As I see the warm orange sun begin to appear in the sky this morning, I feel happy and frisky, because along with the warmth of the new morning, I feel the cool breeze and smell the fresh, clean air, and I am happy to be alive.
I live in the woods and I’m a young deer.
My friends and family always stay near me because we know that if we live close together we can warn each other of danger.
I don’t like always being afraid, but the older deer tell me that there are creatures who want to kill us, so we must always beware.
I see these creatures from time to time. They have bright orange coloring and they sometimes appear out of nowhere, but we quickly run when we spot them.
Before I was born, some of the creatures killed and dragged away some members of my family or sometimes they left their bodies to rot where they lay. We have become very alert to the slightest sense that we’re being followed and we always keep a constant lookout for this terrible danger.
I once saw one of the creatures watching me, but this one seemed different. It wasn’t bright orange and I wasn’t as frightened as I normally would be. I sensed a calmness, a peacefulness, about this being, and I almost trusted it, but when it got too close to me, I ran away quickly with the others, flashing my white tail to tell every other creature to be careful, just in case.
This morning I don’t see or hear any creatures that scare me as I nibble on some of the few remaining sweet yellowish-green leaves on the trees. The cool wind stirs up the fragrance of my woodland home and I notice that my sister is sniffing the air and kicking up her heels, ready to play. She looks at me with bright shiny eyes that glitter with mischievousness. But I feel peaceful and happy just to eat my morning meal quietly and I continue to graze, letting down my guard, the still of the morning enveloping me.
Suddenly there is movement and the flash of orange and I hear a terrible booming sound that shatters the still of the forest. My family and friends run swiftly away and I turn to follow them, but I cannot. I can’t go with them, no matter how desperately I try, and terror fills my heart.
I try to move, but my legs begin to buckle and I feel pain engulf my body. I see my blood spilling to the ground, its bright red color splashing onto the forest floor. My heart is pounding in my ears as I try again to flee, but my body is paralyzed to carry me from this place, and I am left behind by my herd.
The creatures in orange colors that I have feared all my life are approaching and their drawing near fills me with dread. I struggle one last time as my body shakes and crumbles to the ground, and I feel the life in me, so strong just moments ago, begin to slowly slip away.
I don’t understand why these creatures seem happy and are shouting and laughing as I lie in a pool of my own blood.
Scenes from my life come into my mind: the day I was born, feeling the gentle, tickly texture of my mother’s tongue, washing me clean, her cold nose nuzzling me when my bath is done. My first steps, awkward and wobbly, the warmth of my mother’s milk, rich and tasty, the light of the sun, streaming through the trees, shimmering on the water in the stream where I have my first sip of the cold drink, my joy at romping with my sister, chasing her and leaping high over fallen tree trunks as we race through the woods.
Somehow I know I will never again play with my sister or dash through the woods or feel the warm sun. I won’t ever again sniff the winds that ripple over my body or nibble the delicate green leaves on the trees in the forest where I live.
I feel my breathing slow down and I am tired and cold. This must be what dying is.
I am scared and I am alone, my family and friends far away now. I want to scream and bite and kick these creatures and fight to live one last time, but I am too weak now, and as the pain radiates through my broken body, I slowly slip into darkness.
As I die, the orange creatures hold up my head.
And they smile.
This is a wonderful blog that gets to the heart of the matter and why so many of us question the use (and abuse) of sentient beings. I am happy to share it.
Image by Jo-Anne McArthur, We Animals
We frequently see it stated that the individuals whose lives, bodies, and reproductive systems we use, are sentient. So what actually is sentience?
Human animals and the vast majority of other animal species that our species uses, harms and kills, usually without thought, conscience or most importantly, any necessity whatsoever, share the quality of sentience.
Although almost everyone who has shared time with a cat, a dog, a horse, a rabbit or any species of companion has instinctively recognised the fact that other animals clearly have feelings, thoughts, preferences and emotions, scientific acceptance of their sentience was formally acknowledged on 7 July 2012 and enshrined in the landmark Cambridge Declaration on Consciousness by a prominent international group of scientists.
A sentient being is a creature that can suffer and feel pain. Such an individual is defined as having the faculty of sensation and the power…
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“I went to a protest against dog fights”
“I wrote a letter about ending the fur seal hunt”
“I reported my neighbor for cruelty to his cat”
“I protested outside a slaughter plant”
“Get off your soapbox”
Think about it.
Happy to reblog this wonderful post! 🙂
It’s that time of year again when America celebrates the Thanksgiving Day Holiday. Wherever you are celebrating this day, make it a humane celebration especially when it comes to what we put on our plates!
We are reposting an article we published in 2015. Enjoy!
During this Thanksgiving Holiday, what are you thankful for? Even if you are not from America, celebrate this day with us! Let’s all give pause to stop – and think about what is really important in life. The answers will vary greatly, depending on many factors, including where we happen to live on the planet. Let’s also, as we are pausing, think about life itself – the gift that it is.
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
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I dream of the day when all humanity and all God’s creatures live in peace…and the violence and suffering of the past is forgotten. I’m happy to share this powerful blog that reminds us of that future. 🙂
The pain experienced by humans and animals as a result of war should never be forgotten. WWI, in which 10 million soldiers died, also resulted in the deaths of 8 million military horses and over 8 million other animals.
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Every Thanksgiving we celebrate all that we have to be grateful for and it has always puzzled me that we feel that must include cruelty to animals.
Almost no one thinks of it that way, of course. They are just following tradition and offering the food that everyone associates with the Thanksgiving meal.
Almost no one who celebrates with a turkey (or other animal products) would ever harm or kill an animal themselves, and the suffering is out of sight and out of mind.
But the suffering and brutal slaughter goes on nonetheless.
As a collective human society, we are horrified by cruelty and acts of purposeful injury and death to others (human and animal alike), but we are conditioned to completely ignore, disconnect and deny the purposeful injury and death we casually inflict on billions of animals who suffer unseen.
Long ago I stopped being a part of any Thanksgiving celebration where the tortured and slaughtered body of an animal was part of the ritual.
Do those words shock you? They shouldn’t: they are just simply the truth of our treatment of animals raised for food; even so-called “free-range” animals nonetheless suffer the fear and cruelty of transport to and death in the slaughterhouse.
There is another way to celebrate all we have to be thankful for–we can gorge on so many delicious plant-based foods that satisfy the palate as well as that part of us that is merciful.
Please consider a Thanksgiving based on compassion this and every year.
Chickens are Plunged into an “Electrified Bath” as Part of Their Journey into Food but That’s not the Worst Part
I was tuned into NPR the other day and listened as a woman investigating how chickens are treated in the agriculture industry recited the processes as if she was going down a list of items on her shopping list—no emotion, no questioning of why are we doing this to sentient animals?– just a recounting of what she had seen.
I was not surprised at the horror, as I’m well aware of the cruelty. What was possibly even more disconcerting is how the woman managed to be so, well, “clinical” about it all, so devoid of any real emotion, and how she happily claims she still eats meat from chickens she knows firsthand are treated with barbarity.
People like to feel good about themselves, and they don’t want to think that they might be causing harm to other living beings. In particular, most people who claim they “love” animals would never themselves do them harm.
Unfortunately, these same people rarely investigate what the animals go through to become their meals.
It’s not a pretty sight.
Before their throats are slit at high-speed in the slaughterhouse, chickens endure a grueling journey by truck to the House of Death and once yanked out of their crammed crates, are then thrown into vats of electrified water. Can you imagine doing that to a cat or a dog? Of course not.
But alas! the lowly chickens are treated as mere “things”, and if the “bath” doesn’t stun them into unconsciousness, they will endure their throats being slit while keenly–and painfully–aware.
Read about the process here if you want to know more. And I’m a firm believer that those who eat chickens owe it to them to at least know how they suffered and died.
And there’s more.
“The U.S. Agriculture Department estimates that hundreds of thousands of birds are unintentionally boiled alive each year because they manage to survive until they reach a scalding water tank that helps loosen feathers from carcasses.”
Why should we pretend this cruelty doesn’t exist? Why should good people be paying for this torture to living beings?
If feeling that throwing an animal into an electrified bath, having its throat slit, and then having him or her thrown into a scalding water tank sickens you, please join me in not paying to have it done for you.
Let’s choose to eat plant-based and put the cruel animal food industries out of business and in the past, where they belong.
I love Halloween, and I know most people love it, too.
Maybe it’s the fact that on this one night we can let our freak out. 😀
We dress up to become someone or something entirely different than our usual selves and we gorge on candy and scare ourselves with tales of torture, scenes of horror, and images of death and darkness.
We do this as humans, of course, because it’s all harmless fun and it also allows us to face our worst fears and laugh them off.
Not so for the animals we raise for food, fur and entertainment.
These animals face horrors every single day of their miserable lives.
It’s standard operating procedure in the animal exploitation business.
They are beaten, intensely confined, violently slaughtered.
Factory farms and abattoirs are true houses of horror.
Don’t take my word for it–do the research yourself. My films section is a good place to start.
From piglets having their tales cut off without anesthesia to male chicks ground alive in “macerator” machines, to female pigs confined so tightly they can’t turn around for their entire lives to chickens and pigs being scalded alive to the dismemberment and skinning of live, conscious animals like cows, we have created a macabre world so dark, so pitiless, so brutal and cruel that most people don’t want to hear about it or acknowledge it.
For the animals we exploit and dominate, confine and kill, we are Freddy Krueger, Hannibal Lecter, Leatherface, Jigsaw…the list goes on.
Most of us will never be tortured and murdered and we can scare ourselves and then laugh it off.
Unfortunately, the animals cannot escape their houses of horrors.
They are powerless against the brutality shown them, and they never wake up from their nightmare.
Please go vegan and together let’s finally end this darkness for our animal friends.
And by the way, there are plenty of delicious vegan candies for your Halloween gorging!
Oh, and check out the Sweet and Sara website when you have a craving for chocolate and marshmallows–I can personally attest that these treats are absolutely delicious!
Happy hauntings and sugar comas! 😀
And thank you for thinking of the animals and helping end their real-life horrors.
We humans are a strange lot.
We eat the remains of animals violently butchered and (for the vast majority) kept in horrendously cruel conditions until their short lives are ended at the slaughterhouse.
Yet we don’t want our dinner spoiled by hearing the details.
I cannot think of one single area in the lives of humans where the bizarre acceptance of what is repulsive to our minds and hearts (for most of us) is so conveniently denied and universally accepted.
If we can’t stand to hear the details, refuse to watch a video, hide from any photo that might expose blood, guts and cruelty, how on earth do we eat the food from which the savagery was obtained?
I think I know how–as I, too, was raised to eat animal flesh.
We pretend it can’t be that bad. We tell ourselves it’s o.k. when it’s clearly not to anyone with compassion (and most of us have compassion), and we accept it as normal because that’s what society tells us it is.
Yet, in this season of Halloween when we scare ourselves with bloody images of torture and death, let’s remember what the abattoir really is: a real-life, sickening place of fear, suffering and violent, gory death.
The slaughterhouse isn’t a scary Halloween prop but an actual place where there is no mercy and no escape for innocents from violent slaughter.
And let’s ask ourselves: if we can’t look at the real-life butchering, how on earth are we eating it?
Although there are certainly days I despair that mankind will ever change his ways in any significant way when it comes to animal exploitation, I have hope for a future in which human beings refuse to engage in or support anything that intentionally harms other sentient creatures.
The reason I have hope isn’t just because so many people are being exposed to the horrors of animal abuse and slaughter (through undercover videos, documentaries, etc.) and as a result are refusing to fund them in numbers greater than at any time in history, though that’s a good reason to have great expectations!
I have hope because there are so many people who get defensive and therefore mock veganism. They show me that a nerve is being struck, consciences are being uncomfortably prodded, and the human ego is being resistant to the message, precisely because at some level, no matter how deep, most people know that animal cruelty–whether it’s shown to a horse, a dog, a pig or a cow–is just wrong.
When there’s a shift in the collective consciousness, as there was when slavery was being challenged or women’s rights were being demanded, there’s a backlash and in fact, that means the message is actually being heard.
The worst thing for the movement to eliminate animal suffering would be for people to completely ignore the message–for apathy wouldn’t show us we were striking any chords in human minds and hearts.
I remind myself of that when I’m called a freak or worse. 😀