The day before yesterday an outrage was sparked off in France. The reason is one decision, of one mayor, in the city of Lyon alone, to only temporarily stop serving children, only some types of animals’ corpses and during school lunches only.
Despite that the decision is not of a total meat-free diet – for example by closing down all the city’s butcher shops and banning all the meat from all the other stores that sell animal flesh – but only regards to school lunches, and despite that it is not really a meat-free menu, as fishes will be offered as usual (if not more than usual, because ‘the children need to consume animals to grow well’ as the Agriculture Minister said in response, as well as asking the region’s administrator, who is the state-appointed top local official, to overrule the decision), and despite that it is definitely not an exploitation-free menu as eggs and milk products will be served as usual, and despite that Lyon’s Mayor Gregory Doucet said that the motivation behind that decision is solely due to the health crisis as it allows the service to be streamlined and quickened amid coronavirus restrictions, members of the French government claimed that the decision insults French butchers and Lyon’s famous culinary reputation, and harms the health of children.
Agriculture Minister Julien Denormandie said: “Let’s stop putting ideology on our children’s plates”, totally ignoring the fact that ideology has been on children’s plates since forever. Children are bombarded with speciesism ideology from day one. But like any other dominant ideology, since speciesism comes so naturally and self-evidently to humans, it is not even recognized as an ideology. It is just the way things are and should be. So when someone suggests to only temporarily, stop serving only some types of animals to children, and not because of finally realizing that discrimination against sentient beings on the basis of their species is as wrong as any other form of discrimination, but so to better handle the coronavirus restrictions only, it is still viewed as a direct attack on humans’ comfortable and desirable habits and views.
A poll that surveyed 116,000 French people showed that 84% disagree with the mayor of Lyon’s decision to only temporarily remove only some types of meat from school lunch menus.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said it was an “unacceptable insult” for French farmers and butchers. And we cannot avoid thinking that “unacceptable” is probably exactly how hundreds of billions of nonhumans are feeling when even the most caring and compassionate humans on earth are still insisting on entrusting their fate in the hands of humanity.
Not even one city, not even temporarily, not even now, not even some animals only. That is an unacceptable insult, and another wakeup call for all activists.