Animal-rights activists do a great job at protecting animals from being killed for their fur, their meat and any other part that companies nowadays have creatively used in our daily products, as well as the cruelty of animal-testing. However, there is one thing that has bothered me for quite some time, and I wish to address it here. As much as I agree that protecting animals from being killed and mistreated is needed, there is much more than that to think about.
First, I have heard many times that killing an animal is wrong from vegetarians that use incredible amounts of dairy in their food. Even though this site is for vegans, I have to say that I have seen a few vegetarians writing here, convinced that their milk and cheese is karmically-free of negative feedback. Some of those that still consume dairy reply, when I ask them why they still do it, that cows must be milked or their udders will be painful, and that we are doing them a favour by emptying them of their milk. What I don’t understand is that they are mammals, and being mammals, can’t give milk unless they have given birth… and these vegetarians seem to have completely forgotten the most basic part of their elementary school biology classes. Furthermore, these poor beasts are enslaved to give us their sought-out beverage that is meant for their babies, not us. We shouldn’t be drinking another species’ milk; it’s just not natural. Now, although this is not the majority, there are still a few that haven’t understood this principle and are baffled when I tell them about it.
As for vegans, even though they are doing the planet and all its inhabitants an enormous favour by not consuming any animal by-products, I continue meeting vegans who replace their clothes and food with dangerous synthetics and poisonous chemicals. Going vegan does not mean stuffing yourself with chemically-produced veggie meats and wearing fake furs made of polyester. Using these products do as much damage to farm animals, wildlife and their homes as passing the knife yourself on their throats. Take, for example, polyester. This is a by-product of petroleum oil that has been converted to be used for clothes, shoes, carpets and any other item that needs to be relatively soft and malleable. However, the controversy surrounding petroleum oil is often exclusively directed at the transportation industry. This should not be the case as several others depend on it, and the air is far from being the only environmental area affected by it. Nowadays, with drilling becoming riskier by the day, the number of spills is increasing drastically and both humans and animals are being affected by it. Drinking water is at risk, cancer rates are shooting through the roof, not to mention the exposure those cleaning up the spills have to face. And, how many pictures of oil-covered birds do we need to see to understand the danger posed by this product? When are people going to realise the need for change?
This is only a drop in the sea of problems surrounding the environment of the planet and its inhabitants. Everything we do can be changed to make things better, from cutting down on the quantity of objects purchased to reading labels more carefully and informing ourselves as to the nature of the item we are purchasing. Thank goodness there are some good lists to go by, such as the different Greenpeace Consumer Guides, to help us through this maze of uncertainty. Click here to see an example.
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Image credit: Tobias Akerboom (at hutmeelz)