Following on from my article, ‘The Circle of Life’, I’d like to draw attention to a documentary which, if it were possible (for me), would personify everything I feel about the treatment and complete disregard humanity have for animal-kind.
The documentary ‘Earthlings’ is narrated by acclaimed actor Joaquin Phoenix. Earthlings is extremely graphic. Although I think every meat-consumer should watch this, I realise, after all, that ignorance is bliss. As a side-note, I couldn’t hold higher esteem for an actor willing to do such a documentary.
In the article I posted some time ago, I highlighted the different views we have towards animals in regard to size and companionship. In this article, and through watching Earthlings, I would like to highlight the ignorance most of us have as to where our food comes from, how it is treated and the utter contempt, as a species, we show to both nature and animals.
A problem within humanity is the air of dominance we quite often possess. It is commonly seen that we cannot treat each other as equals – let alone animals – and that is where we seriously err. Animals, including fish, may not be anywhere near the same intellectual level as we are; yet they have feelings, and they feel suffering and pain. This is particularly exemplified by the despicable way that we, as a species, participate in blood-sports.
All too often, blood-sports are justified by the word ‘tradition’. This is to say, it’s not a barbaric sport but a cultural activity. As ridiculous as that sounds, many people fight to keep these blood-sports alive under this ruse, as we have seen with fox-hunting in England in recent years; though, of course, it has not stopped. Tradition is an essential aspect in many areas of life, though, to evolve, tradition must be pruned. I cannot think of a finer example to consign to the history books.
Here are some examples of a few of these ‘sports':
Fox-hunting, bear-hunting, deer-hunting, cock-fighting, bull-fighting, dog-fighting, hyena-fighting, cricket-fighting, spider-fighting and rat-fighting, amongst many more.
All of these sports have one thing in common; they are for the entertainment of human beings – and often have financial interests, as seen with betting rings. They all usually end with an animal being killed, usually in great suffering and pain, and with no chance of survival from the start. I find it quite amazing that such practices are still carried out and justified. It is one of the worst examples of savagery on Earth.
The farming of animals can draw comparisons to the holocaust in many ways. This is especially apparent in beef, chicken and pork farming around the world. In the worst conditions, the animals are often cooped up in an incredibly small area, with limited movement, and forced to live in their own faeces. The restriction of movement often cause deficiencies in the growth of muscles, which can incapacitate and seriously deform the animal. Transport of these animals is much the same. The animals are so tightly packed into transports, without food or water, that many die en-route; albeit, usually, en-route to slaughter. Some animals are quite literally worked to death, which can be seen with the milking cow. As seen in the documentary, a milking cow can live past 20 years. It averages 2 to 3. After being worked to exhaustion, the cow is slaughtered and sold as cheap meat.
The slaughter process is heart-rending. Perhaps the most common way to slaughter an animal for meat is the throat being slit, whilst the animal is hoisted upside-down. This ‘bleeds’ the animal. Quite often the blood is collected in urns as the animal experiences its last few moments. Sometimes the oesophagus is also ripped through, which both makes the animal bleed faster and drowns the animal in its own blood. The most distressing part of this process is that the animal is still alive and often conscious. This ensures the last moments the animal experiences on this Earth are in extreme fear, pain, stress, and suffering. This is after the pitiful existence it was afforded by us. In a lot of cases, this is done in front of their kin. In the worst cases, animals can be clubbed, burnt and beaten to death by the few sadistic beings among us who are allowed to work in slaughterhouses.
Let me point out, these are not the conditions in every slaughterhouse, animals are often rendered unconscious before the slaughtering process. Whether the process is actually ‘humane’ is a matter for your own opinion.
Though a comparison to the holocaust may seem quite shocking and perhaps an over-exaggeration; to me, I think not. Looking into the subject, and watching the brilliant Earthlings, it doesn’t give you much faith in Humanity. To not contemplate animals as equals to ourselves does both them and us a grave injustice. The conditions and plight of these animals is simply an abomination, and an abomination that needs to be addressed.
After-all, are animals not man’s best friend?