MEAT IS MORE THAN JUST MURDER

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I don’t believe in any deities, so I don’t view eating meat as an act of fulfilling my sovereign dominion over this earth. I see it as it is: determining something’s value by weighing it against another, instead of evaluating it as a stand-alone entity.

By this I mean that humans view animals as being inferior life forms because you (I refuse to be a part of such) compare them to yourselves.

You tally your most insignificant traits and use them as a yardstick to measure the integrity of other beings’ lives. And when they fall short, you use that to justify their destruction. Racism is another example of this.

What I find most offensive is how bothered people are by the abuse of domestic animals yet they still eat meat with great delight.

People who say that they love animals but eat meat are full of shit. If you’ve spent time on a farm or interacted with farm animals, you’ll know that dogs and cats aren’t the only animals with personalities and they certainly aren’t the only intelligent animals.

I’ve seen a cow play fetch and a sheep jump through hoops. The only reason they aren’t pets is because their size makes it impractical. How can you be outraged by dolphin tuna but enjoy lamb? This is where that weighing of life comes in.

How exactly did people come to the conclusion that certain animals are too sacred to be eaten but others aren’t? Furthermore, what gave them, being animals themselves, the right to make such decisions? Look at yourselves, you rape and kill each other, you don’t even respect your own lives. I come from a family that slaughters in times of celebration and despair. When someone passes away, an animal is killed. And what for? So that the deceased has a companion?

My dad and uncles once slaughtered a goat (nanny) when I was about ten. She spent the day before her death in the courtyard outside our kitchen, where I kept her company. It took effort and persuasion to get her comfortable with my presence, but by the end of the night I was feeding her dog pellets and had named her Mildred (she was a distinguished goat).

Watching the blood gush from her neck and hearing her cries is a torture I could never describe. I looked into her eyes and saw the same fear that was in my eyes, years later, when I was in a car accident, I watched her try to escape my father’s firm grasp in vain, I watched her fight to live till all the life had been drained from her body.

“I can’t weigh lives against each other and decide that one is more or less important than the other…”

You can’t tell me that animals don’t have feelings. They may not be able to verbalise any objections to their deaths, but that struggle is indicative of thought and emotions. Not comparable to ours but we don’t exactly slit the throats of all stupid people in society. Although that shook me, I continued to eat meat. Just not Mildred.

The struggle of the animal that provided the burger was too far removed from me. Between the ages of sixteen and seventeen I finally became a vegetarian, after failing many times. My family always had pets and I went through rabbits, fish and hamsters but it was only when I got my own dogs that I began to respect the value of life.

Unlike the other dogs, they were solely my responsibility. I was in charge of giving them love and keeping them alive and healthy. It was no longer possible to separate Mildred from Princess Bella and Bona (and now Neshika).

Meat isn’t a vital part of sustaining life, so eating it just for the taste is no longer a good enough reason. My choice not to eat meat (because there are cruelty-free alternatives) is often met by smartass remarks like: “animals eat meat” and “if we didn’t eat meat, the world would be overpopulated by cows”. Such clever creatures.

Yes, carnivorous animals eat meat. Their bodies have no other way of functioning, ours do. Besides, if you find yourself physically, emotionally and spiritually comparable to a lion, you should consider speaking to a professional.

The meat you eat doesn’t occur naturally, it’s farmed. You (humans) have become so greedy that you manipulate nature. You have become so arrogant that you feel it is within your rights to create life only to snuff it. You have decided that even before a life comes into existence it is insignificant. I can’t believe any deity intended that. If the state of the world is any indication of the respect humans have for life, it’s really no surprise that you eat meat.

I can’t weigh lives against each other and decide that one is more or less important than the other. I don’t think it’s my place to do so. By eating meat you are saying that you can.

Own it. Don’t feel honourable when signing petitions to save whales knowing that you’ve tasted crocodile meat; don’t be saddened by the conditions of the SPCA when you don’t care that chickens are kept in such tiny coops that they aren’t able to develop properly; don’t you dare call yourself an animal lover when you only care about the animals that haven’t been served garnished to you.

Don’t stop eating meat on my account, just own your malevolence. Because that’s exactly what it is.

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