DAY 197: A (slightly later) HALF YEAR REVIEW – part 2
Continued from the previous blog post – this is a review of my last six months saving animals.
4. DO I STILL EAT MEAT?
Much less than before, but I still do.
Why the heck have’t I stopped?!!
I’ve had lots of logical reasons to stop meat consumption (vegetarians rule!) and I’ve cut down a fair amount but I still eat the odd steak. Not much bacon any more.
As foolish as it sounds, I don’t want to stop eating meat purely because my head says it is wrong, I want my heart to get there too. Sorry Peter Singer, logic is not my main guide.
Emotional lessons are our best teachers. It’s possible to continue smoking even though you know it causes cancer but much harder when you see your grandmother die of it. Perhaps my upcoming work on farming and slaugherhouses will get me there but right now there is a still a small disconnect between my heart and head. I want to be honest about that.
5. EVEN THOUGH I’VE BEEN HELPING WILD DOGS WHY AM I STILL SUCH A SCAREDY-CAT?
After all this time I still find it hard to follow my convinctions about animal welfare.
Being animal rightsy, as mainstream as that is now, still requires a strength of character that is far harder to come by than a packet of cheap bacon. Hence the reason pigs suffer and some people still think animal rights activists all have dreadlocks and go on hunt sabs.
For my own part, I still find it hard to argue for animal rights amongst (my very liberal) friends and family. Sometimes I would rather put a steak in my mouth that let the truth come out of it.
But this is telling.
If cultural norms are this strong in a reasonably inquisitive person like me who lives in a reasonably open and compassionate environment like mine, then they are likely far stronger elsewhere.
When one grows up with a feminist mother in a household that reads the Guardian newspaper with friends of all races and sexual orientation one sort of assumes that rights and wrongs have been worked out. It seems extraordinary that animal rights lags so far behind.
6. DO YOU NEED TO BE EMOTIONALLY VULNERABLE TO HELP ANIMALS?
No, but it might help.
You might ask the same question of powerful politicians or successful businessman. Are they running towards a goal or away from a fear?
Thee stereotype of the old woman who loves cats but hates her neighbours is a flimsy one but there is something to be said for having a personal history of vulnerability if you want to care about animals.
I am driven on by my own demons: by a feeling of insecurity and muteness that goes way back. I had a great upbringing with loving parents but I was a sensitive child that ran from shadows and words and feeling dammed up inside me. I can’t bear to see that vulnerability and muteness in other’s – especially those who can’t speak back.
But while a proportion of people I have met in this movement have also suffered depression (some have had breakdowns or are recovering from addiction) others seem as solid as oak trees.
As much as I would like to present a pattern, there is no clear analysis. In a way this is a relief. Animal welfare should must not be denigrated to the extremes. There is not WRONG with having immense compassion for animals, just as there is nothing wrong with having a flair for business. But you might find extra motivation from your own fears in both realms.