The latest animal welfare news to hit press relates to horse meat being present in beef burgers at Tesco’s, there have been many outraged complaints from people who are concerned that they may have eaten horse instead of beef! As I listened to the article I started asking myself why?
I have also been reading about the planned slaughter of whales by the Japanese, I had downloaded the minutes of a meeting between interested countries and parties and what hit me most was the gulf between the views of the animal welfare /environmental lobby, the whalers and other commercial participants.
One comment stuck in my mind from the Japanese perspective which was “why should whaling be seen as anything different to the farming of any other animals” the Japanese feel that they are being treated unfairly and that the animal welfare groups use emotional blackmail to put pressure on them to change their practices.
I am not in favour of eating horse whale or in fact any other sentient being but I can see a certain hypocritical aspect to some elements within the animal welfare community. Unless we can truly say that our personal actions do no harm to animals do we have we the right to criticize the actions of some sectors of the farming community whilst supporting others?
Is it crueller to kill a baby dolphin then a chick or a lamb, is the distress any less? Many people are happy to eat a range of farmed animals inured from the realities of the process involved in the treatment and killing of their food whilst decrying the actions of whale and dolphin slaughterers.
There could be an argument to say that at least whales and dolphins had a natural life before falling foul of their executioners whilst many farmed lives live in abject misery before becoming our food.
The problem as I see it is to do with lack of self-motivation and apathy, we live in a society where we are encouraged to take the easy route through life, millions of pounds/dollars are spent every year on marketing meat products in such a way that we are shielded from the reality of the consequences of our actions, and it is not only the animals that are suffering, in the UK alone over 50% of the population is obese and the production of meat to feed the millions takes a staggering toll on the environment.
And what do we do when we have produced all this food? We throw away or waste over 50% around the World!
And it is not just our requirements for food that cause problems for the animal species on this planet, our love of pets and our use of animals for sport and recreation causes a great deal of misery, neglect and disrespect for animal life.
Many people will say “if we make small steps we will eventually solve the problem” but if you think about it how can you help solve a problem if you are part of it? Also by attacking certain parts of the farming community whilst supporting others we undermine our own principles lessening the value of our arguments. We all need to become less polarised and in many cases put our own houses in order before attacking others.
Like most things in life the responsibility for animal welfare and most other matters of concern with our planet lie not with large corporations, government or other bodies who we can conveniently blame for the atrocities they commit, but with us the consumers of animal products, the users of resources, the need that feeds the demand.
The consumer dictates what the corporations produce for us although they will try and sway our choices. If enough people gave up using animal products and demanded more animal/environmental friendly solutions then someone would produce them, because in the end it comes down to supply and demand.
Ok so this “Utopia” is a long way off but for me unless I am clear about what my objectives are now how can I work towards my long term goal? And of course my Utopia is another person’s hell, as a reader you need to decide where your life values lead you.
If you want to be “animal friendly” then don’t do it piece meal, embrace the whole philosophy and make those changes to your lifestyle that if emulated by us all would make a real and genuine difference. The benefits of an animal friendly diet do not stop at ending the suffering for animals, you should also benefit from a healthier lifestyle and significant financial savings.
Over the next couple of months I will be publishing articles that go into how you can benefit including;
- The advantages of an Animal Friendly diet
- An AF meal planner
- Saving money eating AF
And a survey designed to find out our true AF credentials
I look forward to hearing your comments on this post