Why I believe animals deserve a higher place in modern society

This is a subject that usually causes a riot when discussed. A lot of people are against this idea, because it’s their believe that animals don’t have feelings and are put on this earth for humans to dominate and use them and to rule over their lives. Most humans believe they are at the top of the food chain.

However, there are also those who do believe in this statement. I’m one of those people and I strongly believe animals should have a higher place in modern society.

First of all, I don’t believe people even have a higher place in society than animals. We’re an arrogant specie, entitling ourselves to be superior over other species and dumbing animals down, claiming they don’t have feelings and are worthless to society, other than providing food and needs for humans. I always wonder why humans believe they are at the top of the food chain. We’re not faster or stronger than a great deal of animals. Yes, we humans have a great deal of intelligence at our disposal. But then again we’re also the only species who are bent on killing the very planet that sustains all life. Intelligence is relative.

Also, animals don’t have a voice to speak up for themselves, so I believe humans should do that for them. Do I think animals should rule human society? No, I don’t. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay to kill, abuse, starve, torture and slaughter other living creatures. It’s illegal to kill another human being, but somehow it’s okay to kill and harm animals, as if that’s any less worse. It’s an illusion that our treatment of animals has no moral significance.

Finally, animals are not ours, animals are not things. They are living creatures, just like humans. Animals actually do have feelings. By not responding on the torture that’s going on, we actually do respond. We are equally responsible for what we don’t do. To me, it’s not about if animals can reason or talk, but about the question “Can they suffer?”.

I want to believe in Leonardo da Vinci’s wish: that one day the time will come when men will look upon the murder and harm of animals as they now look upon the murder of men. And if slaughterhouses and factory farms would have glass walls, would you still be able to look an animal in the eyes and say you can’t see the pain we humans are causing? Until we extend our circle of compassion to all living things, humanity will not find peace.

Live simply, so that others can simply live

While being away on my little camping trip, I somehow managed to have a lot of time to read some books and think about stuff. I think it might had something to do with not bringing the laptop and not having any access to the internet what so ever …

Anyway, I brought a book along about veganism as a lifestyle. It got me thinking about my days as a vegetarian.

I used to eat meat, but when I was 19 I decided to become a vegetarian. I don’t really know what happened anymore, but after a while I found myself eating meat again. Ever since I’ve been living on my own, I rarely bought meat, but I did ate it at other people’s place.

The question I got the most when I mentioned I didn’t ate meat was:

Why?

When I first stopped eating meat I hated that question. I felt like I was being judged, and sometimes even attacked, for not eating meat. After a while I had my answers ready and those kind of questions didn’t bother me anymore. I guess I just stopped caring about what others thought of what I ate and didn’t ate.

My main reason for not to eating meat was because I thought the way most meat is provided is inextricably connected with animal cruelty. I just didn’t want animals to suffer for me.

After reading the book about becoming vegan, I realised that being, or becoming, a vegan seems a whole lot more difficult than being a vegetarian. Being a vegetarian is about not eating meat. Being a vegan is about not using any kind of products from animals. So it’s not only about the meat, but also about not using milk, eggs, honey, leather etcetera.

But despite the difficulty-level going up, veganism did enlight a spark of interest inside me. However, if it was just about me cooking for myself and the boyfriend and not having a social life at all, it would have been a lot easier. But I do have some kind of social life, and that’s where the trouble starts. How can I eat at someone elses place when I have to tell them I don’t eat anything that comes from animals … ? Maybe it’s just me, but I do see that as somewhat of an obstacle. But it’s not a big enough obstacle when I think about all the reasons to become a vegan (or at least a vegetarian).

Some information that might change your mind about eating meat:

  • The meat that lies on your plate comes from animals, living beings, who die alone, in terror, sadness and pain, so you can eat their meat.
  • How would you like to spend your last hours locked up in a truck, packed into a cage with hundreds of other terrified animal and then cruelly pushed into a blood soaked death chamber? Anyone who eats meat condones and supports the way animals are treated
  • Meat contains a lot of fat. So if you want to cut down on your fat consumption, not eating meat is a good way to start.
  • Every single day, thousands of animals are suffering and being killed for the meat that’s on your plate.
  • There’s nothing in meat you can’t get from vegan food (like proteins, vitamins and minerals)
  • If we eat the plants we grow instead of feeding them to slaughter animals, it would have an enormous impact on the world’s food shortage. Why? Because 100 acres of land will produce enough beef for 20 people, while that same 100 acres of land will produce enough wheat to feed 240 people
  • There’s more in meat than just meat. How about the tail, head, feet, rectum and spinal cord of the animal? Not so yummy isn’t it?
  • Every day millions of male chicks are killed because they ar not able to provide eggs. They get massed slaughtered by gassing them, throwing them into a crusher (sometimes even alive) or they get suffocated to death.
  • Rainforests get destroyed to clear ground for cattle (who will become a beefburger) to graze. Another side-effect of the destruction of the rainforests is that roughly 1000 species a year become extinct.
  • Some farmers use tranquilizers to keep animals calm or routinely use antibiotics to starve off infection. When you eat meat you are eating those drugs.

So, how to become a vegan (or at least a vegetarian)?

  • Stop eating meat. Just stop. Don’t buy it anymore, don’t eat it, just don’t. Yes, you might miss eating burgers at McCruelty, yes, you might get some wise-ass remarks, but at least you’re not contributing to the death of animals.
  • Think about why you’re becoming a vegan/vegetarian. This is a huge change in your lifestyle, so don’t take it lightly. Having your reasons lined out will not only ensure that you don’t waste your time and efforts doing something you’re not really passionate about, but it’ll also help you stick with it.
  • Please, don’t think “Oh well, that animal is dead already, why shouldn’t I eat it?” Because that’s how you keep things the way they are.
  • Get some more knowledge about food. Know where to get your vitamins and minerals from, how to make sure you get the amount of calcium you need etcetera. You can find a lot of information online, but also at the library or local bookstore.
  • Do some research on ways to become a vegan. I could give you all the tips in the world on how to become a vegan, but I’m pretty sure that what works for me, doesn’t neceseraliy has to work for you as well. Maybe you want to ease into the whole process or just go cold turkey (how suitable …) right away.
  • Try some new, vegan, recipes. You can find a lot of nice recipes online. If you would like to show your friends or family that eating vegan isn’t bad, invite them for dinner.
  • Keep having fun. Becoming a vegan shouldn’t feel like a burden on your shoulders. Eating shouldn’t become a heavy subject. There are so many delicious foods out there, experiment with them. See what works for you. Try some new stuff, maybe you find out there’s a whole new world opening up for you when quitting meat.

People will criticize you no matter what. Just let them be. I think that the main reason why people will criticize your lifestyle is because they somehow feel like your criticizing on their lifestyle.

Visit http://www.peta.org/ for more information