Saturday, August 1, 2009

Violence Against Animals Extends Beyond the Slaughterhouse

In this short video recorded in a French slaughterhouse, two cows are standing in a chute, about to enter one at a time an area where they will be stunned and then killed. A worker using an electric prod directs the first cow through the entrance door, which quickly closes behind her. A moment later, when the second cow hears the cries of the first cow, she realizes that her life is in imminent danger.
What is exhibited next is behavior that’s no different than one would expect from a dog, cat, or human, facing a similar dire situation. She is obviously fearful as she makes frantic attempts to get away.
Closing our eyes to her behavior in order to justify our enjoyment of animal products is no different than ignoring the interests and self-worth of a dog, cat, or human for the purposes of our own selfish enjoyment. Using criteria such as physical appearance and species to justify harming a nonhuman is exactly like using race, gender, or any number of other irrelevant characteristics to justify harming another human.
Anyone who thinks that this violence begins and ends at the slaughterhouse should consider that the cows in this video and billions of other sentient animals would never be put in these kinds of situations if it were not for the demand for animal products from a great many individual consumers. The violence starts with each of us. We are directly responsible for it. Ending it can only happen when individuals understand and acknowledge their complicity, and commit themselves to no longer demanding products based on the exploitation of animals.

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