Monday, December 13, 2010

An absence of compassion......

....isn't the problem, according to an interesting bit of writing over at the We Other Animals blog. I suspect there is some truth to this. The post makes the point that there is plenty of publicity about the cruelty involved in human animals using their fellow animals. Most human folks obviously know that eating other animals involves killing them and killing is not generally a happy or pleasant or pleasurable event....especially for the one being killed. The taking of a life is against the will of the victim and this is not anything a non-delusional being could characterize as kind or least not for the victim.

No, ignorance of cruelty or pleasure in cruelty isn't the problem. The problem is that most human people seem to think they have a right to use other animal people. If a human animal wants to kill and eat another animal person...ok. If a human animal wants to enslave another animal person and make him or her pull their plow or their carriage for a ride in park...ok. If a human animal wants to steal the milk of a mother cow, milk she produces to nourish her baby...ok. If a human animal wants to kill another animal and tear their skin off so they can wear a piece of it on their head, or back, or feet....ok. If a human animal wants to terrify a baby cow into running from them and then jerk the baby cow off of their feet and tie them up....ok.....and on and on and on.

By the way, none....absolutely none of the aforementioned activities are necessary for a human animal to live.  Food, transportation, labor, clothing, entertainment....all these can be obtained for human animals without involving the exploitation or participation of animals that are not human.

The problem seems to be this sense that a human animal is entitled to pretty much do anything they want to in respect to an animal that is not human.

Except, and this is a curious and strange (when considered) exception, some furor and dismay is generated if a human animal has sex with an animal that doesn't happen to be human. By sex I meant some human animal is doing some activity with that non-human animal that which results in sexual pleasure for the human animal.

I am not referring to the routinized horror of the raping of cow animals and pig animals and horse animals that is called "artificial insemination".....which is done to make some sort of benefit or profit for a human animal.

No, I am writing about activity which is recognized as bringing sexual pleasure to a human animal.....that will get you in hot water quickly.

Is this not curious? Killing some other animal for pleasure is ok (called "hunting") but having sex with some other animal for pleasure will get you jail time or maybe hospital time. You can do anything else to the other animal you want (just about) but you better not do something that can be identified as involving sexual pleasure. (As an aside, if you were a cow animal and were forced to choose between being raped or being killed and eaten...what would you opt for?)

The principle issue is that most human animals believe they have the right to use other living beings, most any old way they want.

It is curious, we recognize (generally) that it is not ok to walk into our neighbors house and kill them and eat them if we are hungry, it is not ok to tear their skin off and wear it on our head if we think it would be attractive. We recognize it is not ok to take their children away from them and lock the kids up in cages so we can stare at them for pleasure. 

We recognize those activities to be bad, wrong, long as our neighbor is identified as a sentient being belonging to the species of animal we call human. If they (woe be unto them) happen to belong to a species we identify as a "non-human" animal species....then all bets are off. (except for the sex thingee I mentioned)

Even though, those animals that happen to not be human, have feelings, have families, love their children, have friends, cringe in fear, scream in terror, like to play, feel joy in living, fight to avoid being hurt or killed....even though they are just like matter......human animals believe they have a right to do most any thing they want to those animals they say are not human.

Therein lies the problem.


Murph's mom said...

'Tis true, all of it. No one could argue with what you said. They might try, but deep down they know you are right. (rodeos make me puke btw)So much of my time and energy is spent in tryng to undo the harm that humans have heaped on the bunnies. But the harm done to domesticated pet bunnies is just a drop in the bucket of atrocities against animals. The more I learn the further back I go into this secluded 6 acres. One of the things that halts me in this retreat is the knowledge that there are people like you and the growing group of readers that visit you. In a recent discussion about the animals' ablility to size up a human and that person's worthiness we shared stories of these mysteries. It fascinates me that in a busy college town like the one you live in - with regular, loud football games, parties that follow, traffic, etc.- that injured coyote youngsters take refuge in your yard, huge flocks of robins and cardinals sleep in your trees, turtles winter over in your wife's flower bed and who knows what else rests there. There are many busy avenues and hazardous intersections to navigate to get to your neighborhood. How do they know where to go? It is the same with Willie B's parents. They have nightly visitations from opossum, raccoon, skunks and others. It is a very small backyard right in the middle of one of the busiest parts of your town. But it is secluded with a tall wooden fence, access to the crawlspace under the house and apparently well publicized with the animal kingdom. I just find it intriguing that the animals know who is okay. It is not easy, even for us humans, to determine 'who is okay'. Humans are scary, scary people. But the animals know things, things that are mysterious and wondrous. I see it played out in the bunnies every day in some way or another. They keep me off guard and in the dark most of the time. My only advantage is the fact that I have thumbs, and that doesn't always help either.

veganelder said...

What a great comment Murph's mom! I totally agree that we that think we know, know so little compared to those we see as "dumb". Wonder, mystery and magic are gifted to us constantly by the "dumb" ones...and we so often fail to see or notice or feel it.

Thumbs are probably overrated seeing as how many of us (most often me!) have those thumbs stuck up what we sit on. :-)

So I'm Thinking Of Going Vegan said...

human animals believe they have a right to do most any thing they want to those animals they say are not human.

Therein lies the problem.

Exactly. This reminds me of something my SIL said last week when in talking about a cat she stressed "Yes, but we have to remember that it's an animal, and NOT a person." My SIL is definitely compassionate and horrified by what she would classify as animal cruelty, and yet. But I think she's representative of the vast majority of people who would view the term "animal person" as an oxymoron, and by trying to widen the distance between human animals and non-human animals as much as possible (e.g. by saying "it" when talking about them), it further reinforces their belief that it's okay to use/abuse other species.

So while reading the section on animal sexual use it occurred to me that maybe part of the furor for some could be that the idea of being sexual with animals blurs the line a bit between "human" and "animal" and once you start narrowing that gap it might throw into question the right of use. Then again, sexual activity IS use (and without consent a crime), so I guess we can throw out that theory!

veganelder said...

Thanks for commenting SITOGV. I suspect you are correct that the strictures re human animal sexual activity vis a vis non-human animal has to do with line blurring...which scares folks deeply.

I am not advocating such...because it is as abhorrent as child sexual abuse...and for much the same reasons.....but....curious indeed that the legal system will crash down on someone having sex with an animal that happens to be not human but will do nothing...nay the culture will assist you in profiting from killing an animal that is not a human animal.

What a curious bunch of conflicted, confused goobers we are. And that would be ok except our fellow animals have to pay the price for our willful blindness.

Bea Elliott said...

This is certainly a twisted position we've put ourselves in... We can use animals in every way and it is socially acceptable - except the one that might make our own (base) instincts more "animal-like".

I've never really examined this particular quirk in our dissonance... Even though it's a repulsive subject I really have to give it more thought. I might start with the word that shows our arrogance and our need to control animal's sexuality, yet exclude ourselves from the actual act: "husbandry".

This word and all it's implications, in regards to dairy cows, disturbed me so much I wrote a short piece on the subject if you care to see:

But as I said... The idea of "sex" with an animal remaining the only official taboo is really mind boggling. And an even more telling curiosity is with the general (male) fascination in "wild" animal programs that show the mating rituals of elephants, hippos, rhinos, etc. My experience has been that (most) men can hardly take their eyes off the screen... Perhaps this is a deep rooted, repressed desire for true freedom? Perhaps this is the crux of our envy (and therefore abuse) to nonhumans? They are so perfect without us. (?)

veganelder said...

Thanks Bea for commenting. Indeed, they are perfect without us...and us...when we manage to have some influence over them...mostly make it worse for them.

I read your post and agree totally that "There is nothing kind or gentle in the raising or eating of animals... We don't need to do this." No we don't and the animals do not need us to do it either.

Let me know the results of your continued thinking about the sex thingee. Bizarre indeed it is that it is acceptable to kill but not to have sex with. What a piece of work we are.

Krissa said...

Oh how far behind I am... can't get into email right now, but had some surprise news earlier this week that my husband's dad went into the hospital so I never did get to start catching up because it's been quite a week. I am going to be going through your posts, but if it's too late after the fact to publish comments, I understand. I'll send them anyway. ... As I was reading this one I was thinking as you were mentioning all the things humans feel justified in doing to other animals and I was thinking about how outraged people get when they hear about a chimp attacking a human, or a dog attacking a human, or a raccoon, etc. ect. ect. and also the "let's kill every shark we see around "our" beaches" if someone has gone into the sharks' home and been attacked. Not to mention how humans kick Native animals out of their homes when building new housing for our own kind. I would never even have thought about the fact that some humans rape animals and that is the place where other humans draw the line. So true. But the rest is our right. And I don't think the rape is even an outrage to them as far as being against the victim - it's 'against God'. All the rest of the things done to them are just as repugnant. It is truly sad that not only do most humans not see our true place in nature, we've actually gone far enough away from it as a species to have damaged it forever. Some of the damage we've done (contributing to extinctions, altering genetics) can't even be fixed. And there would have to be a desire to fix it first of all. Sigh. Such a mess. And so much to think about. ... I'll slowly be catching up. Wishing you and yours a peaceful, loving holiday. (I am not anti-Christmas, but I do think that organized religion has been the biggest factor in making humans think that we are above all other creatures...and I somehow find myself almost always saying 'holidays' instead of Christmas. I should just go with Happy Festivus. :)

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Krissa, sorry for the problems you've been facing.

Whatever systems that support some notion that human animals are outside of..or superior to...nature bear deep and sustained scrutiny. Mainly because they are erroneous.

And you are likely correct in that some damage may be irreparable.

Happy Festivus back to you. :-)