because the horrific acts would immediately transform viewers.
As author William Ralph Inge has said, “We have enslaved the rest of the animal creation and have treated our distant cousins in fur and feather so badly that, beyond doubt, if they were able to formulate a religion, they would depict the devil in human form.” If we could witness the bloodshed, we would be forced to admit there is a war being waged right now in our own backyard. The positive outlook of this war, however, is that we can determine the outcome every time we sit down to eat.
The arbitrary line of compassion that has been culturally conditioned into us can be lifted today. Try reducing the consumption of meat in your diet. Become a vegetarian or vegan. Remember, expressing compassion and love to animals doesn’t have to be an overnight transformation.
If we change our lifestyle to reduce animal exploitation at a speed that is comfortable for us, it will be much easier to settle into the compassionate way of life. For example, we can start off by removing meat from our diet just one day a week. Any change in such a direction would be a beneficial one.
Trust me when I say, the animals you saved will certainly appreciate it. I encourage you to visit goVeg.com for more information.