Meat versus dead animal flesh.
One obviously sounds much better and more appetizing than the other.
I’ve been a pescetarian for approximately ten months and people still ask me why I made the transition. And you’d think that after ten months, I would have a succinct, well-defined answer. But the sad truth is that I don’t.
I used to fumble around and try to come up with something quickly. I didn’t want to take up someone’s time with the laundry list of things I wanted to include. Plus, although they were asking me my reasons, I didn’t think they genuinely cared.
I didn’t know how to explain speciesism or how detrimental it is. I didn’t know how to explain that it is a form of oppression that is of course so different than sexism or racism or classism, but still has strong ties to those forms of oppression. I didn’t know or want to have to explain that speciesism often works in tandem with those kinds of oppression and is so systematically institutionalized that people don’t even know what it is. I didn’t know how to explain that just because something “tastes good” doesn’t mean I should be eating it. There are a ton of things that are totally great and beneficial for the person acting or doing it, but it’s not that great or beneficial for the other party. (see: slavery, sexual abuse, domestic violence, etc.)
And maybe it’s me trying too hard to be socially conscious, but I’d rather be someone that tries too hard and makes it a huge deal than someone who doesn’t care at all. Because at the root of it, I think I tie being conscious of speciesism (and all the other forms of oppression in the world) to being less selfish, less ignorant, less hateful. Speciesism allows us all to disassociate the suffering of animals from what ends up on our plate. And honestly, it took me a while, but I began feeling uncomfortable at the images and videos of what truly happens in factory farms. And I didn’t want to be someone who felt uncomfortable, but did nothing about it.
This little video is an interesting insight into the factory farming industry and the power of marketing. It’s short, so take some time to watch it if you have a chance!
The power of a consumer is huge. To me, I don’t think I could rightfully say that I fight against all this injustice in the world, and still turn around and eat another living, feeling being because I have more power than it does in normal contexts. As a consumer, I am trying my hardest to not support companies that harm other living beings (animals and humans too!) and the oppressive ideology that they tie into. Because when you eat meat from certain companies, you aren’t just eating meat. You’re supporting the mass killing of living, emotional beings that have done nothing wrong except be an animal that isn’t a human. And often times, those companies support a lot of other shady shady business (Tyson, Smithfield Foods, and Chik-fil-A are linked to anti-LGBT ideology). Intersectionality works in good ways, and bad. But, that could be another post entirely (and if you’re interested, I can hook you up with some good readings).
If other people eat meat around me, okay. That’s all fine and good. But the only thing I ask is that consumers are conscious and fully aware of the pain, suffering, and cruelty that they inflict by supporting factory farms (both on the animals and on human workers — many workers in factory farms face psychological issues because of the intensive killing they do…I also have some readings for that if you’re interested). If people can be okay with that, then that is their decision and their choice. But don’t go around telling me that I’m “missing out” on eating multiple dead cows or chickens.
And of course, as a side note, yes, I am still eating seafood. I’m still trying to come up with ways where I can cut it out of my diet, and it is possible. But, it’s difficult and it would help if I did have support. Cutting out meat was hard enough when people around me, friends and family especially, poke fun at you or try and force feed you against your wishes.
It’s hard when you are around friends who eat meat when you choose not to, but there are definitely ways meat eaters can support their friends and their beliefs. Tune in next time where I will write about ways you can support your vegan, vegetarian, or pescetarian friends, even if you aren’t one yourself.