Friday, June 27, 2014

Please help the animals.

Often, several times a week, the local daily paper will publish stories and/or photos of cruelty or abuse on the front page. Most who are mesmerized by the dominant cultural narrative (viz. the other animals are ours to do with what we want) about our sister and brother Earthlings do not identify these stories as being about cruelty or terror. Even though they are. For instance on Monday of last week there was a story touting a local deli that had a spam cookout to celebrate flag day. Then on Saturday of the same week there was a front page story with photos about a local rodeo.

This sort of incessant drumbeat underscoring and reinforcing that cultural narrative is served up all over the place. A spam cookout and a rodeo, what's so bad about that you ask? Well, if you're an ethical vegan...you probably didn't ask. For those who don't realize it, the 'cookout' involves the murder of innocent pigs and the rodeo involves terrorizing babies (calf-roping) and many other 'events' of enslavement, abuse and sometimes even death.

Both stories are instances of juxtaposing the ideas of fun and entertainment with fear and death...with the fun and entertainment being experienced by the human animals inflicting fear and death on animals who aren't human. It's pleasurable to have "others" killed and then eat the flesh of their bodies. It is a "sport" to terrorize baby animals. Whee, good clean family fun. Sort of a variance of the minstrel show except promoting and reifying speciesism instead of racism. Sadly though, lives are lost in this variation.

I wrote a letter objecting to the rodeo and the glorification of violence...it is difficult to interject any reality in the brain-dead megaphone honking that tends to characterize most forms of corporate media but sometimes letters to the editor manage to do a little of this. The editor reacted by not printing my letter...this happens quite often.

But. Today in the paper a rather poignant letter was printed titled Please Help the Animals. I was glad to see it, very glad, in any given year very few letters are ever printed that take the side of the animals (and most are from me). In a city with almost 100,000 residents...that's really pretty pitiful. It wasn't a letter countering speciesism...but it was asking for kindness and compassion. And by golly, that's a hell of an improvement over celebrating horror.

Write a letter to your editor, write more than one. I was informed recently (after submitting letters for several years) that there's an informal policy here to limit letter writers to no more than one printed per month. Given that almost every daily issue carries some story or stories glossing over barbaric cruelty and oppression toward Earthlings who don't happen to be human...that's not many objections. Twelve per year vs at least three hundred and sixty five (actually more because there is almost always more than one story in each edition that promotes the harming of the targeted Earthlings)...not a very good ratio. But...if others were writing too...and getting printed...that ratio could improve.

Write a letter to your editor, write more than one. Please. And, if you're not living life as an ethical vegan...remember that you're supporting the misery and suffering and death of innocent beings. Don't do that. You can do better...go vegan.

5 comments:

Bea Elliott said...

My paper has instituted such restrictions too. But 300 words once a month is better than the silence that allows the terror to go unchecked.

I'm glad the 67 year old volunteer voiced her plea to help the animals. I'm grateful to anyone who proposes that rare kindness amid the savagery all around us. So many victims. Yes! Please help the animals!

Christine said...

I think it is sad that people simply do not have a realistic perspective regarding our treatment of animals. Though there are many who simply do not care, most people if it is pointed out to them concerning the cruelty behind the two pastimes you mentioned and others like them may change their relationship with animals. Sadly the anachronistic notion of human dominance over non-human animals continues to be prevalent so ingrained is it into our worldview. The more of us who speak out the better, such as you say letters to the editor. Unfortunately I fear we have a long way to go but it’s a beginning, so much has changed in recent years, at one time you would be hard pressed to find an eating establishment that had a vegetarian dish and few had ever heard of veganism which nowadays at least in the UK people are aware of. I do though sometimes despair when shopping with shelves full of food with animal derivatives milk mostly and people just seem not to consider that such products can be produced without the use of milk, it’s all down to habit and not thinking things through. There is petition here in the UK concerning factory farming and the problem with the use of antibiotics and the effect such will have in combating disease if continued overuse through ingestion of meat. The simple and obvious answer of course is stop rearing and slaughtering animals and stop eating meat. An interesting article, thank you.

veganelder said...

Thank you both for commenting Bea and Christine:

Bea: Yes...any plea for the victims of our neglect and indifference is welcome indeed.

Christine: You're welcome. You are correct in that change can be seen, slowly it is happening. It often seems that the simple things take the longest.

Have Gone Vegan said...

Have to admit that about a year ago I made the conscious decision to stop reading the local papers. I live in a small conservative (and still quite rural in some ways) town and the four (4!) papers every week were doing a real number on my blood pressure. I finally decided that it wasn't worth my getting so worked up every time, and that I'd be writing so many letters I could publish my own damn paper, snort.

It feels like turning a blind eye, and I realize that writing letters to the editor is an important thing to do, but I'm going to have to use other advocacy tools in my activist career and leave the letter writing to others. Hey, I like the term activist career. :)

veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting HGV. I wish we had a "local" paper. The newspaper for Norman sold out several years ago to a corporate group based in Alabama. I only view the letters to the editor as a way of sometimes publicizing a different viewpoint. I am well aware, however, that it is read by only a small cohort of mostly old farts like me. None (or few) of the younger generations read the paper at all so in some ways "letters to the editor" have become total anachronisms. I've had 4 responses that I'm aware of to letters over the years and all of those were by people in their 60s or 70s. That's not really the group that's going to have a great influence on the future. The likelihood is high that my reach to others is exceeded both on this blog and on facebook. My clinging to the newspaper thingee maybe only identifies when I was born...way back when newspapers were virtually the only medium of commonly shared information.

Truly, if I were the only one reading the "local" paper...I probably wouldn't anymore...our paper has devolved to a cheerleader for "business" and that's about it (but I have a pardner who's pretty sure we have to get the paper to be "informed"). Plus, there is one reporter here who is...gasp...vegan...and I do enjoy reading her stories (not that she can write about veganism). :-)