I used to be the same way, so I can’t say I don’t completely understand it, but…
How can a person look at a being, a being with a life, with children, with a heartbeat, a brain, and say to that animal, you have something I want, and because I am bigger and more powerful, and I know how to use a weapon, I am going to take that thing from you? What we are really are saying is, I want soup made from your fins. I want your ivory to make my jewelry. I want every single inch of your being so that I can adorn my feet, and so the skin that used to be on your face, can now be used to hold my money.
When we use ANY animal product, when we abuse any animal who trusts us to be their guardian, when we end a life because we can, then we prove ourselves uncaring, unloving, and cold and cruel. Why do we think we have the right to tear apart families? Why do we feel we have the right to take a mother’s milk which nature intended for their offspring, not ours? Where is it written that animals are here for our convenience? And when they get too old, or too sick, or when we want a steak, it’s okay to take that life, or throw that life away? Literally? Like out of a speeding car?
This is not to say that if a beloved pet is too sick or injured to ever recover, it’s not okay to peacefully end their lives. That would be the more compassionate thing to do, rather than letting them suffer. But how can we take an animal into our homes as a “pet,” and raise that being along with our own human families for years and years, and then, the first time we find them to be “inconvenient,” dump them into the woods somewhere? Or shoot them, or leave them to starve, freeze to death, or fight? That same pet that provided a head on your lap when you were in front of the television, or that pet who slept at the foot of your bed each night, or scared away potential danger, or loved you unconditionally somehow becomes inconvenient? Somehow they no longer deserve to have your guardianship? They have served their “purpose” and are now expendable?
Animals, pets or otherwise, are not food. They are not “things.” They are not punching bags. They are not clothing for our bodies. They were not born on this earth for our use and abuse. Regardless of what your “holy” book may say.
Until each of us makes the commitment to treat ALL non-human beings, all wild, domesticated, sea and factory-farmed animals as we ourselves want to be treated, we’ll never grow any stronger, kinder, or more compassionate as a people. As long as it has a heartbeat, as long as it has a face (regardless of how “unpleasant” we may find that face), that being has a right to find the peace and happiness they need to make their lives complete. Just like we do.
There is really only one choice, choose a life of compassion. Go Vegan.
(Wow, I just saw when I posted this that it is my 400th posting! I wonder what number it would be if I counted all the ones I wasn’t happy with and trashed without posting them? Hmm. Okay, not an impressive feat for those of you who are much more prolific, but still…)