So it turns out that lobsters, octopus, prawns, crabs, squid etc probably do feel pain. This article was recently published in the New Scientist and suggests that all of these animals not only feel pain but some of them feel it more acutely than humans do.
But do people care? Will everyone who read the latest evidence in the New Scientist or all of you reading this blog post now, finish reading this and then vow to stop eating these animals? No, most won’t according to what history shows us. Not until the vegan movement gathers a lot more momentum and swells to much bigger numbers. Why not? I don’t understand why otherwise kind, caring, compassionate people don’t change their behaviour once they’ve discovered that that behaviour causes pain and suffering to innocent sentient animals. We’re not talking about political allegiance or tastes in music or something that is inconsequential in terms of pain and suffering. We are talking about a global genocide that is causing billions of animals every year to endure immense abuse, pain and suffering. Is that how incapable we are of thinking for ourselves, of acting upon proven facts, of swimming against the tide, of challenging the status quo? It makes me feel so sad and angry and disappointed. But more than that it baffles me. I’m not any more compassionate than anyone else. I don’t love animals any more than anyone else? I don’t enjoy seeing an animal suffer any more or less than anyone else I doubt. We all have the same reaction when we see an animal in pain – we empathise enormously and will do everything we can to stop it’s suffering. So why the massive blind spot when it comes to eating animals and animal products? Is it ignorance? It is fear? I think we all know deep down that the process by which meat gets to our plates cannot be a wholly pleasant one. But somehow we deem it worthwhile for the pleasure of taste and the fear of change. So we do everything we can to remain ignorant and hide behind pathetic justifications such as ‘but we’ve always eaten meat’ (and? we’ve also always enslaved other people and raped and pillaged our way around the world – it doesn’t mean it’s okay!) and ‘we need it for protein’ (no you do NOT).
The second I discovered what happens to the billions of male chicks born each year I vowed to never eat eggs again. As soon as I discovered that I didn’t need to eat meat of any kind in order to eat a healthy, full and balanced diet I vowed to never be responsible for the slaughter of another pig, cow, duck, chicken, sheep, lamb or chicken. I just the same way as when I discovered how foie gras was made I vowed never to eat it again. As soon as I discovered what veal was I vowed never again to eat it. As soon as i discovered the life cycle of a dairy cow I vowed to never eat dairy again. As soon as I discovered the human rights abuses committed by Primark I vowed never to shop there again. As soon as I discovered the environmental ruin that Nestle is causing around the world I vowed never to buy their products again. Why doesn’t everyone else. Ignorance is a good enough answer if you really didn’t know. But once you do know – what excuse do you have to continue to perpetuate the problem?
I’m bored of being polite and saying oh well some people don’t want to offend others or stand out from the crowd or be the objects of ridicule. It’s not good enough. Do better. We all need to be better. How can we pretend to preach the values of right and wrong to our children if we ourselves are knowingly perpetrating these cruel acts of needless violence and suffering day in and day out. Enough.
Please stop eating and exploiting animals. No more excuses.