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Love Animals? Or Love to Eat Animals?

Love Animals? Or Love to Eat Animals?

It is very common for me to hear people profess to be “animal lovers.”

They will go on and on about how they simply adore all animals and how fascinated they are by every species. Few people who claim to be animal lovers deny that all animals have emotions. In fact, it is this very trait of being capable of emotions, much like ourselves, which endears many people to non-human animals.

Being an outspoken activist for the rights and liberties of animals, what I find quite troubling is when a self-proclaimed “animal lover” eats the creatures they profess to “love.”

That the word “love” is as subjective as it is — and as open to one’s own definition — is the root of my dismay at such individuals’ actions. 

Of course there are many different types of love. The love you feel for your spouse or partner is different from the love you feel for your friends. And that love may be different from the love you feel for your companion animal, such as a dog or cat. So as to not be mired in arguments over differing types of love, I am simply going to focus on the love we humans share with other animals.

My personal definition of love leaves no room for the killing and consuming of another being.

The love and affection we share with the non-human animals in our lives is undeniable. Although it may be argued the love is one-sided, many people have experienced the remarkable companionship and emotional connectedness we are capable of sharing with other species.

We have the ability to see ourselves in other creatures, to read their emotions to the best of our ability, and to empathize with them.

I do not doubt the love people have for their pets, but when someone says they love animals, yet still eat meat and support the cruel treatment of cows and chickens by consuming dairy and eggs, I struggle with my patience.

What kind of “love” allows someone to eat the flesh of a loved one needlessly?

It is a strange concept of love to say that you support someone taking a knife to the throat of an innocent creature.

When someone says they are an animal lover, I ask them if they eat animals. If the answer is “yes”, I point out that they more than likely “love” the idea of animals. Or perhaps they love dogs and cats, because to kill someone — yes, someone, not something – needlessly to fulfill a desire of taste cannot be considered love by any stretch of the word, can it? 

I have loved dogs in my life dearly, although I cannot say for sure that they loved me in the same way. The thought that I personally could, or would allow someone, to kill and eat a being that I loved with my whole heart is unfathomable.

I have known people who have raised animals from birth and undoubtedly cared a great deal for them, but that caring ended when they ended those poor creatures’ lives.

I think people can feel something akin to love for animals raised to be eaten, I don’t deny that, but what I ask is if it fits into any other parameter of the definition of love to them?

If you love and respect animals, shouldn’t you allow them to live? Shouldn’t you want them to live?

Killing to survive is one thing, as for those with literally no other choice, like  carnivores. But the killing that takes place in a slaughterhouse is not necessary. Very few — if any — of us reading this have to kill to survive.

Although I have dedicated my life to raising awareness and protecting animals from horrific treatment, I personally do not consider myself an animal lover.

I care for all animals in the same way, regardless of their species, human or otherwise. 

Animals are individuals, with emotions and desires of their own. I can’t imagine they want to be killed and eaten any more than any of us do.

Many of us have been forced to make the extremely painful decision of ending the lives of companion animals we loved, to ease their passing. Virtually anyone who has gone through this will attest to the heartache that comes with it. We love individuals and then end their lives exactly because of our love for them. We can’t stand to see them suffer, we want the best for them and we want them to die with dignity and respect. What our love doesn’t do is make us want to skin and eat their flesh.

If you don’t feel pain and heartache from killing an animal for food, how could you still consider that love?

If you truly love animals, for whatever reason, please stop supporting their needless killing. Or at the very least, change the language for which you describe your emotions towards them.

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Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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281 comments

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2:08PM PDT on Jul 16, 2014

Thank you for sharing, I myself am vegetarian.

1:20PM PDT on Jul 11, 2014

I believe you can both want justice for animals and still consume their meat.

I do.

There is absolutely NO reason that an animal has to suffer when being raised for slaughter and NO reason it has to die in pain.

6:52AM PDT on May 29, 2011

it is horrifying, but i don't think you could convince a majority of people to change to eating meatless, it is simply too set in their ways. maybe with generations to come though there is more hope, when people are more open towards new ideas. i don't think i could convince my 70 year old grandmother to go veggie if i had 70 more years to do it but if people really start to push the benefits of an animal free diet on young people more might consider it. i think a majority of people are not aware of the cruel treatment of animals in the meat industry.

8:24PM PST on Nov 21, 2010

For more info about the *many* benefits of vegetarianism (and the many problems with the production and consumption of meat), please visit (and share) Eco-Eating at www.brook.com/veg and The Vegetarian Mitzvah at www.brook.com/jveg

9:59AM PDT on Oct 5, 2010

clara not only is your comment to victoria very insulting it is also laughable, if you cant understand what she is saying, which is absolutely right, then i would suggest you are in need of some education in the workings of the meat industry, i dont believe anyone should ask anyone nicely to stop eating meat, personally i dont try to convince anyone to become vegetarian because i believe we all have to make our choices in life and live with our conciences, i also strongly believe in karma, so for me theres no need to argue the point, but you cant dismiss someones comments just because they hit a sore spot with you, you should read again what she said and try to understand it because it is simply the truth!!

4:01AM PDT on Oct 5, 2010

"I love animals, so I eat fish basically.

JO"

Well Jo, have I got news for you!
A fish is an animal too you know!
They feel en endure the same pain as, for example, a dog or a cow!
So how hypocritical is your statement?

12:09AM PDT on Oct 2, 2010

(Cont.)

From now on, when anyone talks to me about “reducing the suffering” of other animals, I will laugh in their face, because to talk about reducing suffering while we still slaughter billions is a joke.  Anyone who thinks that there is anything meaningful being done to reduce the suffering of the 60 billion land animals who are needlessly put to death every year is living in a fantasy land and they need not be taken seriously.
The only acceptable reduction in the percentage of nonhuman animals exploited and killed is 100%.  The only acceptable way to reduce the suffering of other animals is to completely stop using them as resources, as things and as property and to start treating them as the individual beings who they are.

Do something good.
Stop exploiting and killing other animals.  Don’t just cut down on how many, or which kinds, you eat or wear.  Don’t support efforts to make bigger cages assuming bigger cages will reduce suffering – they won’t.

There’s only one sure way to reduce the suffering of other animals: Go vegan.


[Source: http://timgier.com/2010/09/13/two-questions-about-welfare-suffering/]

12:08AM PDT on Oct 2, 2010

(Cont.)

Improving the lives of other animals---
We are currently confining more than 10 billion nonhuman animals in institutional systems of exploitation – in the US alone. Worldwide the number has to be more than 60 billion.  Nearly all of those individual lives will be exterminated within the year, and they will be replaced with 60 billion more.  In what moral scheme can it possibly make sense to talk about improving those lives when the bloody slaughter continues unabated?
Did you know that there are about 31.5 million seconds in a year?  Divide 60 billion by 31.5 million and the result is about One Thousand Nine Hundred.  That’s 1900 individual lives per second, every second of every hour of every day.  And that’s not counting the creatures of the sea.
What can it mean to talk about “welfare” in the lives of other animals when the killing is happening faster than anyone can count?  What does it mean to talk about making their lives better when, after we kill them, we’ll kill another 60 billion next year?  It means nothing at all.
From now on, when anyone talks to me about “reducing the suffering” of other animals, I will laugh in their face, because to talk about reducing suffering while we still slaughter billions is a joke.  Anyone who thinks that there is anything meaningful being done to reduce the suffering of the 60 billion land animals who are needlessly put to death every year i

12:06AM PDT on Oct 2, 2010

(Cont.)

The difference is that a 50% reduction sounds good, compared to the 100% we started with as our baseline.  But why are we using today’s consumption levels as the baseline?  ANY killing of nonhuman animals for food is too much; measuring success against the horrifically huge number of other animals killed today is looking at the situation backwards.  Sure, it’s better, all other things being equal, to kill only 5 billion nonhuman animals instead of 10 billion, but we’d still be purposely breeding, raising and confining 5 billion individual lives – only to send them to slaughter – every year!  If we were only killing 5 billion other animals right now – and not the 10 billion we actually are – would any animal advocates say that 5 billion was an acceptable number?  Of course not.  Exploiting and killing 5 billion sentient beings EVERY YEAR is a moral crime.  It is unacceptable and cannot be tolerated.  If killing 5 billion nonhuman individuals every year is unacceptable, then how could it be good for every “meat” eater to cut their current consumption in half?  It can’t be.  The only good thing would be for everyone to abstain from consuming every animal product.  Therefore, that is what we should be asking people to do.

Improving the lives of other animals
We are currently confining more than 10 billion nonhuman animals in institutional systems of exploitation

12:04AM PDT on Oct 2, 2010

clara H.---

So, I am a mindless vegan drone?

As much as you'd prefer me to, I WON'T "ask omnivores nicely to eat less meat and not support factory farming". I used to be on "the other side", Clara. But no more. I've spoken with former "humane" beef and dairy farmers who won't go back to that "other side" either and are now vegan. What do you think of that?

There are two questions regarding “reducing suffering” when it comes to nonhuman animals. The first is: Is it good for a person to cut down on the amount of animal products they eat, even if they can’t be vegan?  The second is: Is it good to make the lives of other animals more comfortable, or less miserable, even while we continue to exploit and kill them?  The answers to both questions is No. Let’s look at each one separately.

Cutting down on animal products.
This year, in the United States, it is estimated that 10 billion land animals will be slaughtered for food, and for 2011 the projections are that the same number or more will be slaughtered.  Suppose that every “meat” eating man, woman and child had an epiphany tonight and starting January 1, 2011, they each cut their consumption of animal products in half.  Wouldn’t that be great news?  Well, it would be in relative terms, but not in absolute terms.  What’s the difference, and why does it matter?
The difference is that a 50% reduction sounds good, compared to the 100% we starte

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