I memed! (Please share.)
There is one thing about Trump that was never shocking to me.
For the past ten years, I’ve come across some terrible, terrible things said and done in the process of learning about factory farming and advocating for animals used for food.
Things that are almost too terrible to type. Sadistic things done to animals, just because the workers have power over them, and they can do what they want. I won’t say them here so that you don’t have nightmares. I can say, after over a decade of study, these are not isolated incidents. They are systematic in the industry.
And the industry, “they” say some pretty incredible things. How the caged-up sows are protected in those tiny human-made jails where they can barely move and bite the bars out of boredom. (A majority of life in a cage would be considered cruel for dogs or cats.)
Having read through several animal agriculture industry sites such as the “Agriculture Alliance” I have come across a “tone” shall we say, that can only be described as … Trumpian. From making up bogus “facts,” about their inherently (and often torturous) treatment of animals, to spinning their provision of chemical and cholesterol-ridden animal product as caring about your health, to making good ol’ American Food (being great again) there are traditions behind our consumption of animals that are fed by these patriotic and trumped-up stories.
Objectification and oppression are related. Whether it is the treatment (or, rather, disregard) for other bodies (despite their capacity to suffer) or use and abuse of power over others for our own greed or gain, they are one in the same.
Not doing anything, or continuing to eat them, is taking a side.
The only trouble is, it’s not safe to talk about this.
Your eyes might already be glazing over. Quiet, you crazy vegan. Are your shoes leather? What about the people?
But most of us would care. Do care, if we take a moment to consider them, cuteness aside. These beings, who somehow we’ve collectively decided are okay to take and use for meals, despite their interest in living. At the very least, in not being restrained. Abused in ways you cannot imagine. Transported. Killed. It really is quiet remarkable.
Over the past few months, I’ve been heartened by the number of people who have spoken out about the cruelty inherent in Trump’s ideas and policies. The bans, the racisim, sexism, and so much more. And why do we speak out? Because we think it is wrong to wield power to hurt or restrain others. We want to stop the bully, the bad guy.
And so I know people have the capacity to care for animals, the ultimate beings at our mercy. They are stuck, with no way to revolt, to fight back, to march on their own behalf.
What can we do?
For starters, not eat them. Cut back at first if it’s tricky for you. Try Meatless Monday. Then take it to Tuesday. Why not Wednesday? Think about Thursday. (You get it.)
If you’re having trouble caring about these animals locked away, then maybe you are concerned about the planet your kids will inherit, or your parrot with a long lifespan.
The EPA cut got you down? One of the biggest cause of greenhouse gasses is the raising of animals for food (see Cowspiracy for more). In fact, experts say the world will need to transition toward plant-based power to survive.
There are organizations working to change the plight of animals, like the Humane League, Vegan Outreach, Mercy for Animals, the Humane Society. We can give to them. Also of note are clever orgs who realize we need to make it easier to choose plant-based foods that satisfy, like the Good Food Institute, Memphis Meats, and Hampton Creek.
It’s not about labeling one another “vegetarian” or “vegan.” Every meal is a choice, whatever you call yourself.
Just don’t call me Rump.