Fluffy Animals vs. Juicy Meat

Today I watched an Oprah show about meat. Being an animal lover, a vegetarian and someone who speaks her mind about things, I love to give my view on this subject. For me personally it’s crystal clear: don’t eat meat. I hate the idea of treating animals like products, I think people don’t need to eat meat anymore, I’m disgusted by the taste of meat and during the last election I voted for the Animal Party. Like Kent Brockman, I’ll give my two cents on the subject in this entry.

After spending a month in India I was quite upset about a couple of things. First of all, in India people live in much more harmony with nature. Although I’ve seen them beat animals and pollute their environment, they also seemed to recognize the spirit within nature and try to live as harmonious with nature as possible. Besides, they treat the animals no more differently from their own children. Another thing that made me almost mad is that in India all the food is by default vegetarian. If a restaurant serves meat, that’s mentioned explicitly. If I want to go to a restaurant in my hometown in ‘developed’ and ‘rich’ Europe, I can only chose from a select group of restaurants, since most don’t serve vegetarian food. Why is there such a difference between us and the Indian food culture?

Well, except for the obvious reasons, they treat animals very differently. Daan once had a chat with the assistant of our busdriver, who told him they kept a cow at their house. Daan asked if they eat it. He replied that they don’t use the cow for meat, but milk it and keep it almost as a pet. If it dies, they will collect the meat and give it to another family, since his family is vegetarian. They treat the animals like they’re persons who have feelings and can experience the same things as you and me. In India they show the animals much more respect. This connects closely with what Peter Singer argues in his book Animal Liberation, namely that we need to treat animals with respect on the basis of the principle of equality, since they can feel joy as well as pain.

Do we have to give animals the same rights as humans then? Of course not. It’d be utterly futile to give them a right to vote. So why then did I vote for the Animal Party? Well, several reasons, including my disbelief in our political system and my opinion of our politicians (idiots comes to mind). But apart from that, I also find it our responsibility for animals to be treated fairly and respectably. We have to have laws to do this and to punish the people who abuse animals. Therefore, I voted for the Animal Party.

The way we treat animals shows similarities with racism, like I wrote in an essay of mine a couple of years ago. Racism means you view your race as superior and the whites justified their treatment of the blacks with the argument that the black people where inferior beasts. Today, we treat animals the same way. They’re an inferior species, so they wouldn’t feel what we feel, therefore it’s right to treat them badly. It’s of course utter nonsense. While an animals intellect might be inferior, most of their brain is and thus functions exactly the same as ours.

A cause for this way of thinking is our parents. It’s always nice when you can point the finger at your parents, isn’t it? Most parents teach their children to love animals, yet also teach them to eat meat. However, they make the fatal mistake of not connecting the two with each other. My uncle and aunt recently explained this all to my cousin, who now at age 8 is a vegetarian, since she thinks it’s sad to eat those fluffy animals she loves. I thought it was brilliant. Every parents should offer their child the option to make a conscious choice by educating their kids before forcing them to do something they don’t understand.

If you do want to eat meat, chose it consciously and make it a luxury. It’s not good for you to eat meat every day, have some soy instead, you’ll grow to love it. It’s good for you to eat meat only once a week and if you do have to eat meat every day, try to eat as much fish as possibly. Although I don’t consider people who only eat fish to be vegetarian and don’t eat fish myself.

I do respect people’s decision towards eating meat or not, yet I don’t want to hear the argument: oh, I just eat it because I like it, but it’s so sad for the animals. Think about why you eat meat and if you want to continue eating meat. Make a conscious choice every time you buy meat. And if you do feel sad for the animals, but want to continue eating it, buy free range meat. And would it hurt you to eat a vegetarian burger every once in a while? I can recommend some really nice brands, taste just like chicken or pork!

The actually Oprah show that I watched was about Proposition 2, which the California citizens voted yes on last November. In 2015 this will mean that the meat industry has to use cages that will allow the animals to move around without being harmed. That’s a great development. Also Oprah showed examples of different types of farms in a fairly neutral way, although the free range farms just looked way better. I’m very pleased that they mentioned that gestations crates will be band in Europe by 2012. All these developments show that people are beginning to realise that the way we treat animals is wrong.

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  1. hm. luv it )

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