We know things about them that no one should ever know, or want to know, about a fellow being – the sight of their flayed bodies, the weight of their severed limbs, the taste of their burned, bone-punctured flesh, the charred crunch of their babies’ fractured ribs, the flavor of their spilled marrow, the relish of their scrambled ova, the pungent bite of their curdled breast milk, the feel of their children’s scalped skin against ours, the taste, texture and flavor of every aspect of their despair, degradation and defeat. We know every detail of what we have forced them to be – objects to consume and excrete. What we don’t know, what we don’t want to know, is who they are. Please take a moment to look at the animals whose lives and families are erased for our amusement, and do so with the moral courage and intellectual integrity to actually see them.
All animal agriculture, from backyards to factory farms, is predicated on inflicting great physical and psychological pain before subjecting its victims to a violent and untimely death so that we can use the products that come from their bodies.
The sad reality is that, no matter how well-treated laying hens may be in their artificially shortened lives, they remain the product of enormous and intentional cruelty that is inflicted only because people continue to make the choice to consume eggs.
Whether on organic or family farms, "certified humane," or on factory farms, virtually all individuals used for milk endure the same bitter, brutal, and untimely end when deemed “spent” (which is to say, no longer profitable enough to be allowed to go on living).
While government subsidies for large-scale fishing operations help to make sea animals affordable for widespread consumption, it is the individual’s choice to eat these animals that keeps fishing operations digging deeper and deeper into our ailing oceans.
Animals as Sweetener
Not only does demand for honey cause bodily harm and psychological distress to bees as their honey supplies are (often brutally) ravaged, the industry itself is implicated in the devastation of bee populations and the native pollinators whom they displace.
Animals as Fabric
Contrary to popular belief, fabrics that come from the bodies of fellow animals are not harmless to the individuals involved, even when their production does not technically require the death of the victim, such as is the case with wool and feathers.
Animals as Specimens
Animal testing is lucrative for those who receive grants for research, as well as those who breed the test subjects. This major financial conflict of interest, combined with an archaic scientific worldview, is primarily what allows this unnecessary brutality to continue.
Animals as Entertainment
Whether in rodeos, races, circuses or zoos, animals used for entertainment are confined in unnatural environments, where they endure severe rights violations and suffer psychological and physical agony that would be considered torture if imposed on humans.
Animals as Pets
The pet industry views individuals as economic commodities to be mass-produced, warehoused, transported and sold like any other merchandise. Animals sold as pets have a 70% chance of being abandoned (and likely killed in a shelter) two years down the line.
Animals as Targets
Despite being completely unnecessary for survival in the developed world, hunting and fishing represent yet another lucrative industry in the form of socially acceptable violence inflicted on beings as innocent and vulnerable as children.
Animals as Tools
For animals used as workers, treatment varies from torture and extreme cruelty to kind companionship, but even in the best cases, animals are still owned by others, existing without rights of their own, and their individuality is often trained out of them.
Because every culture around the world still sees nonhuman animals as resources to exploit rather than individuals with rights to their own lives and freedom, there is a wide variety of ways in which we use and torment other animals needlessly.
Header image: Filming for Liberation