February 7, 2006
Animals Are Not Ours
No one likes to have his or her actions brought under scrutiny and judged. It is a natural human tendency to feel aggressive when we are told that we are acting inappropriately, even if-especially if- we are acting immorally. I am slowly learning that self-righteousness is a blunt tool that can cause damage, and it is more beneficial to use the sharp scalpel of an understanding tone. We are never more off-course than when we claim to be moral in the face of another’s immorality. As a species, we are in a constant state of negotiation of what is good or bad. Buddhists argue that the dual concepts of right or wrong have very little meaning, and that maybe we need to simply look at our actions and see how they affect our environment, and in turn our lives, since we are part of the environment.
We often become very defensive when our ethical choices are questioned. Although I have been a vegetarian in varying levels of seriousness for the last several years, I have been cautious not to preach my beliefs to others. Firstly, because carnivores are a very protective group and they often feel the need to defend their choices, but more importantly, because I know that personally, it has taken some very complex and personal experiences to get to where I am now.
Day by day, I am learning the difficulty that one faces when becoming totally vegan, and I want to share my kudos with the people who are committed enough do it. I also realize that the reasons why I cannot accomplish my goal is due to my own personal weakness, habits, and inability to inconvenience my life by making choices that would make it harder to eat what I need. At the end of the day, I have grown fond of certain food items, and I am too weak to let them go-mainly cheese and ice cream. However, even when I look at my own choices, I am not judging them and assigning labels of good or bad; I realize that change takes time, and I am working toward my own personal level of comfort when it comes to living not only for myself, but also with the animal world.
I didn't want to write this post as a pro-vegetarian blurb. I want to re-emphasize that I am not here to judge or to evaluate anyone’s lifestyle. I am not here to make anybody feel guilty for what they do or do not eat. I do not want to inundate the reader with statistics or facts, although they are out there, and I’ll warn you now- they are not pretty. I am simply here to share some ideas, images, and facts about something that most people consider harmless: milk.
I am writing this post because while I am conscious not to allow self-righteousness to cloud my words and actions, I feel it is vital that I stay aware and keep myself informed about what is going on. If I choose to have a pint of ice cream after learning the facts, than that is for my own morality to deal with. All I am asking and hoping that people will do after reading this post is look at the information, watch the movies, and make your own choices. There is no reason to become angry or defensive, unless you feel you are doing something wrong. And if you do, then it may be time to start asking yourself some questions. Which questions you ask are for you to decide, and how long it takes for you to answer them also depends on you.
Watching the images, I felt such a strong sense of violence. I just kept saying to myself: peace starts inside each of us.
Watch Milk Gone Wild here Make sure to watch the section called Meet Your Milk.
For further information check out the PETA website or read:
Beyond Beef by Jeremy Rifkin
The Dreaded Comparison by Majorie Spiegel