Decreasing the Increase

2019 is presented as a very good year for veganism. In some aspects it really was, but far from being as good as is often represented by whom who keep pumping the “we’re winning!” rhetoric among the vegan community, and definitely far from being as good as it was supposed to be considering the widening acknowledgment of the connection between animal based food and health issues, climate change, the enormous food and water waste, the enormous pollution, obesity, and of course since nowadays non-vegans are losing even their final excuses for not going vegan – that they won’t have anything to eat, as there is an amazing variety of vegan products with the same look, texture and taste, as non-vegan products. But all of that didn’t make veganism mainstream despite that it long ago should have.

As argued in the post for World Vegan Day, some people in the vegan community think it did become mainstream, but they are confusing knowing what veganism is with it being mainstream. Nowadays everybody knows what veganism is and many even know a vegan personally, but mainstream doesn’t mean that in every large city there would be at least one vegan restaurant, but that in every large city there would be a few non-vegan restaurants since the rest are. Mainstream veganism means that animal products are marginal, not still the absolute majority in every supermarket everywhere in the world.

It is very positive that there are plant based products in supermarkets, and it is encouraging in the sense that they have not been there a few years ago and now there are plenty. However, despite that all these vegan options are available in many places, they are still surrounded by non-vegan ones. So activists can be encouraged and draw optimism from the fact that there are plant based burgers along with flesh burgers in the meat aisles, but in the same breath they must ask why the hell are there still flesh burgers when there are equivalently tasty plant based burgers right next to them? How careless to other sentient beings’ suffering must someone be to still choose the flesh burgers? There is nothing victorious about the fact that humans choose again and again the cruel options over the amazing variety of the vegan ones.

Not only that veganism is still extremely far from becoming mainstream, despite the vegan hype and the occasional launch of new plant based products, global consumption of meat is still on the rise. Activists who live in a vegan bubble and are fed mainly by headlines produced by the “we’re winning!” rhetoric, can easily forget that fact. Even in what is considered as the more progressed parts of the world, meat consumption is still increasing, and it is definitely the course in what is considered to be the developing world where, as always, once people’s income  rises, the first and automatic thing they are doing is consuming more flesh.
Economists predict that in the next 20 years there will be an enormous increase in the global demand for animal based food, mainly because of the rising status of the middle class in the world’s two largest population centers: China and India. The largest increase is expected to be in the chickens flesh industry with about 65 percent, the eggs industry is expected to increase by 50 percent, the fishes flesh industry by 30 percent, the pigs flesh industry by 35 percent and the cows flesh industry by 30 percent.

And even if there was a decrease in the global meat consumption, or that there would be in the following years, before declaring that we are winning, activists must remember that it would be a decrease after decades upon decades of massive increase.
Over the past 20 years, the global meat consumption increased by about 65%. Meat production today is nearly five times higher than in the early 1960’s. While population growth is part of the reason, it can’t explain a five-fold increase in meat production. While the number of people on the planet has doubled in the last 50 years, the amount of consumed flesh per capita has tripled. For example, china’s meat consumption increased by about 70% in the last decade, the key factor is not population growth but rising incomes. In 1960’s, the average person in China consumed less than 5kg of flesh a year. This had risen to 20kg by the late 1980s, and has more than tripled to over 60kg in the last few decades. The global meat consumption per capita has tripled in the last 50 years mainly since the global average income has tripled in the last 50 years.
The crucial significance of increase in wealth can be seen even in India, one of the most prominent emerging market countries, as according to a survey conducted 5 years ago, about 70 percent of Indians over the age of 15 are not vegetarian.
Despite the feeling that animal consumption in the richer world is decreasing, it is actually slightly increasing. What is changing is the type of the victims. Humans are consuming less cows and pigs and more chickens and fishes, meaning, not only that flesh consumption is still increasing, the number of victims doesn’t increases in direct proportion but even more than the consumption increase.

All that doesn’t mean that all the efforts put in animal activism are in vain, as obviously without it the increase in animal consumption would have been even higher and so more animals would have been forced to endure life of suffering from birth to death. Every single sentient being who is not born into a life of suffering is very meaningful. What it does mean is that despite the movement’s tremendous efforts and the recent improvement in veganism awareness, the world is still getting worse all the time. It means that we are not really winning. We are still very very far from wining.

And it is not that if there was a decrease in the number of exploited beings we were winning. Thinking about it in terms of wining is totally distorted. That is not only because of the use in such a distorted term in that kind of context, but mainly since it requires a distorted world view to look at reality and think that if there is a decrease in the number of victims per year, we are winning. If there were less wars, racist incidents, and rapes in 2019, we wouldn’t say that the peace, anti-racist and the feminist movements are winning, because when horrible things that should have never happened in the first place, are happening all the time, all the more so on such a large scale, it is not winning, it is slightly minimizing the horrendous loss.

Many of the activists who use the “we’re winning!” rhetoric probably know that we aren’t actually winning. Claiming constant victory is probably mostly a tactic use (following the logic that nothing succeeds like success). They know that humans are irrational beings who don’t examine matters earnestly and unbiasedly, and that they definitely don’t make decisions relying on moral arguments. Humans are mostly influenced by trends and adjust themselves to their social environments, to whichever is the zeitgeist. If humans see that one issue is gaining support then they think ‘there’s probably truth to it’, and vice versa. That’s why certain animal liberation activists find it crucial to create the illusion of momentum.

We agree that recognition of this frightening human psychological architecture indeed must lead to rethinking activism. But it shouldn’t lead to glorifying anecdotal small scale achievements in hope it will create others, but to the realization that the fate of trillions of nonhumans mustn’t be entrusted in humans’ unreliable hands. Those who internalize in their activist strategy the basic understanding that humans are selfish beings who are motivated and conducted by irrational drives (in this case, the motivation to belong to a group and fall in line with its norms), and not by rational moral considerations, are supposed to be extremely worried by the fact that these kind of beings are making the decisions regarding trillions of victims.

Even if we accept the internal logic of the “we’re winning!” rhetoric, it beholds a great danger – the creation of a false illusion of success prevents a genuine and sober view of our horrible world. And only a real and truly honest view can produce a real and true solution.

Currently the animal rights movement is making the world a little bit less worse than it would have been without it, but it is not preventing it from getting worse all the time, it is not making the world a better place by reducing the number of suffering creatures, but making it less worse by preventing some of them from being born. Again, the decrease in the increase of the number of suffering individuals is obviously a good thing since it means that less of them are born into exploitation. But as a movement, what shows despair and smallness more than to be happy that the horrible world we are living in could have been even worse?

. Every single sentient being who is not born into a life of suffering is very meaningful. What it does mean is that despite the movement’s tremendous efforts and the recent improvement in veganism awareness, the world is still getting worse all the time. It means that we are not really winning. We are still very very far from wining.

Not Winning and Never Will

Not only that we are not winning, we never will.
Have you ever thought why is it so hard to convince someone to go vegan?
The animal rights arguments are so simple and right. They are based on solid facts and evidences. Nobody can confront them rationally. So why is it so hard to convince someone to go vegan? The reason is that reason is not enough. Good arguments are not relevant. Rationality has proven itself as an insufficient element in changing people’s habits. Rationality can’t beat motivation.

You know the facts and arguments, there are so many good reasons, including egocentric ones, to go vegan, but humans insist on systematically torturing nonhuman animals, overlooking the enormous waste and food production inefficiency in a world with about a billion hungry people, harm their own health, and leave their children a highly polluted planet.

The fact that the arguments are so strong and so well-based but still fail again and again, is the exact thing that should wake you all. Activists shouldn’t get encouraged by their strong arguments but the other way around. When arguments that are so strong and so obvious don’t work, there is something wrong with the addressees. It can’t be that the problem is always with the way we deliver our message. Years of campaigns, hundreds of organizations with dozens of methods, it’s time to ask, how did all of it accomplish so little?

Many activists are confusing realistic with theoretical possibility, inferring from other social change movements. But it is even hard to imagine a war free, non-racist, non-male chauvinist and slavery free world. Factually our world is not only none of the above, but extremely far from it.
Not that we agree with the comparison many activists often like to make between human slavery and animal exploitation, but at least in the sense of the mindset of the exploiters, there are some crucial similarities (mainly the need to extremely devalue the “other”). However, currently humanity is even getting further and further from ending human slavery.

There is a big difference between arguing that all humans can be vegan and arguing that all humans would be vegans. Most humans haven’t even made much more socially acceptable ethical decisions than going vegan. It is impossible to educate most humans not to use one another, not to objectify each other, not to turn to violence in conflicts and crisis so easily, not to discriminate each other on the basis of race, gender, ethnical orientation, class, weight, height, looks and etc. so what are the chances of convincing all humans to become vegans?

And even if there was a chance of convincing all humans to become vegans, despite being incomparably less harmful than animal based diet, it is still harmful.
When you are trying to convince humans to convert their diet to a vegan one, you are trying to convince them to stop taking part in the most horrible practices and to take part in much much less horrible ones. It’s not that their consumption habits will become moral and 100% cruelty free. Plant based diet is cruel. The fact that there are diets that are much crueler doesn’t make veganism moral. A vegan world would still be violent, cruel, anthropocentric and speciesist.

Don’t get this wrong, we don’t want you to turn to the annihilation option out of despair of humans, or since despite all the efforts and hopes and relative progress of animal activism we are still so extremely far from winning, but after acknowledging that the only option that the suffering would end is if its causers would. And that there is no one else to ever try to do it but activists who refuse to celebrate every relatively anecdotal “victory” while hundreds of billions of sentient beings are still suffering all their lives.

We are not expecting to convince every activist in the movement. We know most feel the need to see some people changing their minds and a few more restaurants offer a few more vegan options in their violent menus. But we do expect to convince some activists to stop giving everything they’ve got so this world would be a little bit less horrible than it could have been, and focus on making it not horrible at all.

Gods of Power

Yesterday, Hindu worshippers have slaughtered thousands of buffalos as part of a religious ritual held every five years in southern Nepal, called Gadhimai.
That is despite that many activists were hopeful that this gruesome centuries-old ritual would end after the temple authorities had allegedly announced that the prior ritual, held in 2014, would be the last one, and after the Supreme Court of Nepal has reached a verdict in favor of ending the live animal sacrifice at the festival. But people want bloodshed. Continue reading

Impossible Species

The World Vegan Day held today, is expected to be cheerful than ever. That is because optimism among the vegan community is probably stronger than ever before, and for three main reasons.
The first one is that after decades of contempt, arrogance and disinterest, during the last several years, the fogyish medical establishment is showing a relative openness and readiness towards veganism. Secondly, similarly to the health establishment, after decades of almost total disregard for veganism, the environmental movement finally tags along, mainly as a result of the unignorable connection between factory farms and climate change. And thirdly, in the last couple of years, the variety and availability of vegan products, especially ones who try to directly substitute animal derived products, is outstanding.

However, there are worrying aspects to each of these factors.
A couple of months ago we have addressed the less encouraging and actually worrying aspects of the change among the health establishment, which might end up increasing the number of individuals whose lives are suffering from birth to death, and in the previous Earth Day we have dealt with the less encouraging and very worrying aspects of the change among the environmental movement, which also might end up increasing the number of individuals whose lives are suffering from birth to death, as well as increasing the suffering of each victim.
Here we focus on a worrying aspect of the abundance of plant based products that look, cook, and taste like animals’ flesh. Continue reading

Violent Body Invasion

Today is World Farm Animals Day. “Farm animals” are actually animals who once were like any other animal until humans have picked them to be its main resource for food. Humans have turned these sentient animals to the poorest beings on earth, not only by confining them in the worst conditions in history, but also by confining them in their own bodies. Humans have so severely modified sentient beings (sentient beings they now refer to as farm animals), to the point that they suffer merely from living in their own bodies.

Every year, humans are doubly imprisoning more than a hundred billion sentient beings. In the torture facilities they have designed to keep them in called factory farms, and in torture facility they have designed to keep them called their own body.

The following are some examples of the second prison of “farm animals”. Continue reading

Accelerating Hell

Red Alert

Last week it was revealed by the Human Rights Watch that The US government is expanding the number of chickens exploitation companies that can accelerate the speed of their slaughter lines. It also plans to eliminate caps on slaughter line speeds for pigs and cows exploiters in the near future.
Currently, federal regulations allow murdering over a thousand pigs an hour. But a pilot program, which the Trump administration proposes, would allow slaughterhouses to murder as many as they want.

The number of murdered animals per day has already increased over the years, as well as the mass murder goal rate. Now it is going to get even worse. Faster slaughter lines mean even more stress and violence inflicted upon nonhuman animals during the murder process. It’s making one of the worst things in the world even worse. Continue reading

Red Alert

Red Alert

Lately, many vegans have been sharing and citing a new study led by researchers from Harvard Medical School, regarding the harmful effects of meat.
Most of the findings are not really new, for example that its consumption is associated with higher risk of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, neurodegenerative disease, certain types of cancers, including those of the colon and rectum, and premature death. However, this research is presented as the first longitudinal study to examine how changes in meat consumption over time may influence these risks.

After years of contempt, arrogance, revocation and disinterest, the relative openness and readiness of the fogyish medical establishment during the last decade, is a very refreshing change. It is surly highly beneficial, in ethical terms, that there are less obstacles in the way of people considering changing their abusive lifestyle. Once there are more and more doctors and nutritionists who are supportive or at least not opposing veganism, the easier it is for many to make the morally obligated change.
However, as tempting as the findings may seem to many vegans, all with good intentions obviously, they have been missing a very important word the study mentions – red.
This study, like many others, is mostly about the harmful effects of consuming specific kinds of corpses. It claims that: “overall, a decrease in red meat together with an increase in nuts, fish, poultry without skin, dairy, eggs, whole grains, or vegetables over eight years was associated with a lower risk of death in the subsequent eight years.”
But don’t get this wrong, the main problem here is not that as unfortunate as it is, this study is not as vegan friendly as some may suggests it is, but that while recommending to cut down the consumption of pigs’ and cows’ bodies, it recommends to cut more fishes and chickens. Continue reading

199,000 Tonnes

99,000-Tonnes

The most important political and economic decision of the past week didn’t happen during the G20 summit held in Japan, but during trade negotiations in Brussels.
After 20 years of bargaining, the European Union and the South American Mercosur trading block which includes Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay, have reached agreement on a new free-trade deal.

Covering markets with the total of approximately 780 million consumers, the deal is the largest free trade agreement involving the EU and it follows the recent European trade agreements with Canada , Japan, Mexico, and Vietnam. The agreement is set to eliminate import taxes levied on European goods and services exported to the South American block and a reciprocal reduction in taxes on imports from those countries into Europe.
The deal includes many economic sectors, however it’s no accident that images of cows were picked for the headlines of the deals’ media coverage. The cows flesh industry has a very big part in the deal, as one of the goals of the Mercosur countries is to intensify it. They hope to export up to 99,000 tonnes of cows flesh to Europe every year before they have to pay tariffs. 99,000 tonnes of cows flesh is about 450,000 suffering individuals.
Such a large scale export of cheap animals flesh is expected to increase the flesh consumption of the 500 million European consumers. And even the hope that it would at least lead to a decrease in European factory farms, is very unlikely since the EU Agriculture Commissioner Phil Hogan said that the European Commission would provide up to a billion euros in support to farmers “in the event of market disturbances“. That support might lead to a reduction in the European flesh’s prices and so an overall greater increase in consumption. Continue reading

Sunny Abuse

Sunny-Abuse
Tomorrow is the first official day of the summer in the northern hemisphere of our planet of suffering.
As you know, for humans everything is a reason for celebration, and when humans celebrate usually nonhumans suffer.

Humans have been celebrating Summer Solstice since pagan times, but it was christianized during the 5th century and named “Saint Joan’s Day” after Saint Joan the Baptist, who is believed to be born on the 24th of June, the day most nations celebrate the holiday.
Different nations celebrate it in different ways, each with its unique cultural feature. However all of them lit bonfires and many set off fireworks and have a festive corpse consumption around the fire.

In Spain, the mother lode of torturous festivals, several different interpretations of the holiday take place, all distinctly express humans’ dominance, from dominating the inanimate sun, to dominating sentient animals. The following are the worst three examples taken from the article about global festivals called Celebrating Suffering. Continue reading

Deep Impact

Deep Impact

A couple of days ago the world record for deepest submarine dive ever was broken by an American explorer.
“It is almost indescribable how excited all of us are about achieving what we just did,” said the explorer. “This submarine and its mother ship, along with its extraordinarily talented expedition team, took marine technology to a ridiculously higher new level by diving – rapidly and repeatedly – into the deepest, harshest, area of the ocean.”
But besides a great ago boast opportunity for the explorer personally, and for humanity as a species, another thing was found by this expedition. During the 4 hours of scouting, the explorer spotted a plastic bag and candy wrappers on the seafloor in the deepest place on earth.

This story is very characteristic of humanity, breaking records which shouldn’t have been set in the first place, investing in the wrong scientific areas, reaching places they shouldn’t, discovering that they already reached them long ago in the shape of one of their most familiar features – pollution. Continue reading

Clear Cruelty

Clear-Cruelty

Yesterday the guardian published an article regarding a new repot which ranks the deadliest cities in the US for birds, who often collide with glass-covered or illuminated buildings.

Obviously, every activist knows that birds have much bigger problems, but skyscrapers are very symbolic. They are a symbol of humans’ total occupation of the planet. Everything is theirs for the taking, even the sky. Continue reading

Apathy is Always in Fashion

Apathy is Always in Fashion

For the last official day of the winter, we focus on the fur industry. That is despite that unfortunately, as explained in this text, fur is no longer seasonal and luxurious, but year-round and causal.

Once considered a fading industry, in the past decade and a half fur has been making a comeback. After being branded politically incorrect during the 90’s, fur is back in fashion since the beginning of the 2000’s. The fur industry has not only recovered from the decade of slow business during the 90’s, it strengthened and it’s now stronger than ever. The industry’s value has increased year-on-year over the past two decades. Global fur sales rose by 70% from 2000 to 2010. In 2017, fur generated global retail sales of $30 billion. More than half of that was in China, Europe with $7 billion was the second largest market, followed by Russia with $2.2 billion. And in the U.S. the industry accounts for about $1.4 billion.
On average, about 70% of catwalk shows worldwide featured fur in recent years. This turn out might come as a surprise to some activists who hear every now and then of another fashion brand, and designers, and recently even a city (San Francisco became the largest city to ban the sale of fur) dropping fur, but these positive steps simply don’t reflect the current global trajectory. These specific achievements must not be a source of consolation, as the frightening overall picture is of an industry which not long ago appeared to be defeated via public campaigns, but actually is on a scary reemergence.

There are several reasons for this dreadful outcome, and one major conclusion for activists to take from it. Continue reading

Why Humans Love Compromises, Hate Consistency and Avoid Thoroughness : An Introduction to Opportunism – Part 4 – Bear Solutions

bear_solutions

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.

Invincible-Argument

Continue reading

Why Humans Love Compromises, Hate Consistency and Avoid Thoroughness : An Introduction to Opportunism – Part 3 – Knowing

Why Humans Love Compromises, Hate Consistency and Avoid Thoroughness An Introduction to Opportunism - Part 3 - Knowing

While activists should see all the harms as direct ones, as humans know they happen, including harms that are a result of habitat destruction, deforestation, chemical pollution, electricity manufacture, and etc., Joy tries to convince activists that all the harms are indirect, including the ones of factory farms. She is doing that by inventing a cognitive state which is ‘knowing but not knowing’.

There is no mental state such as knowing without knowing. Of course many humans know little about what meat production really involves, so there is knowing little. There is knowing but not thinking about it. There is knowing and not wanting to stop. But there is no knowing without knowing.
People know, they don’t want to know more or know but don’t want to think about it, but they don’t “know but don’t know”. And when you know but don’t want to know more or don’t want to think about it, you don’t care. Continue reading

Why Humans Love Compromises, Hate Consistency and Avoid Thoroughness : An Introduction to Opportunism – Part 2 – Caring

Why Humans Love Compromises, Hate Consistency and Avoid Thoroughness An Introduction to Opportunism-Part 2-Caring

In the previous post regarding Melanie Joy’s Why We Love Dogs Eat Pigs and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, we have focused on humans’ relations with dogs, being a keystone in her thesis. We argued that it is true that some humans love dogs, but not all of them, not in any case, and not in every point in history. Humans’ love of dogs is not a natural constant truth, but a relationship with a history and conditions.
Like in the case of dogs, it is true that some humans care about animals, but not all of them, definitely not in any case, and most certainly not in every point in history. Humans care for animals other than dogs is also not a natural truth, but a relationship with a history and conditions.

About Caring

If her thesis was right, meaning that humans basically and naturally care about animals, and the only reason they don’t care about specific kinds of animals, is because they were taught by society that these animals are meant to be used by humanity, than humans would have cared about all the rest of the species. Following Carnism’s logic, humans were supposed to care about all the animals who don’t belong to the species which they were allegedly conditioned not to care about. But that is of course not the case, not today, and not ever in history. Continue reading

Why Humans Love Compromises, Hate Consistency and Avoid Thoroughness : An Introduction to Opportunism – Part 1 – Dogs

Why Humans Love Compromises, Hate Consistency and Avoid Thoroughness : An Introduction to Opportunism - Part 1 - Dogs

In the following several posts, we’ll focus on Melanie Joy’s theory. That is after we discussed Norbert Elias who argues that humans relation to meat changed because they started to feel repugnant by their own animality and so gradually felt repugnance for meat, and after we discussed Nick Fiddes who argues that humans don’t eat meat despite that it is made out of animals but because it is made out of animals, and then Keith Tester who argues that humans who choose not to eat meat are actually doing so to define their own humanity. Melanie Joy however, argues that humans eat meat not because it is made of animals but despite that it is made of animals, and only because of a highly structured belief system that conditions them to see some animals as food and others as not.
According to Joy, humans are naturally empathic and caring towards animals, and only because of this highly structured belief system, which she calls the Carnism ideology, are they able to subdue their natural inclination and hurt the ones they actually care about.

We disagree with her Carnism theory, mainly with the power and influence she ascribes to it, and more importantly we disagree with the theory’s foundational assumption – that humans are naturally good and caring. Such claims are very appealing to flesh eaters and thus are tactically tempting for some activists. The biggest problem with adopting these false views is that it can convince activists to act against animals’ interests. Some might actually genuinely believe that humans are actually naturally good and caring, and that is a dangerous idea for animals. In the following series of posts we explain why.

We start with humans’ relations with dogs, obviously not because we think it is the most important aspect, but because its Joy’s starting point as well as a key element in her whole theory. Continue reading

The Humanity of Animal Rights

The Humanity of Animal Rights

The natural continuation of this series about meat eating is covering books such as Meathooked or Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows, and we will get to the later after this post. But while working on Elias’s thesis, we have encountered a book called Animals & Society by Keith Tester which we felt we also had to address as part of this series.

The book’s main theme is that ‘animal rights’ is not a natural truth that have waited for someone to discover, but a social construct which was invented under specific historical circumstances, and for human purposes.
Subtitling his book The Humanity of Animal Rights, Tester is not only pointing at the fact that humans’ relation to animals is bound to be humane for the obvious circumstantial reason that animals can’t represent themselves, but also and especially because humans’ only interest in animals is as objects who serve to define humans’ humanity.

Covering several theorists from the fields of ethology, sociobiology, anthropology, social history, philosophy, sociology, and most importantly animal rights, tester’s arguments are much more challenging than they may sound on the face of it.
He is far from being the conventional critique of animals rights and therefore worth your attention. Ours was caught by some of the points he made during his historical and sociological examination of the concept of animal rights, as well as ones which he didn’t make but his analysis emphasizes. In this post we wish to discuss mainly one of them, but to do so, first, some background is needed. Continue reading

Meat: A Natural Symbol of Power

Meat A Natural Symbol of Power
After addressing the estimation of the sociologist Norbert Elias that as part of a general and gradual refinement in humans’ social behavior vegetarianism would probably be much more popular, for the second part of this series we wish to address a theory about meat by the anthropologist Nick Fiddes. In his book Meat: A Natural Symbol Fiddes suggests an anthropological explanation to why humans are so keen on meat, and what is according to him, the only condition which might alter them.
His thesis is extremely depressing but highly essential for understanding the motives behind meat eating. Though we disagree with his assertion that there is only one motive behind meat eating, we do agree that the motive he suggests is indeed extremely central, and it is extremely underrepresented in the animal rights community.

Basically, Fiddes’s argument starts by recognizing that meat is very highly valued by humans all along history, practically by every single culture. Meat’s value is incomparable to any other food, in no proportion to its nutritional significance (in other words to its actual practical importance to humans). Fiddes deduces that this special status of meat results from the fact that it embodies humans’ dominance over nature and the other animals. Animals symbolize power and nature, and so eating other animals is the ultimate symbol of humans’ power, of their superiority over other animals, and their triumph over nature.

Consuming the muscle flesh of other highly evolved animals is a potent statement of our supreme power.” (Page 2) Continue reading

Refined Exploitation

Refined_Exploitation

For the World Vegetarian Day, held yesterday, and for the World Farm Animals Day, held today, we wish to discuss The Civilizing Process theory by the famous sociologist Norbert Elias – in which he estimated that one of the next phases in the civilizing process could be mass vegetarianism.

The reason we are addressing this prediction despite that it is relatively old, is that it relates to a current and very popular notion in the animal rights movement. Elias’s theory, indirectly (and obviously independently) “refers” to McCartney’s famous quote that “if slaughterhouses had glass walls, everyone would be a vegetarian”. Elias’s work suggests that since humans are a product of their cultural and social circumstances, if slaughterhouses have never had walls, nobody would ever be a vegetarian. A very frightening thought, which contradicts a belief too many activists hold about humans’ natural compassion abilities which are supposedly being canceled out by the animal exploitation industry manipulations.
To understand where this idea comes from, it is necessary to elaborate a little bit about Elias’s theory first.

But even before that, a quick word of clarification. Obviously the term Civilization is highly and rightfully controversial, and from several different aspects, including speciesist ones. We use this problematic term here only in the way Elias used it and only for the sake of the argument about vegetarianism. Specific and direct reference to Civilization can be found in some posts in the series about violence. Continue reading

Facts Don’t Reach the Center of the Universe

Facts Don’t Reach the Center of the Universe

Every once in a while an article featuring an overview of nonhumans’ amazing abilities is published in the public media. These articles are about animals’ complex emotional world, their high social skills, their ability to empathize, their grief, their curiosity and need for play, and generally about how smart they actually are. This week another such report, headlined Animals are Smart. Are Humans Holding Them Back? was published in the Huffington post, reminding how little humans actually know about nonhumans.
This publish was in close proximity to two items the Animal Liberation community shared online – that goats skillfully read human facial expressions, and that possibly a species of fishes “passed” the mirror test.
Activists’ inclination to promote information about the depth of nonhuman cognition in hope it would generate a shift in human’s views and behaviors is extremely naïve, and morally problematic.

The question how smart animals are has no ethical relevancy. Sentience is the only relevant criterion determining who belongs to the moral community. You and we acknowledge that, but most humans believe otherwise and so nevertheless relate “smartness” with moral treatment. It is not accidental that humans consider the trait which they see as their relative advantage over other animals as the most important one, and use it when it comes to moral treatment. Continue reading

Ethical Climate Change

After a week of ongoing horrible news in relation to animals suffering from the current heat wave, coming from all over the world and especially from Australia, 2 days ago another related atrocity occurred.
New South Wales is experiencing the driest and most widespread drought conditions since 1965.
As a consequence, the state government had increased the number of kangaroos that farmers are allowed to murder, since according to human logic kangaroos are “competing” with cows and sheeps for food and water.

So like in plenty of other horrible examples, nonhumans are punished for humans’ mistakes. Humans are responsible for climate change, mostly since they refuse to give up eating meat, and these days humans’ meat obsession is broadening its victim scope, to include probably millions of kangaroos (already on any “regular” year more than a million kangaroos are murdered).
The kangaroos are caught in a cynical and vicious cycle. But this cycle is very familiar.
It is not new that animals are being shot at not to mention their habitat is being destroyed to satisfy humans desires. Nonhumans always pay the price for humans mistakes and irresponsibly.

Ethical_Climate_Change

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