Leather; And Tips On Finding Great Alternatives

leather

 

For me it was a process.

When I first started eating a vegan diet, I didn’t give much thought to leather, suede or wool; where these products might’ve come from; or how much of them I was wearing.

I mean, I knew the specific animals these products came from, but I knew nothing of how the end-product came to be.

I’d heard that leather, suede and wool were all just by-products of the meat industry. That as long as people were eating meat, these products would exist anyway.

I reasoned that I wasn’t contributing to the demand for animal products, and therefore had no participation in the death of an animal. So if the animals were being killed anyway for other people to eat, then me purchasing leather, suede and wool from these already dead animals made no difference to the demand, right?

Besides, I looked shit hot in leather jackets and shoes!  I loved leather bags and purses; and wool is warm in the cold UK winters, so…

This all changed when I saw the documentary Earthlings and saw exactly how leather is produced.

I’m not gonna post any graphic vids, but you just need to know that leather is NOT a by-product. Lots of our leather comes from India, and many cows are skinned alive.

Leather production is also very toxic and disastrous for the environment.

Yup. Lesson duly learned about leather and suede.

I’ll write about wool at a later (more seasonally appropriate!) date. In this post we’ll just look at leather and suede.

When you make the decision to stop buying leather, suede and wool, you may feel bad for owning what you already have.

My suggestion is this:

Don’t feel bad. What’s done is done. You’ve committed to buying no more of these products and that’s amazing.

Don’t throw your old products away – that’s wasteful. Don’t give them to charity or to a friend – that’s just passing on the karma.

Use the products until they wear out, then buy no more.

There is one problem that CAN occur with this, but I have a super sneaky way of getting round it 🙂 If you have a leather or suede jacket (or bag or whatever), that looks really good on you and people often remark how great it looks – this isn’t cool – it might encourage THEM to buy one. So if you get a compliment, tell ’em it’s fake!! Tell them you couldn’t wear leather because of the cruelty involved, but you found this cool jacket/pair of boots/bag made of pleather! Yes it’s a lie, but you already tell your bf they look great when they’ve in fact had a really bad haircut, so…sometimes…needs must!

You could possibly come unstuck if it was a recent item on the High St or at the mall and this person could have seen it in the shops too. In which case you could just tell them the truth – for example ‘yes, it IS a great jacket, but to be honest I’m only wearing it because I bought it BEFORE I found out how leather was produced, and now I know the truth about leather, I’m not going to buy any more.’

Both these responses could spark a conversation that may end up planting seeds in the complimenter’s mind, so weigh up which one would be appropriate to the situation.

 

Tips On Acquiring A Cool, Leather-Free Wardrobe

 

1. Bags (‘purses’ in American:) )

You’ll have no problem finding a great non-leather bag. There are so many great pleather, canvas, and other manmade bags around. I normally go to a high street shop or department store, pick a bag I like, then search inside the bag for the label that will tell me what it’s made of. Yes, sometimes I’m gonna be disappointed because it will be leather, and yes I may have to try a couple more shops, but I ALWAYS end up with a bag I like.

The last two bags I bought got a ton of compliments – even when they got old and raggedy!

 

2. Purses (‘wallets’ in American!)

I go through exactly the same process looking for a purse as I do with bags. Again, it may take a few minutes more than if I just grabbed a leather purse, but I’ve NEVER failed to find something I like.

 

3. Shoes

There are lots of online vegan shoe companies (Bourgeois Boheme, Olsenhaus, Mohop, Beyond Skin etc)  but they’re all pretty pricey. So what to do if, like me, you’re on a regular ol’ Joe Shmoe budget?

Shoes are still pretty gendered (yawn) so:

Women:

Because women are told that they love shoes above all else, there are plenty of varieties of shoes to cater to this worn-out old trope in your regular High Street or shopping mall (um, silver lining, right?) So it couldn’t be easier finding great non-leather shoes, pretty much everywhere, in all styles.

If there is no marking in the shoe, just look on the underside to see if there is a sticker that has the leather symbol or not. If not, it should say ‘man-made materials.’  And don’t forget, for casual footwear; flip-flops, Converse, lots of trainers (sneakers) should all be made from manmade materials. Check out Dr Marten’s vegan shoes too.

If you feel you need long winter boots then you may need to look a little harder but you should find them. Here’s some, for example.

You know the really cheap shoe shops (Shoe Zone in the UK, Payless ShoeSource in the states etc)?  If you’re looking for a basic shoe or sandal, it’s maybe worth trying one of these shops. I’m not saying every shoe is amazing, and yes, these shops kinda stink of rubber and plastic, but you can sometimes find a pair of decent enough shoes, and you KNOW they ain’t gonna be leather or suede.

I’m not too kool for the ‘Zone or the ‘Source, nor should YOU be! 😀

Men:

It IS a little harder to get non-leather footwear for men, but it’s still not DIFFICULT,

Again, Converse, lots of sneakers, flip flops and most sandals should all be non-leather; check labels for materials if you’re not sure.

Dr Martens do an amazing vegan shoe – so no need to miss out on the old DM’s!

My partner has to dress smart(ish) for work, and did have more of a problem getting smart dress shoes that weren’t leather, but eventually found some on vegetarian-shoes.co.uk.

There IS another issue with shoes – sometimes the glue used in the manufacturing of them contains animal products. Some shoe companies can tell you if they use this kind of glue; others can’t, and sometimes there is conflicting info.

It’s up to you what you do with this. For me, if there is no visible animal product in my shoe, and if it’s not a company that says they definitely use glue containing animal parts – I’m good. We can only do what we can do.

 

4. Jackets, skirts, trousers etc:

As for jackets – I don’t even need to tell you there are a million fabulous alternatives to leather everywhere. If you specifically want the leather ‘look,’ a quick google search just told me that H&M, New Look, Warehouse and Miss Selfridge have great, inexpensive faux leather jackets. I don’t doubt it’s just as easy to get faux leather in any mainstream clothing shops in any country.

Confession: I’ve never worn either leather or non-leather skirts or trousers, and so was completely ignorant on where the faux leather versions may be.

I feared I may have to look toward, er, specialty shops for them 😉

It turns out Forever 21, New Look, H&M, Misguided, Top Shop and MANY, MANY other mainstream shops come up with a TON of results for faux leather trousers and skirts with one quick google, so if this is your thing – Go for it!

 

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On How Eating Animals Breeds Violence

Sunday Lunch Anyone!? from Flickr via Wylio
© 2007 Richard Riley, Flickr | CC-BY | via Wylio

There are so many ways that being vegan impacts the world.

You know about the animal cruelty, environmental destruction, poor health and threat to world hunger that comes with a standard meat and dairy strong diet.

And Lord knows I’m ALWAYS going on (particularly on my live broadcasts – follow me on Periscope right here, YES IT’S FREE!) about the dynamics of oppression and how all oppressions (speciesism, sexism, racism etc) are the same and feed each other, so we need to be aware of this because, as MLK says: ‘injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere‘ etc., etc.

So I’ll go along thinking I have a good grasp of where veganism fits into the big picture of, er, everything; then I’ll read something that makes me think of yet ANOTHER reason why everyone being vegan would just…well…..stop the world from going down the toilet!

You’ve heard the saying ‘violence breeds violence.’

In how many ways might this be true as it relates to the violence inherent in the meat industry breeding violence elsewhere?

There’s a couple of interesting studies I’d like to share.

In the late nineties/early two thousands, a prison facility in Victor Valley, California tried a program they called NewStart where they let inmates choose whether to have standard food and go through the normal prison program; or a vegan diet with some Bible study and anger management classes.

The main reason for initiating this was, as quoted by the nutrition services co-ordinator of the prison ‘what we eat affects not only our bodies physically, but also our mental attitude, our levels of aggression and our ability to make good decisions.’

State officials were skeptical about how many prisoners would actually choose the vegan meal plan, but 85% wound up on the program!

The results?

It seems that violence decreased significantly amongst the inmates on the NewStart plan.

And check this:

The remarkable behavioral changes could even be seen outside in the prison yard where according to prison officials, nobody “owned” or controlled the yard. Typical lines drawn between blacks, whites, hispanics, gang members and other groups were non-existent. On the NEWSTART side, everyone played basketball together and had great fellowship. The CDC [standard prison program] side of the house had the same racial divisions experienced at any other prison.

Not only that, but the recidivism rate for the inmates once released was 2%, when the average for California is 90%.

Now I’m sure the anger management classes and Bible study contributed to these results somewhat, but it leaves some big questions as to whether more people going vegan would mean far less violence in the world.

Could more people on a vegan diet even help to eradicate racism (and racist violence) as it did in the prison? And if it did this, could it also end sexism and violence against women? I believe it could – if we stop seeing animals as ‘other,’ we stop seeing anyone as ‘other.’

Can you even imagine how it might be if all children were raised vegan from birth?

What about domestic violence and violent crime in a community?

Well, this study from the universities of Windsor and Michigan State found that in locations surrounding slaughterhouses, there are clusters of domestic violence incidences and violent crimes amongst the workers and their communities that occur BECAUSE of the nature of the work in the slaughterhouse:

The findings indicate that slaughterhouse employment increases total arrest rates, arrests for violent crimes, arrests for rape, and arrests for other sex offenses in comparison with other industries. This suggests the existence of a “Sinclair effect” unique to the violent workplace of the slaughterhouse, a factor that has not previously been examined in the sociology of violence

The study, by the way, was to see if what was a hypothesis about the connection between violence towards animals in the slaughterhouse and crime and violence outside of it (initially explored by Upton Sinclair in his novel ‘The Jungle’ about a big Chicago slaughterhouse) held any weight.

It’s no great stretch of understanding to see that if someone is desensitising themselves to the brutality they are inflicting on sentient beings all day long, that when they leave the workplace this desensitisation and lack of empathy is still in place and would affect every relationship outside of it.

An Australian study that was carried out to see if the same conclusions that had been drawn overseas were relevant to Australian slaughterhouse workers found exactly the same result :

Senior sociology lecturer Dr Nik Taylor at Flinders University said it had been established that the more positive a person’s attitude to animals, the lower their aggression levels, and that the reverse is also true – if you’re cruel to animals, you’re more likely to be violent to humans.

She found that meatworkers’ aggression levels were “so high they’re similar to the scores… for incarcerated populations”.

How does this branch out to the general population?

Even though those who don’t work in a slaughterhouse aren’t doing the killing, they are still desensitising themselves to the suffering of others.

Even the most unenlightened meat-eater knows that animals are killed for the meat they eat, and thus they have to compartmentalise this fact on some level to be able to consume it. It’s a pretty sound bet that if they met the animal face-to-face they wouldn’t be able to kill it themselves.

So it kind of follows that anyone who eats animal products (or at least meat, because many are actually unaware of the violence inherent in the dairy and egg industry), have desensitised themselves to the fact that an ‘other’ has been killed for their food.

Their desensitisation is a little more indirect and less intense than the slaughterhouse workers perhaps, but it is there nonetheless.

The second we desensitise ourselves to ANY ‘other’ in this way, violence (be it domestic violence, rape, general aggression) becomes possible to inflict on any ‘other.’

It’s fun imagining what a vegan world would look like 🙂

 

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For The Last Time – There Are No ‘Better’ Choices When It Comes To Meat!

 

calf 22

I’ve written about this subject on previous occasions, but I’m seeing and reading things all the time both on social and regular media that tell me this message needs to be put out there continually and consistently.

Look. I make clear on my FAQ’s page that I love consulting with anyone who is reducing their animal product consumption by ANY amount.

I get that we’re all at different stages on this path; that we’re all informed by completely different influences; and that we all approach things in different ways. Sometimes it definitely IS better to start upgrading your diet very slowly; maybe eliminating one thing at a time. This can be more sustainable in the long term. If you know yourself enough to know that you’re not a ‘cold turkey’ type and that you assimilate changes into your life better by making them slowly, this is laudable.

Any reduction in a habit that is negative to all concerned is amazing, and I have so much respect for anyone who starts ANYWHERE on a plant-based path – EVEN MORE SO for those coming from a meat and dairy heavy diet, as that’s an even bigger change.

Can you so tell I’m building up to a rant though?

You’re not wrong.

What gets properly up my nose, is those who have made an effort to cut down their meat consumption, but make the point (loudly) that they are ‘careful’ to ‘make better choices’ when they do consume it.

Case in point:

I saw a French TV report yesterday, where, in light of all the information entering the mainstream regarding our overconsumption of animal products, a reporter goes vegan for 45 days to see what happens. He visits the doctor at the beginning, has his blood work done, his cholesterol tested and gets weighed, etc.

During the 45 days, he not only learns about what to eat and how to read labels etc, but is shown some pretty horrendous stuff taking place in slaughterhouses, and sees chicks being put in meat grinders and garbage bags.

At the end, he assesses what he’s learnt. He revisits the Doctor who, unsurprisingly, tells him his blood work is improved, he’s lost weight and his cholesterol is down.

The Doctor then has a chat with him and says (despite all the positive effects on his body), that he shouldn’t cut anything out of his diet. That he can eat meat, but to eat ‘better’ meat. To think about where the food is coming from rather than just putting anything in his mouth.

When the guy reports back to the studio at the end of the experiment, he says that although he is no longer vegan, he’s learned a lot. He says he now realises that animals aren’t a ‘product,’ that they are sentient beings. He says he will think before eating from now on and will make ‘better choices’ when he does eat animal products.

Um – if you know a being is sentient, how is there any better way to have it killed for your consumption?

There ARE no ‘good’ choices when it comes to eating animal products.

You: I thought you said you respect anyone who reduces their animal product intake by ANY amount?’

Me: I do.

But justifying eating meat by saying the little you do eat is better quality (grass-fed, poetry-read, tucked-in-bed or whatever) is just BS.

And it IS just that, a justification. It’s totally giving yourself a reason to continue a harmful habit, just in smaller amounts. It’s kidding yourself that it’s ok, and gives you absolutely NO reason to evolve further.

If someone just gives up chicken, for example, because they know themselves well and this is all they can manage for now; I believe this is admirable. A positive change has been made, and the door is open (once they’ve become comfortable with their new chicken-free life) to make more positive changes further down the line.

If you truly understand why all animal product consumption is inherently harmful, you can only move in one direction. If you are working on eventually replacing all animal products you previously ate with plant foods (however slowly, it doesn’t matter) this is surely more logical and more in alignment with your new understanding of animals being fully sentient – than reducing consumption somewhat, but tricking yourself into believing that the products you DO eat are minimally impactful.

How can you unsee what you just saw? How can you unlearn what you just learned?

Consider these points:

  • The ‘better’ choice still involves the taking of a life. And isn’t it worse taking a life that was enjoyable rather than one that was miserable?
  • And we know that lots of animals do NOT actually have a more enjoyable life – a consumer-friendly marketing-term is just used to make you feel more comfortable buying their meat. The difference in quality of life for these animals to that of an intensively farmed animal is minimal. And don’t forget that all food animals are killed at just a fraction of their potential lifespan.
  • Health-wise; ANY meat, however it was raised, contains cholesterol, saturated fat and ZERO fibre.
  • Grass-fed cows produce MORE greenhouse gases than intensively farmed ones, and what if everyone in the world wanted to eat ‘better’ meat, which, as poor countries get richer, they inevitably, eventually will? Well they can’t! There’s not anywhere near enough land on the planet to support this.
  • You think organic meat is a better choice? Think again.

 

If you really GET ‘why’ you’re changing your diet and set your intention to do this, but find you can only reduce your meat consumption a little for now – that’s cool. I’m confident that when you are ready (and you will know when you are) you will make more positive changes.

Just please don’t tell yourself that there are ANY better choices when it comes to consuming animal products because it simply IS. NOT. TRUE.

 

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Should We Respect The Choice To Eat Meat?

foodiesfeed.com_argentinian-steak-sandwich3

 

When people say ‘I respect your choice to be vegan, you should respect my choice to eat meat’; should we?

No.

We do not have to do this.

And there are two big fat reasons why:

 

1. Eating meat has several highly negative ramifications that impact others, NOT just the one eating meat.

Would you purposely take an action if you KNEW it would harm others?

If choosing to eat meat was as unimpactful on others as choosing to wear a blue T-shirt on a Tuesday, then fine.

However, meat-eating not only affects the animal that has lived and died horribly; but the farming of animals is the prime factor in ALL forms of environmental degradation, and diverts to animals grain that could otherwise feed the world’s hungry.

Thus, someone eating meat is negatively affecting MY/OUR environment (and, let’s not forget, the environment of their own families!). How can this be respected? How can we respect an act that serves ONLY the self and doesn’t pause to think about the inevitable consequences to other beings? Especially when there is no NEED to eat animal products when:

A) We live longer and healthier without them

B) A plant-based diet can be as delicious, tasty and varied (oftentimes more so) than a standard diet

2. Unless you were veggie from birth and then decided to eat meat later, NOBODY has really, with their own agency, CHOSEN to eat meat.

Let me explain:

Eating meat is the mainstream diet, so meat-eaters have made ZERO choices. Society chose FOR them. They’ve basically just carried on eating what their parents/guardians fed them from infancy and never questioned it!

Unless someone is obviously not in a position to have been informed, or to understand the consequences of eating meat i.e. if they clearly have learning difficulties etc, then I unashamedly DO NOT respect the consumption of animal products.

How do we communicate this if someone asks us to respect their choice?

All we can do is point out the reasons I’ve discussed above as to why this is impossible.

We can also do this as compassionately as possible, remembering that there was a time when WE ate animals and hadn’t taken these issues on board.

If the person you’re talking with is not ready to hear what you’re saying and comes out with defensive ignorant crap – just walk away (though ideally you’ll know enough about this person initially to assess whether it’s worth speaking out).

I might be being a little optimistic, but when I think about it, I haven’t had anyone ask me to ‘respect their choice to eat meat’ for a long while. Perhaps this is a signifier that society IS waking up to all the facts concerning all the negative impacts of meat-eating, and even if we are not, collectively, ready to change, maybe perceptions have nevertheless shifted and we are now aware that meat-eating is not respectable? I hope this is the case.

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You’d Never Know It From Social Media, But Dogs And Dolphins Aren’t The Only Abused Animals

Good grief!

All I see in my twitter feed is pictures of mangled up dogs and dolphins!

Don’t worry; I’ll not post any here. As you can imagine they ain’t pleasant.

Now of course I care about the fate of dogs and dolphins, but here’s why all the attention on these two animals annoys me:

It’s like they are the easiest animals to feel compassion towards.

Everyone loves dogs because they are our pets. They are furry and sweet and respond when we call their name. They are often subservient to humans.

We love and value dolphins because we are told they are intelligent. We know they are friendly towards us and have often saved human lives. We are fascinated by their mysticism and otherworldliness, and the fact that we still don’t know much about the way they communicate. People like to ‘swim’ with captive dolphins in theme parks.

It seems that because we ‘know’ dogs, and we ‘exoticise’ dolphins – we care about them more than other non-human animals.

It also seems like some people pick a well-loved animal to campaign for, perhaps in an attempt to prove (though to whom I don’t know!) that they are good people and love animals – and to distract themselves from the fact that they are not vegetarian or vegan, and so don’t have as massive an effect as they could on reducing animal cruelty.

This is commonly known as ‘selective compassion.’

Picking one animal to fight on behalf of implies that that animal is more worthy than others.  DSCN8490

I get that some animal species are endangered and this is why their survival may seem to need to take precedence, but the truth is that an individual animal in any oppressed group is endangered, and the only reason there are a tonne of chickens and cows in existence at any one time is because we over breed them unnaturally for commercial gain. They are bred TO BE brutalised. *

I can’t see that one situation is worse than another.

How can we care more about the fate of dogs and dolphins when:

The cruelty meted out to cows (in the meat, dairy and leather industries) daily is beyond comprehension and on a far greater scale than to dogs and dolphins

Don’t even get me started on the sheer scale of cruelty to chickens (in the poultry and egg industries).

Pigs? Lambs? Foie gras geese? Minks and other animals skinned for fur?

The capacity of any animal to suffer and their desire to live a life free of pain is exactly the same as ours!

Isn’t this like caring more about racism when it’s directed at one race rather than another? Shouldn’t we be fighting racism wherever we find it existing against ANY oppressed group?

Doesn’t ANY being that is mistreated for being ‘other’ deserve our compassion?

Any Farm Sanctuary worker will tell you that cows, pigs, sheep and chickens all have distinctive personalities, and are friendly towards human animals and love being petted JUST as much as dogs – it’s just that we are never exposed to these animals enough to experience this for ourselves.

Turkeys ADORE human company, being petted and sitting on laps.

Have a watch…

In my opinion, we all need to work to stop the unnecessary brutalising of any living being, not just those that are perceived as cuter or more intelligent.

It’s the ‘feeling entitled to brutalise’ that is the stem of the problem, not the choice of animal.

*You should know there is graphic content contained in most of the videos I’ve posted links to here. If you can – and especially if you are unaware of the way these animals are treated –  please watch one or two; it’s reality!

Also, no matter if the video is from the US, Canada, the UK or Australia, these practises are common everywhere.

 

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Like It Or Not, You’re An Animal Too

sheep

We’re not vegetables.

We’re not minerals.

That just leaves animals.

Yes. We’re animals. Just like lions, cows, leopards, pigs, penguins, chickens and zebras.

Sounds BLINDINGLY obvious and you may think I’m being patronising. But people who eat animals do their absolute best to disassociate themselves from other animals, and make themselves seem something apart. They have to – in order to continue eating them.

The word for us – ‘human,’ is just a word (like lion) that differentiates us from other animals like penguins and sheep.

This differentiating word doesn’t mean ‘has dominance,’ or more intelligence, more conscience, or more anything. If we think it does, we think that because WE are human.

It’s exactly like someone saying ‘blond hair is best,’ when THEY have blond hair.

Questions

Why have we been taught to distance ourselves so much from other animals?

Why do we say ‘we love animals’ like they are separate to humans?

Why do we call someone an animal to insult them, again, as if animals were separate to humans?

Why do we say humans AND animals? Sorry to be Pete the pedant here but unless we are, in fact, vegetable or mineral, this is inaccurate. If you must differentiate, the most you can say is ‘human and non-human animals,’  though even this is very human-normative, i.e. arrogantly assuming that humans make up the majority and are ‘the norm’ when, in fact, considering there are around 7.7 million animal SPECIES in the world, and ants alone (according to a BBC documentary) number a hundred trillion; this indicates, quite fantastically, otherwise.

Answers

So that we can continue to kill and use other animals for our agenda (which is NOT even one of need), we have to desensitise ourselves by making them seem as different to us as possible.

And my, how we’ve done this!

Can’t we see that this is what we’ve done to any living beings we’ve wanted to colonise/enslave/subjugate/kill/rape?

Where other animals are concerned, we tell ourselves:

  • Other animals are here for us to eat, God said so (what we mean by this is – a book written by some flawed old men says this)
  • We are at the top of the food chain. Therefore we can eat animals that are lower down than us
  • Other animals don’t have consciousness
  • Other animals don’t have a soul
  • Other animals don’t know they will die; therefore they’re not as conscious as us

Unsurprisingly, it has not been highly publicised that prominent scientists now realise that animals are as conscious as we are. As for the rest, WE created the books. WE created the food-chain, and IF animals don’t know they die (which is completely not knowable) do they need to? Why is it better to know this?

Funnily enough, there is ONE time it serves us to liken ourselves to other animals, and that’s THIS argument humans use to justify eating them:

  • Lions eat antelope, therefore we can eat cows. It’s the same thing.

(FYI, it’s not the same thing. Lions are obligate carnivores; they HAVE to eat other animals to survive. We are not; we thrive and are so much healthier NOT doing so).

Now we can’t have it both ways. Are we like other animals or not??

If we were to make ourselves see the commonalities and not the (insignificant) differences between us and other animals, we wouldn’t be able to kill and eat them.

In the US during slavery, slave owners focussed on and played up the colour of skin and the different shaped skulls Africans had to whites, so they’d be able to see them as not quite as ‘human’ as THEY were, and therefore not feel bad enslaving them.

Some men have traditionally focussed on the purely mechanical physical differences that women have (to them) in order to see women as other than human and therefore justify controlling and using them.

As for other animals, not only do we see all the physical differences between us, but we also see them as uncivilised, base and less intelligent.

Why are we judging them by our standards when our standards leave so much to be desired?

It’s not animals that are destroying the planet. It’s not animals that have razed forests to the ground, caused air and water pollution (apart from when WE intensively farm them for ‘food’), depleted topsoil and fossil fuels, or caused droughts and ‘plastic islands’ in the oceans.

THEY only take what they need, and actually CONTRIBUTE to the planets ecosystem. We look at the ecosystem as if it revolves around humans. But did you know that if all humans died tomorrow, the earth would eventually replenish itself with all the plant-life it had lost, its atmosphere would slowly purify, and it would utterly thrive without us? By contrast, if even the tiniest creatures, like bees, or ants were to die tomorrow, the entire ecosystem would collapse.

Look at how humans kill each other on silly pretexts, then read about how ants cooperate with each other and work in unison for the best interests and health of the colony.

We’ve all seen the Youtube vids of animals who are best friends with an animal from another species (often the most unlikely ones); the cat that adopted the squirrel; the male dogs that adopt kittens (this also blasts right out of the water another two tired old stereotypes that all females – and only females – are nurturing!). By contrast, we can’t even get on with our own species. We fight and kill other humans because they believe something a bit different.

It’s not animals that get obese, lollop around malls aimlessly, and get diabetes. Look how lithe and sinewy squirrels, horses, lions and monkeys are; their bodies are perfect for the needs of their habitats.

It’s not animals that create constructs to control, reduce and diminish each other.

And look at how Zen they are; how they are always in the moment, but at the same time have insanely sharp reflexes. If you have a cat on your lap and stand up suddenly, it will always land on its feet. If you had a human on your lap and stood up suddenly, they would flop to the floor like a dead weight.

We need to dehumanise in order to oppress humans. And in the case of other animals, we have to see them as different and as inferior to humans as possible to desensitise ourselves to their suffering – so we can eat them.

The truth is they are far more similar to us than different. Exactly as people with dark skin are more similar than different to people with white skin and as women are more similar than different to men.

All oppressions are the same and need an ‘other.’ We’ve ‘otherised’ animals that are not human to such an extent we don’t even know we’re doing it.

Time to stop.

 

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