Tuesday, June 25, 2013

You Need Not Turn Over Any Rocks

Animal exploitation is so pervasive in our culture that you need not turn over any rocks to see it; in fact you can't seem to get away from it. During my run early this morning I ran past a large group of goats grazing in a grassy field surrounded by a barbed wire fence. Accompanying them was a dog. Both the dog and the goats are victims of domestication. They are someone's property, their lives are controlled, and they are forever dependent on humans. The dog is exploited for her ability to watch over the goats and chase or scare away predators. The goats are exploited for whatever horrible purposes they are used for. Everyone inside that fence is valued more for what they can do for us than for who they are as individuals.

Later this morning while stretching at the gym, I overheard a man on the mat next to me saying into his cell phone: "She wants to go to SeaWorld. I think we can find a coupon." We detain animals in zoos, aquatic parks, and aquariums where we strip them of their personhood, manage their lives in unnatural settings, put them on display, and profit off them, merely because we find them entertaining.

A coffee shop was my next stop. While paying for my coffee and bagel, I couldn't help notice the tubs of cream cheese neatly stacked in the refrigerated display case next to me. The dairy industry involves such terrible violence that those containers might as well have been smeared with blood.

I see animal exploitation everywhere I turn, and honestly, it sickens me. But I always remind myself that the discomfort I feel is trivial compared to what the nonhuman animals we exploit have to go through.

If you haven’t already done so, please recognize that animals have an interest in their lives just as humans do. Please reject violence and go vegan.

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