A common objection posed by meat-eaters to considering a vegetarian diet is that “plants have feelings” which may be comparable to the feelings of animals, or that the result of a vegetarian diet is for more plants to die than animals and thus the net amount of killing is somehow equal.
For more than a decade and with many others, I have been trying to think through the multiple entanglements between human and non-human joys and suffering. Our thinking about human issues necessarily involves thinking about animal issues. Similarly, considering animals expands our understanding of the world around us including some of the most pressing issues at hand, such as climate change, food justice, racial violence, and colonial legacies of dispossession and environmental degradation.
Would you believe dog treat sales in the U.S. were $2.6 billion a year in 2013? Unfortunately, today most American dogs are overweight, likely due to too little exercise and copious amounts of high calorie food. It doesn’t have to be that way. My two dogs compel us to take more walks and move around. Of course they get fired up over food and frequent dog treats. But by making a variety of healthy, delectable biscuits you can spare dogs the troubling ingredients found in most commercial treats, and the icing on the biscuit…you can also save money.
For some Abolitionists, all campaigns focusing on particular animals – in this case chickens used for Kaporos – frustrate the ultimate, worldwide goal of Abolition, Animal Rights, and Veganism. My organization, United Poultry Concerns, promotes the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. This makes us a “single issue” or “single class of animals” organization. Does our focus on chickens and turkeys hamper efforts to liberate all animals from all forms of oppression everywhere on the planet?
The ethical traveler now needs to take decisions that change the world. To decide where to go for their holidays. And if they decide not to go to a particular state and country, to actually let the travel agency and country know why they are not going.
The Buddha may or may not have taught vegetarianism, but there is no excuse in any Buddhist tradition for temples to serve meat to followers.
In any discussion of ecotourism the dangers of “greenwashing” must be explored. Greenwashing is the use of misleading advertisements to suggest that an activity is good for the environment when objectively it is not. Wildlife theme parks, underwater hotels and motorized tours into fragile ecosystems strive to portray themselves as environmentally positive (or neutral) but they are not. True ecotourism builds environmental awareness while emphasizing human rights and local control over resources and development. It is not solely about animals but also about the humans who live there, and have lived there in the past, often for thousands of years.
So many backyards in our neighborhood are covered with grass and non-native plants which are unfriendly to wildlife. Animals can only utilize certain plants as food and some are unusable or even poisonous. Grass is an environmental disaster. It requires a prodigious amount of water which in drought regions is irreplaceable. Pesticides are generally used it which poison the ecosystem and drain off into our rivers and oceans. People then mow it and put the clippings in plastic bags which are hauled away (using fossil fuels) to the landfill. What a tragedy!
Could these two comedic sketches signal the beginning of the end for meat-eating?
What most clearly sets Eating Animals apart from the bulk of animal rights literature is…