Another brilliant and insightful commentary by Armory contributor Marcia Mueller.
by Marcia Mueller
While some people have condemned animal abuse since before the birth of Christ (Pythagoras, Mahavira, and Buddha, all living in the 6th century BC) it continues.
In America a law was in 1641 to forbid “Tirranny or Crueltie” toward domestic animals, but it obviously did little good. Attempts to pass laws in earnest began in 1800 in the UK, when members of Parliament wrote bills against abuse of bulls and other farm/draft animals, most of which went down to defeat in their first votes.
Now, in 21st century America, slaughterhouse deaths have soared into the billions to fill two of humanity’s strongest drives— the quests for profit and pleasure. Big Ag is one of the world’s wealthiest industries for owners and CEOs. Big Ag provides tens of thousands of jobs to fill consumers’ demand for bacon and cheeseburgers, although many vegan alternatives are readily available. McDonald’s and KFC are metastasizing around the globe as developing countries aspire to the European/American lifestyle.
The animals get no help from Religion, which posits an unbridgeable gulf between the worth of human beings (infinite) and animals (dollars and cents). So animal lives are sacrificed for the greater good of “Man.”
But come to think of it, would religious condemnation of animal slaughter and abuse create more vegans? Churches have preached for centuries against killing, adultery/fornication, lying, stealing, and coveting other people’s spouses and possessions, along with all the minor infractions the commandments include. How well have we done with that? Basically, we are a flawed species. It is just unfortunate for the rest of creation that we’re the most powerful one.
Which keeps bringing me back to one of my favorite sayings of Farley Mowat: “I don’t like saying this, but I think we’re a bad species and the sooner we get off the planet the better.”
Well, Mr. Mowat, I think you’ll get your wish! We’re been damaging the earth and its animal inhabitants with our behavior one way or another since our humble beginnings. Now we’re denying all the harm we’ve done and still do. We’re well on our way to our own eventual doom. But for the animals’ sake it would be better sooner rather than later.