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Time to Evolve - All Animals Matter

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
[photo: princessrica]
[photo: princessrica]

By Krista Simon

We Nova Scotian's love our dogs and why wouldn't we? I am grateful for the action that People For Dogs (on FaceBook) are taking in support of saving lives. They are directly involved in rescuing and re-homing neglected dogs, and they have reason to be proud of that advocacy. The proposed legislation to limit and not to ban tethering of dogs falls short of the objective, however, and we are forgetting our participation in the suffering of more than 50 billion animals slaughtered worldwide every year for the meat, dairy and egg industries. If our experiences with dogs didn't explain their sentience, the science confirms these animals possess intelligence, and whose personalities are enhanced through socialization, training, and affection. So when the science tells us that pigs, cows, chickens, turkeys, sheep, indeed all sentient beings, are individuals also, their personalities enhanced by socialization, training and affection, we are obliged to pay attention, for we are currently under the erroneous assumption that farm animals' lives do not matter and further, that their pain and distress, inherent in the industrialized farming industry, is to be mocked or ignored altogether. What is the reason for this very human problem of loving one or two species of animals, while enslaving or ignoring most other species worldwide? In a word: Speciesism. It is real and it is violent.

Ruth Harrison, author of Animal Machines, explains speciesism further: “...if one person is unkind to an animal it is considered to be cruelty, but where a lot of people are unkind to animals, especially in the name of commerce, the cruelty is condoned and, once large sums of money are at stake, will be defended to the last by otherwise intelligent people.” Factory farming is kept out of sight, out of mind, away from consumers for good reason because no animal loving person can justify the systemic abuse that farm animals endure. Watch a few minutes of any under-cover video featuring standard operating procedures, that include anesthesia-free tail and teeth docking, and testicle removal for piglets, to tearing a new-born calf from his mother so she can be hooked to milking tubes, and you'll understand that there is no such thing as humane abuse or slaughter. Those of us against cruelty to dogs bear the responsibility of emancipating all sentient beings from abuse and slaughter.

From the annual dolphin massacre in Taiji, Japan, featured in the film The Cove, to the hunt for new Orcas to place into amusement parks featured in the film Blackfish; from the illegal Chinese hunt for shark fins shown in the film Sharkwater, to Canada's own commercial seal hunt industry which is steadily running out of buyers, animal rights activists are facing a perfect storm to highlight the hypocritical attitude most of us have regarding animals; some matter, most don't. When old attitudes and assumptions about what we know to be true about animals are put aside, and we take a moment to think with clarity as opposed to emotion, the hypocrisy is obvious and painful. There are really kind-hearted, well intentioned people working very hard for any one species, and while that hard work may achieve some relief for that one species, it makes the work behind justice for all animals harder, if we keep choosing one species at a time. Don't all animals deserve protection from cruelty and the right to their own bodies, not to be used as commodities? I believe they do. And I'm not alone.

Some of the greatest minds in science, literature, philosophy, law, and social justice, past and present, have written unabashedly about the cruel and needless human habit of harming animals for pleasure. When tradition, pleasure and convenience are the only excuses we have to continue exploiting animals to death, we cannot claim to be the rational species. It is widely accepted that humans do not need any animal protein for survival; moreover, many common cancers, diabetes, obesity, asthma, IBS, and skin conditions are preventable and can be eliminated by taking animal protein off the menu. The local abolition group A.S.A.P. (Abolish the Status of Animals as Property, find us on FaceBook) hosts workshops and film screenings to educate the public about becoming vegan animal advocates, for the animals, for the environment, and for humanity. Let's work toward a world of justice and peace for all.

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