We need to treat animals less like objects

Jay Gootjes

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We need to treat animals less like objects

We treat animals like products. They are less like mortal beings with consciousness and more like objects placed on this earth for our enjoyment.

About a year ago, just after I went vegetarian, I watched the 2014 documentary Lucent. Lucent features footage from large piggeries across Australia. Regardless of whether you are a meat lover or a full-on vegan, you can probably agree that the footage is terrifying in every aspect. Footage of abusive workers, horrible conditions, disease, and animals never once seeing the light of day exposes the truth of how bacon gets from the pig to plate.

It’s crazy for me to think how many people are completely uninformed of where their food comes from. So uninformed that it seems like commercial meat and dairy industries can get away with a lot of cruelty. I think that by now, the public should be able to see behind the scenes as to where their food is coming from.

To start with, the materials a mother sow is given in commercial piggeries to care for her piglets is not sufficient. Naturally, a mother sow will construct a nest built to shield her piglets from mistakenly being crushed by her weight. In the piggeries shown in Lucent, the mother is not given any bedding to construct a nest, and in the cage, she is confined as well. She is unable to turn around and is limited to sitting and standing. To prevent the sows’ muscles from deteriorating due to lack of physical activity, workers can be seen forcing sows to stand by means of violence.

In addition to this mistreatment is their transportation. Transportation to slaughter is cramped, and many times, animals do not survive the ride because the trucks often have freezing interiors due to weak protection from the cold.

The worst part for me was knowing that there would be so many grassy fields that those pigs would never taste, so many beautiful rays of sunlight those pigs would never feel on their backs, so much love and comfort they would never experience.

These creatures’ entire existences consist of metal, disease, pain, rot, cement, stink, hatred, abuse, hunger, thirst, hopelessness, and a complete and utter lack of compassion.

It seems as if we only pay attention to animal cruelty when it is inflicted on an animal often considered a pet. This is understandable, but if we are going to pay attention to that, we need to also pay attention to the wrongdoings of the massive industries that widely contribute to our society.

Furthermore, skepticism of Seaworld’s treatment of animals has been growing as of late. According to the Los Angeles Times, there has been a sharp decline in Seaworld’s customers and stock price, and for good reason too. Recently, Seaworld ended their orca breeding program, earning a small amount of praise from animal rights advocates. However, that act isn’t enough. Seaworld’s orcas cannot be completely released into the wild due to the fact that the twenty-nine orcas were raised in captivity. On the other hand, they can be sent to seaside sanctuaries, which is what animal rights activists want Seaworld to do, which additionally wanting them to end their other breeding programs.

A seaside sanctuary would be far larger than the location the orcas are currently contained in and far more like the orcas’ natural habitat. It also makes sense that if Seaworld is going to end the orca breeding program, they should end the other breeding programs as well.

Recently, the Ringling Brothers, who have displayed elephants for years for entertainment, have decided to stop animal performances and retire their elephants to sanctuaries. This has strengthened the push for Seaworld to do the same thing with their orcas.

All the skepticism first grew strong in 2013 after the release of the documentary Blackfish, which accused Seaworld of abusing and neglecting their animals.

Animals were not placed on this world as objects; they are equal to us. After all, we are animals as well. Creatures were not meant to be abused and mistreated for entertainment purposes, and it’s time that that is brought to light.