Filed under: Animals
And he seems receptive to the idea… It’ll take some very slow change and creativity, but I think with some patience on both our parts, my Mister will soon be loving vegan cat food. I was looking for info on how to create a satisfying and nourishing vegan cat diet, when I ran into this article by Franny Syufy at About.com: Cats (http://cats.about.com/b/2006/03/22/vegan-cats-dialogue.htm). I was inspired by the passionate and respectful discussion taking place on the comments board to put virtual pen to virtual paper and try to explain my thoughts. Below is what I came up with (you can see all the comments in the discussion at the link above).
Everyone (including me) accepts wholeheartedly that cats deserve not only to survive, but to THRIVE. But we too often ignore that the animals we are feeding to our cats also deserve thrive — to have healthy, social, meaningful lives.
I (vegan and companion human) adore my cat — he’s my best friend! But when I’m in the grocery store and I look at those rows and rows and rows of canned ‘meat’ (though as many have already pointed out, this meat is actually ground-up male chicks, by-products and the like), I find myself wondering, “Who loved these pitiful animals?” The answer, of course, is no one. The animals in these cans lived grotesque lives of suffering and torture, inflicted by the humans that claimed ownership of them at birth. Some were only out of the egg a few minutes before the conveyor belt reached the giant crushing machine (these are the males, who lack valuable reproductive capacity).
Some were alive a few years, during which time they were repeatedly mechanically raped, impregnated, and had their children and their children’s milk stolen (by the time the bodies of these poor wretched females gave out, their flesh was not ‘high enough quality’ as meat to be sold for human consumption… so who gets it?… our cats!).
These animals also deserve to thrive; therefore, I have a moral obligation to not deprive them of that right. I cannot decide that this cheap and fast way of feeding my cat (let’s face it, these store foods require NO effort on our part in feeding our cat friends!) is worth the suffering, deprivation and violence that was inflicted on the animals in the can.
I want to see my cat survive and thrive. I have made a life time commitment to love, protect and nourish him. I fully believe he can survive and thrive on a well-balanced vegan diet. After all, the animals taurine in grocery store cat food is an artificial supplement anyway. I know this means I will have to watch him closely for certain signs of deficiency, but we should always do this for our companion animals anyway. People continue to feed their cats grocery store food – yet, I think the rising cases of obesity and diabetes in cats shows that the current status quo diet is not exactly keeping cats fit and extending lives!
On another note, comments above have assumed that vegans are opposed to, and would like to prevent, their cat catching it’s own food. I know my cat hunts. He’s pretty awesome at it. That IS the natural order of things. Cats do have instincts to catch, kill and eat. Though I’m never pleased to find evidence of his killing (who is?), as a vegan, I’m more upset when he doesn’t eat the animal (then it seems like it was pure sport for him). And the bird, mole, worm that he catches outside was living a free and natural life up until the time he got it. And it was not unnaturally forced by me.
in high school, when we covered Shakespeare’s ‘The Merchant of Venice’, i recognized the following passage:
Shylock: I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die?
equality advocates have often quoted portions of this sentiment to highlight the sameness of all humans. despite our differences in religion, colour, wealth and education, we are all the same in our need to live with security and dignity. since all humans require freedom from pain, instability, oppression to live productive and positive lives as members of society, equality advocates say society should ensure these needs are met by enshrining them in law and culture as rights.
today on the BBC, i was watching an edition of the series ‘Why Democracy?’. this edition was looking at india’s democracy, and examining the gross inequalities that exist between higher and lower castes (i.e. economic/social classes). Ghandi and his grass-roots movement was of course a key part of the discussion, as his efforts remain dear in the hearts of the lower caste members. some of the elders could even remember Ghandi coming through their villages on his Salt March.
one elder in a very poor village (which was continuously under threat of demolition for new shopping centres for the upper castes) said ‘if you cut me, do i not bleed?’. i’m not sure if this woman would ever have had contact with ‘The Merchant of Venice’ — i wonder if she even had an opportunity to go to school. but her statement certainly demonstrated the universality of the sentiment.
i wondered about the limits of that statement? jews and christians alike bleed, cry, laugh, love, learn, err, kill, birth. same for hindus, muslims, spainards, blacks, buddhists, russians, asians, aboriginals, whites, latinos. same for women and men.
same for animals. uh-oh. animals bleed. they cry. even if they don’t laugh they sure do express pleasure. they learn. they make mistakes. they kill. they birth and raise their children. and yet, we do not say that they deserve equality. some people say they deserve rights, but not to the same extent as humans. in canada, we take some steps to protect household pets from cruelty. but these steps are limited.
the security and dignity of animals ‘owned’ by farms or laboratories is completely unprotected. they are denied freedom of movement, health. they are denied family and community. and for the females on farms, the denial of security and dignity is even greater, as they are methodically raped, milked, and have their babies taken away from them.
i dream of the day when all animals, human and non-human alike, will be provided with the basic rights of personhood.
check out this powerful article by Bill Maher, called The Birds, the Bees and Earth Day: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bill-maher/the-birds-the-bees-and-_b_46410.html. there is strong evidence that cell phone waves are causing the bizarre dissapearance/death of bees. bees are important! Maher cites Albert Einstein’s prediction that if bees dissapeared, humans would have 4 years to live.
i’ve long harboured suspicions of cell phone waves. when i talk on a cell phone (especially long distance) my ear and head seem to ‘heat up’ and i get very tired and irritable. i generally end up ending the conversation so i can lie down. i’ve heard similar stories from a few people, but for the most part the general population doesn’t seem to be bothered.
my sensitivity may be explained by my rocky affair with a brain tumor. my guess is that i may have been made more sensitive by the scars and weaknesses in my skull and neck left by surgery to remove the tumor. though most people don’t get the same feelings i do when talking on a cell, i’ve often wondered if we are all being affected.
the case against cell phones (and for that matter, all wireless devices) is mounting…
Filed under: Animals
CNN recently asked viewers what issues they believe Jesus would be most concerned with if he were walking the Earth today. My answer didn’t get posted (I think they were looking more for the standard answers concerning poverty, war, gay marriage, etc.) but I stand by it. Bahahah, if CNN won’t post my answer on their site, I’ll post it on mine!!! *rubs hands in victorious glee*
“If Jesus were walking the Earth today, I believe he would be ministering comfort and love to many who are burdened and hurting, but I believe one of his biggest struggles would be against industrial farming.
Industrially farmed animals live tortured lives with no love, family, community, play, exercise, or even baths. They are ill and maimed – many are deformed by their owners for the sake of economic efficiency, others are made lame over time from the overcrowded metal cages and slatted flooring that make their homes, while others still are injured by the angry and insane animals around them. Dairy cows, female pigs and hens are exploited through their entire adult lives for their reproductive capacities, raped over and over and forced to birth babies they are not allowed to nurture.I believe Jesus would be heartbroken by the pain and suffering industrially farmed animals endure minute-by-gruelling-minute, simply because they can be easily exploited (because they lack our opposable thmubs and ‘rationality’) and we have made them our ‘property’. I do not believe Jesus would think that our desire to do drive-thru justifies the imposition on animals of concentration camp misery.”