Are you a self-proclaimed “animal lover?” Do you rescue countless dogs and cats, volunteer at your local shelter, petition for saving endangered species and circulate online calls to action for animals? If so, what do you eat?
How many people do you know who are self-proclaimed animal lovers? They rescue every homeless animal within a 10 mile radius of their home, circulate petitions to save the dolphins, adopt unwanted dogs, and protect the endangered species. They post thousands of pictures of their hundreds of cats on their Facebook profile, and in between circulating leaflets of the destruction of wildlife habitats and bringing food donations to their local no-kill shelter, they sit down for a nice big chicken salad.
You may think that it is a clear conflict of interest to love animals and yet eat them. This seems to be a familiar disconnect within our society. The vast majority of animal lovers out there love to eat their animals.
These are the very individuals who will be at your throat if you leave your dog in your car when it’s hot outside, or if you don’t spay or neuter your cat. But invite them out to a barbecue that supports their local animal shelter, and they are all for it.
How logical, really, are these arbitrary species distinctions? People get very up in arms about the killing of dolphins and the eating of dogs in other countries, yet pigs are actually far more intelligent than any dog breed, and have even outperformed three-year-old human children. So, why is our outrage over people eating canines, when we continue to eat bovines and porcines?
Let’s take a look at some similar dichotomous beliefs that don’t have the cloak of social acceptability to hide behind:
Let’s say that I participate in a racial protest. I advocate for the equality of all races. I probably voice my support for diversity in politics, always vote for the minority, and have friends from various ethnic and racial backgrounds. And, I progressively allow my slaves to have an education by providing them with tutors.
How about a real example: NAMBLA. NAMBLA is the North American Man Boy Love Association. They state that the love between a man and boy is natural, and has its roots far back in history. They point to a quote: “The great affection of an elder for a younger man, such as Plato made the very basis of his philosophy, is that deep, spiritual affection that is as pure as it is perfect.”
NAMBLA states that “most man/boy relationships are based on mutual respect and affection. Such relationships not harm anyone, and often entail many benefits for both man and boy.” So, here is an organization that says it’s all about promoting the well-being, freedom, and rights of young boys. Its members “dedicate” their lives, identities, and sometimes even lose their freedom, for the “cause” of loving these boys.
Now, you may think it’s absurd of me to compare animal-eating animal-lovers, to grown men advocating for the open love of young boys. Certainly, animal lovers that still eat animals and animal by-products aren’t even in the same league as socially active pedophiles, right? I’d have to agree with you, in some minor respects.
First, the men of NAMBLA aren’t saying that it’s okay to kill certain boys under certain circumstances. Whereas animal-consuming animal-lovers draw arbitrary distinctions between which animals are to be rescued, cared for, advocated for and loved, and which are to be tortured and killed for a meal.
In all fairness, both animal-eating animal-lovers and NAMBLA members believe that they are doing the best for those for whom they advocate. Only, animal-eating animal-lovers only take this belief as far as their decided species or circumstance-determined line:
- Dog or cat?: rescue them
- Dolphin or endangered species: protect them
- Cow, pig, or chicken?: torture, milk, kill, and eat them
- Potbelly pig?: rescue them.
- Pet chicken?: love them (while eating their sisters for dinner)
Maybe you’re saying, “look, I’m not for the torture of animals or any kind of cruelty—I only eat animals and animal products that had been humanely raised and slaughtered.” Check out some of these posts for more on the humane concept.
— Emily Moran Barwick