Bit of an opinion piece today. Something that both makes me feel warm inside but also frustrated and confused.
I saw a story the other day about a king cobra snake in India entering a village, believed to be due to dehydration as the area was in drought, a villager gave the snake water from a bottle. The snake readily accepted it. It makes me feel happy inside seeing humans helping animals and giving something to them.
Similarly I’m not sure if you have seen the video of swans who have managed to get tangled together paddling to a river bank towards humans for help, who gladly did. They actually see the humans and realise they need help so swim to them. It shows the trust they are putting into us humans.
Same with videos of people on beaches helping fish and dolphins get back into the water. (I get slightly disappointed when it’s filmed in selfie mode as it means the animal suffers more while the person gets the shot to spike their social media accounts).
More likely than not, these people will rescue the animal then go and eat a burger or steak or fish. It’s that confusing and hypocritical nature that boggles my mind. It also shows that our natural instinct is to help others in need. Regardless of species.
Most people walking down a high street would be the same, if they saw a man about to stab a pig they’d want to rescue the pig. Hell, they’d probably even pay to save them. But if they went vegan, they could save so so many animals every single day without paying a penny.
I think the issue is two fold. It’s scale and connection. The connection is most common, people don’t have connections with their food and that’s sadly normal due to marketing and presentation. People freak out seeing a feather in a chicken burger or a nipple on belly pork, showing that they don’t want to be reminded that what they are eating actually comes from an innocent being. Our “food” is often hidden so much, with exceptions of Fish and Poultry. Even then, chickens have their heads, feet, innards, beaks and feathers removed. Fish we are told don’t feel pain so we don’t care when we see it laid on the plate. But these animals feel pain. The sooner people can understand that and see them for what they are, living feeling beings, the sooner they will make the switch. How many times do you hear people saying they couldn’t kill an animal. How many times do people walk past a field and “aww” at the cows, sheep, lambs etc. The plates of meat people consume had faces, had hearts, they had family and feelings.
The scale reason I think is something we may not always realise but are at least aware of and maybe even guilty of ourselves in different ways. We hear the numbers of casualties in an attack and it can be almost numbing. 10000 people dead is a hard number to get our heads around. 10000 people is hard to picture when presented like that. Whereas 5 people is something we can envisage sitting around a table together. It’s almost as if we can draw a connection to a smaller number, a kind of intimacy about being able to see those individuals even though we don’t know them. It’s the same with animals. People will happily help a single animal. They’d even give up their water during drought, they’d give money, they’d put themselves at risk for one animal. But would go away and contribute to the death of many many more but feel good about the one they saved and the subsequent likes and retweets/shares etc.
What are your opinions on this? Do you feel it hypocritical and confusing?
Do you think it’s a double standard? Do you think it’s normal and natural?
Btw, I am not having a go at the people that help animals in need, before I was vegan I have helped them but still eaten them, but wondering the view of others.