Saturday, 25 July 2015

Cruelty


Yesterday afternoon I was unfortunate to stumble across a rather horrendous image on Facebook; one showing the whale grind in the Faroe Islands. I shan’t share that picture with you. If you feel compelled to see, Google it.

By the way, and I’m just dropping this in as food for thought, and really not suggesting for one moment this makes this hunt right…have you ever watched whales kill? There’s even videos of that online “whales playing with food” comes up as a search. That’s really not friendly!!

The post sparked an awful lot of comments. Some were defending the action as people need the meat for food. Whilst others were condemning it outright, often suggesting the people should move to where there is food. Mmm…try telling that to the millions in Africa!? And the anti-immigrant brigade in the UK would accept them with open arms, would they? Is it really their fault they were born there?

Anyway, it got me thinking. Is it OK to kill animals for food? Well, yes. I know, a whole load of you will be cursing me right now, fingers poised to throw horrible comments on how “we don’t need to eat meat”. But please hold it for a minute. Let’s please remain calm. We are omnivores, and have been since our creation, and we have thus far needed meat to survive. Sorry, that is fact.

However, we are evolving, and perhaps this argument is now slightly less true than once it was.

But OK, I accept many of us aren’t mentally ready to accept that just yet. So, the way in which we treat our food is important. The most objectionable thing about the whale grind seemed to be how it looked inhumane. A whole pod was destroyed (although you could argue this means no animal was left to grieve; flimsy at best). From the brief glimpse I allowed myself it did seem savage, but then these animals are massive and powerful.

I began to wonder what people think happens in a slaughter house. We have become so far removed from our animal sources, we simply try to put that out of mind, so our conscience allows us to east the yummy meat our bodies crave. Some don’t even know where their meat comes from. When asked they reply “the supermarket”!! Standards have improved in slaughter houses, but it’s still not exactly a pretty sight. There is still panic, fear and blood.

So, if we can’t imagine ourselves directly killing, or even bear thinking of others killing animals for our plates do we have a right to eat meat? Are we being a tad hypocritical?

“So become vegetarian”, I hear you cry! Yes, that would stop a lot of animal slaughter, granted. But as a vegetarian do you still eat eggs? There are few things less humane than eggs. When I was a little girl I went into a battery hen house; it is my very own ‘Silence of the Lambs’. The scene was horrific; it was dark, it was smelly, it was noisy, and the hens were crammed into tiny cages. As an empath, the feelings of fear and distress were too much and I ran straight back out before I was suffocated. To this day I get this image if I reach for anything other than free range eggs.

So eating free range eggs is OK? Well no actually. The animals have happier lives. But did you realise hens aren’t supposed to lay that many eggs? They are fed specific feed and kept under certain conditions and have been specifically bred to lay more and more eggs. And what happens to the male chicks? Only hens (the girls) lay. Uh oh, ever seen the images of that? Huge carriers filled with male chicks (well, mainly male – it’s incredibly difficult to sex chicks). They’re not being taken for a happy ride. Nope, they’re heading to their doom, and none too gently.

Turning vegan is the answer! We then can avoid killing animals for leather, clothes, cosmetics etc. Great! But we really do start putting a lot of strain on our bodies. We can do it, but it is difficult. Apart from the effects on our body, the practicality is a nightmare. What’s in your soap, your sweets etc.? And are you telling me that plants don’t feel? If you cut them, do they not bleed (sap)? They absorb the elements as we do. They process the sunlight, and absorb the rain and they grow and breathe. Trees actually breathe out the oxygen we can breathe in. So, is it really OK to eat plants/vegetables/fruit? Ever heard a lettuce heart scream as you cut it?

OK, I’m taking this all a bit too far now.

Now, hopefully, you’ve not hit that button to send me hate mail just yet, as the real point I was going to make is this…

The post on whales was merely ironic. There were clearly two opposing sides with really strong views. The views tended to be either “killing any animal is bad, if you disagree you’re a fuckwit” vs “I love eating meat and am defending it by attacking you”.

You see, when our incredibly strong opinions are challenged we will defend it. Of course we will. But the defence on both sides ended up as vicious attacks on the other party. One guy kept dropping in anti-vegetarian images, taunting them with meat!  Each side was so quick to condemn the other it ended up being filled with hatred. Really vile things were said. The very people chanting they wanted to save the whales out of love ended up being cruel to other humans.

The problem is there are arguments for and against (for practically anything in life).

The bigger problem is how we react to those arguments.

So many seem incapable of saying, “You think that way. I think this way. I respect that there are differences between us.” People are entitled to their own opinion; we have free will. We don’t have to agree with them. We don’t even have to like them. But we should all respect that they have their own opinion. I have unfriended many on Facebook whose opinions varied from my own too much. I cannot change their opinion, as much as I would want to try. And in some cases I have indeed offered more information so perhaps they can have a more informed opinion. But there comes a point when you have to realise this person just doesn’t fit with your ideals and you need to release them with love and light.

Even typing this is hard; I want to fill it with my opinions of right and wrong. I accept there are certain subjects I want to say, “No, you’re wrong! You should…” I’m human! And therefore imperfect.

I guess what I’m trying to say is; be kind to one another!

Disagree, fine. But don’t be cruel about it. Otherwise we perpetuate the hatred we were trying to avoid in the first place.