Animal intelligence has been widely underestimated, says primatologist Frans de Waal – The Washington Post
I spent many of my formative years feeling confused and frustrated at the way most humans appeared to categorise all other animals as “dumb”. They somehow use this assumed lesser or non-existent intellect to justify using and abusing other species (think: farm animals, think: lab animals). I still feel confused and frustrated; but this article and new research gives us hope that we can finally comprehend some of the understanding, awareness and ‘intelligence’ of other animals, and then learn to respect and honour it.
I cringe at how much laboratory animals must suffer at our violent, arrogant hands.
I think that once you see the truth – once your eyes are fully prized apart – the full horror of what we do to our fellow animals today never leaves you. Part of that can be knowing you participated in it by eating meat, dairy, eggs, etc. I was traumatised for months/years. I’m still traumatised, in truth. I still find a lot of animal cruelty witness/evidence videos hard or impossible to watch.
I’m vegan 4+ years now, vegetarian since I was a kid, and I still have nights I fall asleep in tears. I no longer wake up feeling helpless, however. Veganism IS the thing that heals you; it is incredibly empowering knowing you’re not funding or condoning the animal holocaust anymore. Protesting is also empowering. Volunteering and campaigning is great.
Meeting other vegans helps a lot. Connecting and sharing with vegans is the way to lift that horrible sense of hopelessness and impotent rage. You have to believe that the world is changing. That is the only way to keep going. (It’s just so slow!)
Is this surprising? Not remotely, in my opinion. Think about it. You kind of have to have a stronger-than-average ability or tendency to empathise to get to the point of thinking: “I can’t continue to contribute to industrial animal farming. I can’t continue to eat animals I claim to love.” Take that a little bit further… recognise and empathise with the brutal, systematic violence and abuse of dairy farming; egg hatcheries that grind all male chicks alive; the deeply unhealthy, perverse breeding of animals to produce more eggs, more milk, more meat, more wool… It’s not a huge stretch for someone who can feel as they feel to see why that kind of person would go vegan in a heartbeat (and consequently suffer emotional trauma and depression in the process of enlightenment – covered in my second blog link for today).
Of course veggies and vegans are more empathetic. How could we not be?
Now, I wish I’d had this handy guide the last two times I stayed in Reykjavik, but we found vegan options anyway. This is a great guide to eating vegan in the land of fire and ice.
The tide may well be turning… Is it too late?
This is a brief TED Talk.
This is what I want to be doing. Photographing (and writing about) animals in such a way as to try to bridge the huge barrier of disconnect most seem to experience between us (human animals) and them (all other animals).
This article, Decoding “Never Again,” narrates its author’s experience as a child of two Holocaust survivors, one of whom participated in rescuing thousands of his fellow Jews during the war. Colb meditates on this legacy and concludes that her understanding of it has played an important role in inspiring her scholarship about (and ethical commitment to) animal rights. She examines and analyzes the ways in which analogies between the Holocaust and anything else can trigger people’s anger and offense, and she then draws a distinction between occasions when offense is an appropriate response to such analogies and when it need not be. In conclusion, she explains what she believes is the true message of “Never Again,” a commitment that necessarily transcends the particulars of what happened to the Jews during World War II.
Here’s what I’d like to do with the rest of my life…
Breaking News: Nepalese Organizers Announce an End to the World’s Bloodiest Animal Sacrifice Spectacle · A Humane Nation
This is a wonderful and amazing result! It proves – despite nay-sayers and those with no conscience or compassion – that petitions, protest, global exposure and condemnation and a ton of pressure can create beautiful and positive change for the better! Kudos to all who helped create this change. This horror has been banned. Let’s keep it that way.
There are so many more horrors to end…