This ‘circle of life’ justification rests on the belief that we are still somehow part of nature, and that we must kill and eat other animals in order to survive, while risking the same being done to us. This is a world away from reality when we buy our food from convenience stores and are unlikely to come across a saber-toothed tiger in the fresh produce aisle.
For animals in the wild there is little choice. They eat what they need to survive; and for some that is other animals. But we are not part of this. We don’t need to eat meat to survive and are actually healthier without it. Plus, most of us are not prepared to kill animals ourselves but even if we were, we have neither the speed nor the razor-sharp claws and teeth required to do this. No, we are not really part of this circle of life; how we get meat, milk and eggs is entirely different.
We lock sentient beings in cages, crates and filthy barns. They are artificially inseminated, endure many mutilations and are selectively bred to have large litters. They are engineered to put on weight fast, unless they’re an egg-laying hen, in which case they’re bred not to put on weight, as that would be a waste of food. They are fed artificial feed, have their breeding cycles manipulated with hormone sponges inserted into their vaginas, and the length of their day is managed through artificial lighting. It’s not possible to imagine anything less natural than the animal farming industry.
Those poor creatures are not part of the ‘circle of life’, and nor are we. For us, however, this is liberating. We can choose what we eat and how we treat others. We can choose compassionate foods that are good for our health, reduce deforestation, species loss and pollution, and are better for other people, too. Crucially, we can use our freedom to free animals from suffering.
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