The final part of this series of posts regarding Why We Love Dogs Eat Pigs and Wear Cows An Introduction to Carnism is respectively about Joy’s final chapter of the book.
In it, Joy suggests to fight Carnism by bearing witness.
All along the book her focus is prominently on humans. On humans being deceived to act against their true nature, being deceived to consume unhealthy products, being victims of environmental pollution, and of course risking themselves in the dangerous job of murdering and tearing apart other animals. In the last chapter, again she asks humans to focus on themselves.
“when we witness, we validate, or make real, the suffering the system works so hard to hide, and we also validate our authentic reaction to it. Witnessing connects us with the truth of Carnistic practices, as well as with our inner truth, our empathy. We bear witness to others, and to ourselves”.
But ethics mustn’t be about connecting to ourselves, but about how others are being treated. It is not about us, it is about them. Morality shouldn’t be about witnessing the atrocities, but first and foremost about doing something to stop them. And in the case of the systematic exploitation of animals, suggesting bearing witness is also extremely anthropocentric since it shouldn’t be about us humans witnessing other animals. It is not about how humans feel about what nonhumans go through, but about what nonhumans go through. Morality should be about the victims. In a victim oriented ethics, the focus is not on what the activists think the victimizers’ interests are or what they are willing or unwilling to do about the cruelty they are involved in. It is about the victims and what they need to be done for them, regardless of what the victimizers’ interests, views and desires are.
Activists shouldn’t bear witness, they should bear solutions so the suffering will end. And it is not going to happen as long as activists keep believing that humans are naturally good but are deceived by a bad system that makes them do bad things and all that activists have to do is to expose the truth to them.