Two days ago a matador died during a bullfight in France. Many Activists have expressed their contentment from the incident. Even outside the AR community the atmosphere among many is that he got what he deserves.
But the suffering a matador is causing during bullfights is not greater than the suffering a non-vegan is responsible for when consuming animal based products (sure the matador is also non-vegan but that is not the reason for the death cheers), and more importantly it is not about what abusers deserve, in fact it shouldn’t be about the abusers at all.
The suffering of a hen in the egg industry is no less than the suffering in bullfighting. It’s the perception of the victimizers and of what is legitimate to wish for each victimizer, which is different. It is relatively socially acceptable to wish for the death of matadors or even hunters (as we’ve seen in the case of Walter Palmer) despite that hunting causes much less suffering than factory farms (yet it doesn’t prevent meat eaters from wishing hunters a slow agonizing death, while they are personally responsible for even worse abuse), because the criterion is the social status, not what actually happens. It’s humans’ perceptions that counts, not animals’ suffering.
A more systematical and less anthropocentric perspective requires us to think that anyone who causes so much suffering, like this matador for example, is much better dead. And the fact is that most if not all of humans are responsible for a lot of suffering.
Given the average consumption figures of each human, each is “worth” thousands of animals. Average American meat eaters are responsible for the life of suffering of about 55,000 animals within their lifetime (data based on Countinganimals), including about 10,000 crustaceans, 1,860 chickens, 950 fishes, 55 turkeys, 30 pigs and sheeps, 8 cows and between 35,000 and 50,000 of non-directly consumed fishes and crustaceans who are either by catch, or are captured and killed to feed the directly consumed animals. And of course that is without counting the chickens suffering in the egg industry and cows in the milk industry. No animal activist can seriously argue that humans are worth the pain and suffering of all of these animals.
Radical activists shouldn’t cheer for the death of one matador but wish for the death of all the suffering causers, whomever they are. For the death of the ones who are causing suffering in a festive nonconsensual framework, just as much as for the death of the ones who are causing suffering in the most casual, conventional and consensual framework. And that is because it is not about us. It is not about humans. The victims are not particularly bothered by the circumstances of their torture. They just want it to end. Bullfighting, hunting, flesh-eating – suffering is suffering, and all of it should end, and as soon as possible.
There is something distorted and anthropocentric in the hierarchy that many activists are making with the division of their death wishes. It indicates a very human ordinated perception. It is not how much suffering the victimizers cause, but how far their actions are from the consensus. When the victimizers’ abuse is highly controversial it is much more legitimate to wish for their death and to publically express joy when a matador dies. But if someone was “only” eating cheese and then suddenly chocked to death, or even irrespectively, got run over, it is considered much less legitimate to cheer. That is despite that all the suffering that the dead would have caused won’t occur.
Some may argue that there is nothing to be glad about when a non-vegan chokes to death, since it doesn’t affect factory farming. And we agree. We are not looking for poetic justice but for the suffering to stop. And for the suffering to stop all humans must die, not only random cheese eaters and definitely not only matadors.