It is not a secret that nowadays a lot of activists, volunteers, and enthusiasts are seeking ways to make our world a better place. Sometimes it works, sometimes it does not. There were shameful problems that indeed needed to be solved, such as slavery, inequality of rights, social injustices, and so on. However, in pursuit of a better life, many people try to improve what does not need to be improved, and pry their noses where they should not. The issue with animal rights and consuming animals for food is one of such problems. In times when nature faces truly hideous problems, many activists and ideologically-biased people panic about issues that are not worth attention, and try to find moral dilemmas and problems where there are none.
Let us take veganism, for example. Leaving aside the medical side of the problem and addressing its moral aspect, one of the first and foremost arguments of veganism is animals feel pain and undergo severe suffering when slaughtered on meat farms; at the same time, they believe it is more humane and moral to cut, chop, and slice herbs, fruit, and vegetables instead of animals. Unfortunately for them, studies keep proving plants can actually feel pain too, which makes blaming omnivorous people of cruelty hypocritical (Howstaffworks.com). In fact, there is a wider range of sensations available for plants compared to humans (Pri.org). So, it is naive to think plants do not feel anything and it is morally acceptable to eat them rather than animals because they have no eyes or cannot make sounds. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Volunteers for the rights of animals, vegans and vegetarians, and other eco-activists are constantly on the mettle to protect nature. But what they do not seem to understand is that it is wrong and arrogant to draw a line between us, human beings, and nature. Whatever creationists say, there is strong evidence that our species has developed throughout evolution; this means that during thousands of centuries, we have adapted to environments, and learned to adapt to them for our needs. This is how we have climbed to the top of the food chain; it is as natural as for a lion or a shark to be on top of the food chain in their ecosystems.
Although western society is now an individualistic society, we continue to live in huge groups. Each of us has a function, a role–each of us is connected to dozens of other people. A regular human individual alone is weak–any peaceful herbivore animal is stronger, faster, has better reflexes and stamina than a single man or woman. But when five or ten men gather, they can hunt a herbivore animal down even being slower and weaker. We are strong as a kind–this is the best survival strategy of our species, and it follows the rules invented by nature–termites are the same, for example: they build colonies–just like our cities–and every termite has its role. You can smash a single termite, but a colony can ruin your house just in one night.
So, we are a part of nature. Why would we feel guilty for simply following the rules common for every single living being on this planet? Those who are stronger feed on those who are weaker. Even in our civilized society, the rule is the same–it is just the form that is different. Competition is the best example. Being stronger, better educated, more intelligent, more good-looking, and so on, gives you advantages over those who are less lucky or persistent to fight for their spot under the sun. You “eat” them metaphorically: you get a job that otherwise would go to someone else; being smarter, kinder, and more appealing, you make a girl or a guy prefer you over someone else; being richer, you provide yourself with better living conditions than those who are poorer. Trying to make everyone equal–like the egalitarians do–is the same as communists did in Russia in 1917. The rule is the same as in wild nature: if you want a better place under the sun, you must be able to take it.
Our species does not even need to hunt anymore: all meat we need is being grown on special farms. Wild nature does not suffer any damage; domestic animals, especially cattle, were raised for food for thousands of years. It is the most humane act towards nature–we eat what we produce ourselves. Why would you feel guilty for this–just because an animal feels pain when you kill it? But we do not butcher animals live–in civilized countries, they are killed as quickly as possible, to minimize stress and pain. Do you hate a lioness when she catches an antelope? Do you hate a spider when it sucks a fly dry? Pain is inevitable for all living creatures; plants, which are often advised as an alternative to eating meat, feel pain and stress the same way other living beings do. Plants are often not perceived as cute, so people rarely feel concerned when they cut them; plants cannot scream from pain, so people naively assume plants do not feel pain, and it is not cruel to tear them off their growing spot and cut them into salads; plants cannot escape, so people do not feel pity for them. But actually, plants can feel the same as animals.
Moreover, people who so righteously and fiercely protect the rights of animals actually try to protect a very small amount of living creatures. Usually, their eagerness spreads over rare rhinos, lions, primates, sea creatures, koalas, or pandas. A regular eco-activist is probably not even aware of the fact that every day scientists annually discover about 20,000 new species living side by side with us (IO9). Moreover, this regular eco-activist probably has no idea about many species that also need protection, but are often ignored because of being small, ugly, or seemingly boring. How about rare caterpillars–how many people care about them? Or minogues? Solitaires? What about scallops or annelids? All of them are a part of nature, but the media does not usually show them on TV because they are not cute; some of them live in our intestines, causing diseases–should we let them go extinct? Such selectivity would mean you once again arrogantly put yourself higher than nature that you claim to love and respect so much. Selectivity is a bad companion for a volunteer or activist; if you protect nature, you should care about everything, not just about something you like, or something you can only see without a microscope.
All this does not mean people should stop caring about nature. We have consciousness and the ability to foresee the consequences of our actions; unlike rabbits who have devastated the Australian continent and thus destroyed their own habitat, we can foresee and prevent the damage. Humanity should do everything not to pollute nature–no other species is as toxic and destructive for nature as ours. We should clean where we have spread filth, radiation, and other pollution. We should restore environments we have damaged. We should reinvent our energy, make it cleaner, safer for our planet. But the rest is up to nature. Species going extinct, species appearing–it is not our business. Our task is to abstain from intervening into natural processes; trying to regulate what you do not completely understand will only do harm. Worrying about consuming animals for food, appealing to morality of those who eat meat, or trying to protect a couple of cute species from “evil humanity” is akin to sitting on a gunpowder barrel with a burning fuse, and trying to make your haircut look prettier. If you really care about nature, you should accept its laws and do everything to protect its laws; they have formed over billions of years, compared to the period of humankind’s existence, which is a blink in nature’s eye.
“New Research on Plant Intelligence May Forever Change How You Think about Plants.” Public Radio International. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.
Dove, Laurie L. “Do Plants Feel Pain?” Howstaffworks.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.
“Meet the 20,000 New Species We Discovered in a Single Year.” Io9. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2015.
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