“Why are you a vegetarian?”
Perhaps the question that should be asked is, “why do you eat animals?”
“In the U.S. alone, we kill more than 9 billion land animals every year for flesh and secretions we have no need to consume. Globally, nearly 60 billion animals are slaughtered every year. It is impossible to fathom such numbers. But one by one by one by one, in a never-ending, brutal stream, every second of every day animals are peering through the slats of transport trucks, feeling the last sunlight of their lives (which is very possibly also the first); one by one, every second of every day, entering the kill chute of the slaughterhouse and walking those final steps, defenseless and innocent; one by one looking up at the last human face they will ever see— and no kindness, no mercy comes.” – PETA
PETA is a good starting point for looking at the “animal industrial complex”¹ – the use of animals for food, fashion, medical experiments. It is of course a complex and often emotional topic, but certainly one which at very least demands more than indifference.
References and further reading:
The footage below is not graphic:
Saddest Slaughterhouse Footage Ever Shows No Blood Or Slaughter
CAUTION: GRAPHIC FOOTAGE
PETA go undercover to provide inside view of ostrich abattoir
Horrific Slaughterhouse Footage: Cattle’s Heads Smashed In With Sledgehammers
PETA Reveals Extreme Cruelty at Kosher Slaughterhouses:
Ducks Kicked, Slammed Against Walls for Meat and Down
PETA is just the beginning; if you are interested in a more detailed analysis of ‘the problem with meat’, there is an excellent book by David A Nibert: Animal oppression and human violence: Domesecration(1), capitalism and Global conflict.
(David A. Nibert. New York: Columbia University Press, 2013. 352 pp., notes, index. $29.50 paper (ISBN 9780231151894); $89.50 cloth (ISBN 9780231151887).
A review by Taylor & Francis Online:
(1) “Animal Oppression & Human Violence, by David A. Nibert, is a provocative counterhistory of the domestication of nonhuman animals, the rise of capitalism, and the violent oppression of humans and other animals. The work challenges dominant narratives that characterize domestication as a feature of historical and contemporary human–animal relations celebrated for its role in the presumed success of human evolution and technological innovation. Nibert offers a different reading of this process, renaming it “domesecration” to highlight the violent role of domestication in colonizing not only the bodies and lives of other animals, but also indigenous peoples around the globe. Contemporary global injustice and inequality, he says, stem from this history of domesecration.
Animal Oppression & Human Violence is a profoundly important book and should be widely read and discussed. It is a book that easily transcends disciplinary boundaries and international borders and has relevance for a diverse set of scholars of social justice and inequality. Nibert urges us to confront the way oppression of, and violence against, humans and other species are intertwined as a critical step in working toward a more just and peaceful world. Thus, understanding and taking seriously multispecies violence should inform not only our intellectual projects of knowledge making, but also our political and ethical commitments in how we ought to live our lives in a multispecies world.