Splitting hairs about speciesism
An Animal Rights Article from All-Creatures.org

FROM There's an Elephant in the Room blog
October 2020

One of the most violent and offensive comments about what ‘should be done’ to the hunter [who killed a deer who was living inside a sanctuary] was from someone whose own page had photographs of their own plate piled high with dead flesh.


A post that I shared earlier described how a young deer named Pala, cared for on a sanctuary, had been shot and killed by a neighbour who was hunting. In the same way that I am not empowered to excuse exploitation and killing on behalf of any single one of the trillions of annual victims of our species, I am not about to excuse what he did.

I also read a post yesterday about a young steer befriended by a vegan animal rights activist from a neighbouring property. For a year she tried to save his life but the human who ‘owned‘ him firmly refused to allow her to rescue the steer who was called Frank. He was slaughtered to be eaten. The posts about Frank were met with much sadness.

On my post about Pala, the vitriol was shocking; calling the hunter a psychopath, blaming gun laws and demanding prosecution were by far the least aggressive comments. One of the most violent and offensive comments about what ‘should be done’ to the hunter was from someone whose own page had photographs of their own plate piled high with dead flesh.

And I found myself seriously wondering what the difference was between the person who killed the deer and the person who goes into supermarket and buys ‘venison’, or any other euphemism for someone’s dead flesh? What’s the difference between the person who killed the deer, and the diner who sits gazing at the menu before announcing, ‘I think I’ll have the venison’? What’s the difference between the person who insisted on slaughtering Frank, and someone who sits down to a steak, or a burger, or a pile of bacon, or a fish supper or a prawn salad or who buys any substance that has been taken from a member of another species? It’s all taken forcibly and without their consent. Always.

Is there a difference?

Well, is there?

  • They all involve the harming and killing of innocent creatures who desperately want to be left alone to live their lives.
  • They all involve killing defenceless creatures who in most cases have not yet reached adulthood.
  • They are all equally and completely unnecessary.
  • And whether or not our hands operate the knives and saws, the hooks and the hide pullers, they are all carried out by or on behalf of members of our species.

Is it just easier to be critical the further we can distance ourselves from the actions necessary to meet our demands? For humans to derive some kind of pleasure from the act of killing is no more justifiable than it is to consume the flesh, their eggs and the breastmilk of other individuals. It’s no more justifiable than it is to wear their skins or body fibres like wool or angora or silk, or to use them as modes of transport, or to force them to act in ways that are alien to their nature and then bet on the outcome for ‘entertainment’.

In fact many of the most common uses to which our species subjects its defenceless victims involve an entire lifetime of monstrous brutality for each of them followed by a death so horrific that most consumers refuse to even inform themselves about what happens behind closed doors in the slaughterhouses that they pay for their demands.

So again, I wonder, is there a difference? Because I sure as hell can’t see one.

In every case we have a nonvegan human who considers that their trivial indulgences are more important than the very life of a thinking, feeling individual of another species.

So the only conclusion I can reach, is that when we try to find differences between one type of harm against an innocent creature as opposed to other types of harm, all we’re trying to do is split hairs about speciesism and I’ve written about some reasons for that before.

Being vegan means rejecting all speciesism. Be vegan.

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