I was on a walk down my street when I veered off down a dirt path to find a lovely cow in a fenced-in wooded area.
My new friend saw me come up to the fence/gate and rushed over to greet me.
This gentle cow started licking my hands and jacket and shirt. 😀
Now that’s what I call a cow-lick!
Her tongue was slightly rough and she was quite intent, apparently, on cleaning me up. haha
I talked to her softly as she gazed at me intently.
Being close to a sweet, innocent creature is the best way to feel the connection we have to other sentient beings.
I wish others would interact with cows to see how like our own dear pets they are–licking, scratching, listening to us talk, coming over to us for a scratch behind the ears.
If more people had one-to-one encounters with the animals we slaughter, they would understand why so many of us are choosing to do them no harm.
This cow’s gentle eyes gazed into mine trustingly.
How I wish she wouldn’t one day likely be betrayed by other human eyes, all for her body, which humans so eagerly and thoughtlessly consume, and which belongs to her and her alone.
Visit some cows (or pigs or chickens) if you still eat meat, and see what I mean. ❤
The image at the bottom of this blog post is from a petition from Change.org asking for our voices to be heard against “high speed slaughter”.
Here is the full text on the petition:
Apr 4, 2018 — Take action: Tweet to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue today! This week, Perdue toured the new Clemens Food Group plant in Coldwater, Michigan, which quietly (without opportunity for public comment) became the latest facility participating in the USDA’s dangerous high-speed slaughter pilot program known as HIMP. Afterwards, he boasted about the plant, tweeting that it “process[es] about 8,000 [pigs] per day now, with plans to expand”–yet he didn’t mention that this same slaughterhouse recently had to slow down its kill speed after it lost “process control.” Help us stop the dangerous pilot program from spreading nationwide: Tweet @SecretarySonny TODAY (http://bit.ly/2uMoqpw)!
Before the opening of the Clemens plant, which was given a waiver last fall to operate under the USDA’s high-speed pilot program without opportunity for public comment, industry publications projected that the plant could kill as many as 12,000 pigs each day–or 1,500 every hour–a much faster pace than the current federal limit of 1,106 pigs per hour.
New documents obtained by consumer protection group Food & Water Watch via Freedom of Information Act requests reveal that in December, not even two weeks after the waiver program was implemented, the plant’s high line speed led to a loss of “process control,” and it had to slow down. The government redacted the speed at which this occurred–and didn’t identify the reason.
The expansion of the HIMP program through the USDA’s misleadingly titled Modernization of Swine Slaughter Inspection rule would threaten the welfare of consumers, pigs, and workers nationwide–yet Secretary Perdue was happy to tout his tour of Clemens, a model plant for this program. Make sure he hears the quarter million voices opposing high-speed slaughter loud and clear by tweeting at him TODAY! Use our sample below or click this link: http://bit.ly/2uMoqpw!
SAMPLE TWEET: Not so fast, @USDA! @SecretarySonny, please listen to the quarter million consumers opposing dangerous high-speed slaughter and end, rather than expand, this dangerous pilot program! bit.ly/stopHIMP #NotSoFastUSDA
People usually try hard not to think of the violence and cruelty inflicted on these creatures so they can enjoy their ham, pork chops, and bacon without feeling badly, but these are animals who are extremely intelligent and sensitive, and if most of us faced the reality of what they go through, we would not hesitate to stop paying for it.
Let’s put ourselves in this pig’s place and imagine her fear, pain and death and make the choice to have mercy.
Many people don’t understand what it’s like in daily life to live committed to “doing the least harm” to other sentient beings.
Although what vegans deal with every single day is nothing compared to the animals on factory farms and when enduring the horrible process of slaughter (particularly in today’s slaughterhouses where speed is such that animals are often not rendered senseless and endure being hacked and torn apart while conscious), it is nonetheless a path that requires us to be tolerant of the intolerable, quiet when we want to scream, and able to constantly face the barrage of animal parts all around us without becoming overwhelmed with despair.
When shopping at the grocery store, we must walk past aisle after aisle of animal body parts as well as the milk products and egg products that resulted in extreme animal cruelty and death.
While eating out at most restaurants, we must try to look past the items of meat and eggs and dairy and attempt to numb ourselves to what we know is the reality for the animals who were forced to provide them to us.
When sitting down at a BBQ, we have to try not to connect the smell of grilling meat to the horrors that were inflicted on innocent animals to provide it.
The best way to understand, for those still eating meat and other animal products, is to imagine you’re visiting friends/family in Asia, where in some areas dog and cat meat is considered “normal” food.
Try to envision sitting down at the table and watching your friends or family enjoying a dog rib or cat leg, knowing that you can say nothing and can do nothing and if you do you’ll be considered “odd”, “pushy”, and “judgmental”.
But you are forced to live in a world where almost no one speaks up for these animals and no one needs to eat them, yet they are slaughtered mercilessly and devoured with no further thought about it.
This is the world we must endure, and it requires an effort at remaining hopeful that things will change.
It really doesn’t require that much discipline to give up animal products–the real discipline is in enduring the endless stream of images of death and the knowledge that most people have no idea of the cruelty they are supporting with their food choices.
The slightest sign of change fills us with joy, as we hope that slowly society evolves towards awareness and understanding, resulting in compassion and non-violence.
Human beings are ethical creatures by design, something that most humans take pride in and of course easily acknowledge.
Whether we act ethically or not is another matter, but we still have the capacity to understand and live by ethical standards.
In fact, we have based our system of laws and justice in a civilized society on ethical considerations.
When humans claim superiority over other animals, they are not just referring to intellectual superiority but to our capacity for moral behavior, something we don’t usually see in the animal kingdom (although there are instances of, for example, dolphins rescuing people from drowning or saving other animals from shark attacks as well as other documented stories of animals seemingly acting in ways that are what we would consider altruistic).
But to create a moral code, to actually define and study ethics and attempt to live lives by ethical standards is, of course, exclusive to humans.
Ethics is a very broad and complicated subject, well beyond the scope of a humble blog.
But it seems to me that if we abide by how Richard William Paul and Linda Elder, authors of the 2006 book The Miniature Guide to Understanding the Foundations of Ethical Reasoning,. define ethics, as “a set of concepts and principles that guide us in determining what behavior helps or harms sentient creatures,” then we have a working foundation as to how we will choose to live our lives when we ascribe to doing the least harm.
Doesn’t it behoove those of us who would never dream of harming or killing an animal purposely and unnecessarily, to think about our own actions and behaviors that undermine our own ethical stands?
More and more people are doing just that, which is why the movement to eliminate animal cruelty and slaughter is growing by leaps and bounds.
It’s because humans are indeed ethical creatures and once we realize and truly face the fact that our ethics are not in line with our actions, we can then consciously choose to change those actions.
This blog by a fellow animal advocate nails it–speciesism is at the core of what we do and who we are and it’s high time we face it and make changes.
Originally posted 6 August 2014, revised and links updated 22 January 2018
Speciesism is a pervasive form of prejudice, taught to us all in our earliest years, that blinkers members of our species into the unfounded belief that we are so much more important than, or so superior to all other beings on the planet that we may harm and kill them for whatever trivial reasons we devise, without conscience and without any moral justification whatsoever. A form of oppression directed at other living individuals, speciesism is the practice of according or withholding the rights that belong to others by virtue of their birth, based solely upon their species. Much is written about the term, however we may easily gain awareness of it by examining our own attitudes and looking at the world about us.
How do we see speciesism in action?
Speciesism is happening when we needlessly slaughter and…
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There’s an Elephant in the Room blog is worth sharing, as it goes directly to the issues animal advocates so passionately try to shed light on. Read further for the author of the blog’s personal journey to becoming vegan and thereby creating this powerful blog site:
When I see the love that humans have for other creatures, I have hope for change.
Despite our appalling behavior in a larger way towards the other animals we share this planet with (the meat and dairy industries, the fur industry, etc.), what I observe in individual humans is usually kindness and gentleness.
When a turtle is trying to cross the road, there are always people who stop their cars and risk their own safety to help it to the other side.
When a bird hits their house window, they rush to see if he/she is o.k. and feel badly if it’s not.
When they see birds like ducks and swans in a local lake, they enjoy watching them and offering them food, treating them with respect.
When visiting a sanctuary, they delight in every creature and seem so glad the animals are safe and treated with kindness.
While spending the day at a zoo (unfortunately, there can be reasons to avoid zoos, but that’s for another blog), the people enjoy the interaction with the animals and getting to know each species and individual creature a little better.
While taking care of their pets, of course, great love and devotion is easily given.
In short, most people are kind to animals and appalled at the idea that anyone would want to harm them, much less slaughter them brutally.
All it takes for most is the recognition that how animals are treated in the big industries that exploit them is contrary to everything they believe it.
Even if the animals are raised “humanely” (and often this label on meat and dairy is used whether the animals were actually treated with some recognition of their basic needs or not), they still face the horror of the slaughterhouse, whose workers cannot show any mercy and for which each animal dies a horrible death (if only more people watched undercover footage it’s guaranteed that only the hardest of hearts would continue eating animal products).
Yes, all it takes for most people is that lightbulb moment, when suddenly they realize why vegans are working so hard to raise awareness when and where they can and they make the connection between what they themselves think and feel and the products they are buying.
When I see the love that the majority of humans show other animals they encounter, I know in my heart that we get closer to a more humane world as long as awareness grows.
When I was a young girl I was only taken to my mother’s Greek Orthodox Church a few times a year, mostly at Easter.
The intoxicating smell of incense and the hushed, mysterious environment of the church was interesting to me, but what really intrigued me was the story of Jesus, which, since the service was in Greek and I didn’t understand the language, was not found in my occasional visits there.
The story of Jesus was really taught to me through the 1961 movie, “King of Kings”.
This man-god, this Holy and loving Being who healed the sick and challenged the status quo on its cruel and arrogant social structure was of great interest to me and I always felt a sense of awe in watching his mission unfold on the screen, “Hollywood” though it might have been.
Although I don’t go to church I do consider Jesus to be my Savior and “Way-shower” as to our difficult walk here on the earth plane.
To my great sorrow, I’ve noted that most Christians do not seem interested in animal welfare (or the idea of elevating animal status) with the possible exception of those they consider pets.
I never understood this and I still do not.
Isn’t the very message of Jesus that Love is the Rule and that the Creator is in fact Love itself?
Isn’t Love filled with tenderness, mercy and empathy?
If the original creation was not intended to be the savagery of a predatory planet, but instead the Peaceable Kingdom, then aren’t we following the Law of Love to rise above the Law of the Jungle and extend our compassion to all beings capable of suffering (sentient beings)?
This is of course a planet filled with predatory behavior, including stealing, cheating, violence, murder and on and on.
Aren’t we called to strive to avoid those things that cause suffering to creation?
As imperfect as we are, aren’t we still called to mercy?
If Jesus is my example of compassion, then I say absolutely yes.
And I’m not alone.
The Reverend Andrew Linzey is one follower of Jesus who believes that all creatures are worthy of our love.
“Animals are God’s creatures, not human property, nor utilities, nor resources, nor commodities, but precious beings in God’s sight. … Christians whose eyes are fixed on the awfulness of crucifixion are in a special position to understand the awfulness of innocent suffering. The Cross of Christ is God’s absolute identification with the weak, the powerless, and the vulnerable, but most of all with unprotected, undefended, innocent suffering.” ~Reverend Andrew Linzey
For more on Reverend Linzey’s Gospel for All Creatures, check out my previous blog https://mercyforallanimals.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/a-gospel-for-every-creature/
The word “relentless” is what comes to mind when I watch TV and see ad after ad expounding the wonders of flesh foods over and over and over….
It’s the relentlessness of pounding into consumers’ heads the idea that you just can’t live life without burgers and steaks and ribs and….on and on.
The commercials of course make it sound like it’s all about “us” (the majority of humans) and what we might desire and “need” and want.
But we know that there are two things that contradict that it’s all about us:
For one, the commercials are all about “them” (the meat industries and restaurants and grocery stores and their profits).
For two, there are victims who are silent but very, very real (the animals, of course).
That’s why I am relentless in trying to reach as many open minds and hearts as I can while I am here on earth–to try to give some voice to those who cannot speak for themselves and of course can’t advertise on TV.
I wish it didn’t need to be so, but I must be as “relentless” as they are to speak on behalf of the ones it’s really all about, for otherwise their suffering and their deaths remain unseen and unheard.
I hear this (or see this rather) on social media sites when it comes to animal issues that involve non-pets.
I don’t see or hear this in my own advocacy, however, because I don’t open the subject of my veganism up unless someone asks me first.
There are many ways of advocating, and perhaps I’m not always right to wait for someone to bring up the subject first, but I don’t go there except in my blog and on links to my blog on my Facebook page.
People often fear that a vegan will berate them or get too confrontational if they don’t shut down the conversation about it first.
That’s sad, because then veganism and the message on behalf of animals, the planet and our health is normally or often only reaching the ones who are already convinced that the message is a good one and well worth adopting.
In other words, we are left preaching to the choir.
That’s why I started my blog, because I knew that since I never open the uncomfortable discussion with my friends and family, I had to have a place where I could freely support the idea of rejecting animal exploitation without having to worry about the face to face conversation.
Of course, I have still lost friends and family as a result of my advocacy, even though I am nothing if not understanding and non-aggressive in trying to convey my viewpoint.
But I’m convinced that people who are open to the message will ask for information when they’re ready and to try to convince those who are closed minded and hearted (at least for the time being) is a waste of time and could even cause them to be less likely to ever be open to the wonderful message of veganism.
I don’t believe in yelling, arguing or criticizing (although I’m only human and have felt like it at times, trust me).
I wish that I had had more examples of people living vegan principles when I was much younger, or had blogs to read or videos to watch or even had friends or family speak to me non-aggressively about the issue because had I been exposed to veganism earlier in my life I would likely have adopted that lifestyle long ago (I went vegetarian decades ago, when I was only 21, but I had no idea for many years that eating eggs and dairy was causing cruelty and slaughter anyway).
I only also wish that more people would actually ask me why I think everyone who is able to should adopt a vegan lifestyle for so many extremely important reasons.
I await that day.