Letter to the Editor: Pet Your Dog, Eat a Pig
By Danielle Peterson
I remember it so vividly. I was sitting in my dorm room browsing the web and saw a blog post titled “The Truth of Factory Farming.” Bored and curious, I clicked on it.
I was slapped in the face with photos of cows hanging by their hind legs. Throats slit with their blood-soaked tongues dangling out of their mouths. Photos of pigs with their eyes full of fear, huddled into the corner of cement walls. A man pointing a gun directly at these innocent beings. Photos of abnormally large-breasted hens so tightly cramped in cages, they weren’t able to turn around, let alone spread their wings.
Each of these photos tied to a descriptive paragraph revealing the horrific truth about the lives of animals born into factory farming.
I looked at these in disbelief and disgust. How could this be? This is not how all animals are treated, right? These are not the same happy cows in green fields, advertised at the grocery store.
This was the first time I had ever really made the connection that my food, what I was served on a plate, put into my mouth, ground with my teeth and digested was once a living, breathing and feeling animal. It had never even crossed my mind why I was choosing to eat meat.
How had I gone 18 years of life and not once thought about how my food was getting to my plate? Was this my own fault? Was this society's fault? Right in the midst of this self-crisis, my roommate asked if I was ready to head down for dinner. During that meal, I looked at what I put on my plate differently. I would for every single meal following it.
It was brought to my attention that within our society there is a constructed hierarchy of beings. There are certain animals meant for zoos, pets, entertainment, to be hunted and some animals are meant for fattening up to eat their flesh.
But why do humans believe that they have more rights and are more special than other animals? Is it our opposable thumbs and lack of nakedness? Because these traits sure do not give us any right to slaughter and ingest millions of innocent animals each year. I think we can all agree that humans are much different to animals in some ways, but there is no way to argue that animals do not feel physical suffering like humans do.
Having the ability to suffer should be a good enough reason for humans not to cause this suffering upon the rest of Earth’s creatures, yet we only take this into account with select animals. While we treat our dog with love, we will simultaneously be sitting at the dinner table eating one of the 10 billion animals killed for food that year.
I challenge you to consider how your words and actions align when it comes to interacting with animals, whether that be directly or indirectly.
Photo provided by Nick Saltmarsh via Flickr