“But, what are you doing for THE PEOPLE? Let’s focus on the well-being of our own kind and get to animals later.”
This will most likely come from people who are doing nothing. Donating zero dollars to human rights organizations. Spending zero minutes of their day in soup kitchens and food banks. You will get these questions from people who don’t even bother to recycle. While it’s very easy to turn around and smugly ask what they are doing to make the world a better place, it’s more productive to talk about how parallel human and animals rights really are. Let’s break it down.
Let’s talk about the most basic human right. Food. Nearly one billion people will suffer from hunger and malnutrition every single day. Every year, hunger claims the lives of over 2.5 million children under the age of five. Many of these children live in countries where their land is used up and their grains are exported to feed cattle in more developed countries. While there is enough food being grown to feed the world’s population, more than one third is currently feeding livestock.
If you’re thinking you’re off the hook because you only eat grass-fed beef, you are wrong. In fact, we are wiping out massive chunks of rain forest to make room for grazing cattle. While the process of chopping down trees releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the trees that would have been there to help remove the carbon dioxide are gone, and on top of that, we are filling that area with cattle, who continuously release methane into the atmosphere.
Meat production, any way you do it, is an environmental nightmare. Abstaining from meat is the most effective thing we can do, as individuals, to fight global warming. Every human being has the right to live free of the effects of global warming, natural disasters, drought, poor air quality, and all around poor health.
Meat Industry Employees
When we go vegan, we generally think of the animals and their suffering. It’s easy to demonize the employees of the meat industry who, for a living, aid in the suffering and kill sentient beings. The fact is, over thirty percent of these workers are undocumented immigrants, working long hours for low wages, in extremely dangerous conditions and in constant fear of being replaced and deported. Many take extreme measures to avoid slowing down production such as defecating in their pants or on factory equipment.
While we frequently talk about how aware and scared the animals are, we forget about the workers who spend their days taking life after life after life, and wind up with symptoms similar to PTSD. Additionally, multiple studies have found that these workers are more susceptible to cancer, particularly lung and blood cancers, thought to be caused by exposure to animal blood and feces. If this job sounds like a stain on humanity, that’s because it is.
Animal rights and human rights are not mutually exclusive. Animal liberation IS human liberation. Veganism is the refusal to participate in the exploitation of the vulnerable and this idea will always, always be extended to humans.