Halfway There or Nowhere Near?
I’ve always been taken aback by the highly questionable logic of those that call themselves “animal lovers’ yet consume animal body parts and secretions most, if not all, days of the week. It’s on the same wave-length as meat-eating veterinarians or animal-focused charities that put on fund-raising events with hot dogs and burgers aplenty. Put another way, human doctors into the occasional bit of cannibalism may just raise an eyebrow or two, to say the least.
Consequently, is it really that radical a proposition to make that if you truly “loved”, truly cared for a living thing, you wouldn’t buy its chopped-up body enshrined in Styrofoam and plastic-wrap, disguise it with seasoning and then ritualistically bake it in an oven for two hours every Sunday?
This perfectly highlights the extent of duplicity and moral flip-flopping that many humans have in respect of their relationship with animals. The “I love animals, but only the fluffy ones” sort of thinking. It’s the kind of logic that allows for someone to express their outrage at an animal cruelty article in the local newspaper while they plow their way through a bacon sandwich. Or the guy that signs an anti-fox hunting petition, because it’s all so cruel, and then heads off to a swanky restaurant to splash out on some pate de foie gras.
Which brings me to being flexitarian – a plant-based diet that allows for the occasional consumption of meat and animal by-products like eggs or dairy in amongst an exclusively plant-based diet. This has recently become a “thing” rather like the Tide Pod or Birdbox challenges that have entered contemporary public consciousness. How long they hang around for is highly debatable.
Regardless of longevity, the flexitarian diet is, to me, a topsy-turvy concept. However, please let me add a caveat to that.
If a flexitarian diet is being adopted for temporary reasons, say as a stepping stone to full veganism, then it has an argument. Of sorts. However, the key here is the duration. Flexitarian for a month so as to then go vegan? Hmmm, ok. Flexitarian for the indefinite future? Very suspect. And even more suspect if the reasons for going flexitarian long-term are stated to be for the well-being of animals. Animal cruelty, like animal slaughter, really is a black and white issue. You either oppose it in its totality or knowingly and / or indifferently embrace it.
If you were introduced to a pacifist out of the blue then you may well admire their ethics and commitment to not harming any living thing. Discover later that they enjoy the occasional bar fight (only on a Thursday mind as that’s their “special day”) and that admiration would likely turn to disbelief. Likewise, the atheist who attends her local church every now and then or the firefighter who likes to indulge in the occasional bit of arson. None of it really seems to add up.
This then ties in with questions as to vegetarianism as opposed to veganism and animal welfarism as opposed to animal rights.
As with a flexitarian diet, is vegetarianism, on a temporary basis, a step in the right direction in the fight against animal cruelty and exploitation? Alternatively, is it a compromise, particularly so given the wealth of information out there highlighting the multi-faceted dangers of consuming animal products?
Put another way, diary milk on your breakfast cereal seems harmless at first glance, maybe. Get to know though the real brutality behind the dairy industry, the cruelty, the heartlessness and the abject misery, and suddenly those cornflakes might not seem so tempting doused in milk after all.
The same then extends to animal welfarism versus animal rights. So, for example, is legislation that ensures the relative comfort of animals in transit on their way to a slaughterhouse a measure of progress in the great scheme of things, per animal welfarism?
Alternatively, is that nothing more than tokenism as ultimately, irrespective of the travelling conditions, the animals are set to die in any event? Project that into the human sphere…Well, you’ll be burnt at the stake, but don’t worry, we’ve wrapped the stake in blankets so it’s a bit more comfortable. Let us know how you get on won’t you…
In some ways, at least with an out and out omnivore who is brazen about their cruelty-full diet, you know what you are getting. In contrast, a long-term flexitarian or vegetarian diet in the name of reducing animal cruelty and exploitation? Or maybe an animal slaughterhouse with a few more security cameras so as to make the misery seem a little less miserable than it actually is?
Not today, or any day, including the special ones, thank you.
Related Post >> How To Explain Your Vegan Diet To A Non-Supportive Doctor
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