VEGANISM and ANIMAL SUFFERING: Talk About Outrage—the response to the article is more revealing than the article

There’s an article in Salon.com called Don’t have a cow! with the byline Famous animal lover Jeffrey Moussaieff Masson, the author of “The Face on Your Plate,” talks about why you should consider giving up the burgers—and the fromage.

That’s it. Masson talks about the suffering of animals that we should at least be aware of. He actually says there is no way this society will ever give up, for example, cheese. I would have thought for a high percentage of people, more awareness of the horrendous treatment of animals in massive factory farms would have been relevant, even desired. Alas, not really. At least not with most who commented.

And of course Masson knows the world can’t be vegetarian, let alone vegan. Too many climates and economic constraints don’t allow it (let alone personal desires and bodily needs). And, yes, in the West vegetarianism is a privileged choice. But that has nothing to do with the suffering of probably tens of millions of animals (and the negative effects on health and the environment), everyday, pervasively and relentlessly, that could be lessened.

And don’t forget that in the West, children under ten or twelve or whatever not having to work is a right, but compared to the poorest countries, also somehow a privilege. That is also, most would agree, a good thing.

Masson is pointing out that precisely like our cats and dogs, whom we would never (or seldom!) eat, pigs, cows and even chickens and fish, also have emotions and feel intense pain. In the case of pigs and cows, deep pain.

The mental effects of the factory farm/slaughterhouse cycle is brutal in every way (probably on most workers, too)—including to the environment, evidently, with waste and badly used land and so on. Rats, for example, are shown to be far more likely to become addicted under confined, uncomfortable, unnatural conditions. Why should rats care? Maybe they feel.

Again, what was so shocking are the comments. People are outraged and furious at what he’s saying. I couldn’t believe the animosity, no pun intended. So many seem to be shouting so loudly, it’s like they’re trying to drown out what he’s saying about suffering.

It reminds me of what Chomsky said in an interview about the psychology behind something like colonialism.

The psychology behind this is kind of transparent. When you’ve got your boot on someone’s neck and you’re crushing them, you can’t say to yourself, “I’m a son of a bitch and I’m doing it for my own benefit.” So what you have to do is figure out some way of saying, “I’m doing it for their benefit.” It’s like when you punish a child. “It is for your good, I have to do it. It is my responsibility.”

Some in the comments just say this is the way of the world, eat or be eaten. By a chicken? By a man-eating cow? And anyway, we’re human, from which comes the word humane. Is the degree of suffering necessary? Does it not matter?

And of course there is a difference between a dog or a pig and a cabbage. From a humane point of view, the difference, as far as humans can ascertain, is the degree of pain a dog or pig clearly feels under abject conditions. We have no real idea if a plant actually experiences pain. Geezuz. Sad, man. People probably once believed slaves didn’t feel as their ‘enlightened’ masters did.

The comments in and of themselves, and extrapolated to other possibilities, are disconcerting, to say the least—but perhaps show what happens when the most basic instincts/needs of food/shelter/tribalism etc are questioned. An aspect of human nature is deeply revealed. But before anyone gets too depressed, it is good to remember also how beautiful and noble and evolving humans and human nature is and can be.

This, for me, is always cause for hope, and makes every next step an opportunity.

The article is here. The comments are here. What do you think?

Much love, and pity the animals, whose pain can barely even be heard about—without a massive backlash—let alone lessened. May at least health and environmental concern lead us to cut back on meat a little—and suffering as a by-product…

Lots of love,

Pete xoxo

I went back and looked at some more comments. My jaw is on the ground. It’s shocking to me. One after another…

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One Response to “VEGANISM and ANIMAL SUFFERING: Talk About Outrage—the response to the article is more revealing than the article”

  1. Sam says:

    I think the least any meat-eating person can do is visit a slaughterhouse, or a commercial chicken farm, and then decide if they still want to purchase product from these places. For myself, as soon as I read about and saw a few films about the profound suffering of factory-farmed animals, the decision to become vegan was simple: I couldn’t get the sound and visuals of it out of my mind and I could no longer support what I saw as inhumane, utterly torturous violence towards innocent creatures.

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