A majority of families in Scarsdale probably have at least one household pet, most commonly a cat or dog. In our culture, abuse of pets typically results in public outrage and is extremely frowned upon, not to mention that the abuse or consumption of a dog or a cat is illegal. In countries such as China, it is culturally acceptable to eat snakes, sharks, cats, and even dogs. In the US we worship these animals, going so far as to call them members of our family. They sleep in our beds, eat dinner with us, and some of us even give them funerals when they die. Why is it that we value their lives so highly, yet, in most of our minds, the life of a cow, pig or chicken is worthless? It’s a strange idea; that we, as humans, are so opposed to animal cruelty. Yet buying animal products supports the captivity, torture, and murder of livestock. What makes them so different from cats and dogs? Why are household pets treated with love and adoration while farm animals aren’t even recognized as living beings, but rather “the next meal”. Is it because they aren’t as cute as puppies? Last time I checked, baby pigs are pretty freaking cute! So why are they treated so unfairly? There has been a large disconnect that has been forming over time between the animals in the field and the animals on our dinner plate. The use of factory farming led by large meat industries has greatly fueled this disconnect as thousands of animals a day are slaughtered senselessly. These companies then drag away the dead body to a butchering facility where it is put into “pretty packaging” and shipped off to the supermarket. When you go to the supermarket to pick up dinner, you find the meat wrapped in a container with a picture of a happy cow in the middle of a large pasture on the front of it. You are unaware that the cow you are about to eat and the cow on the packaging lived completely different lives. One spent it’s life in a beautiful field with no cares in the world while the other spent it’s life in a dark factory with thousands of other cattle, waiting for the day it would be slaughtered. Most people forget that the steak on their dinner plate was once a mother, or a father, a son, or a daughter. The knowledge that a farmer murdered the mother of a child for a human’s consumption has been disconnected from the piece of steak on your plate. Many people I have talked to argue that animals don’t know what’s happening to them when they are in slaughterhouses, or that they don’t have the familial bond that human families have. This concept, however, is false. Animals, including humans, feel pain, love, joy, fear, and hatred at an extremely deep level. Human beings tend have this egotistical idea that we are superior to all other animals and that it is acceptable for us to enslave and murder other species. We tend to forget that we are animals too and that we are not the only ones living on this planet. We therefore have no right to tear calves away from their mothers as soon as they are born, not to mention exploiting entire populations of animals. We as humans need to wake up and realize that by consuming animal products, we are supporting animal abuse and murder. All animal lives matter, not just cats and dogs.
by Caroline Silver