everything lives and dies

September 6, 2010 § 7 Comments

about a year ago i came to the realization that veganism was a form of speciesism.  or better said that the specific philosophy behind veganism was a form of speciesism.

dont get me wrong.  i am against the exploitation, murder, and enslavement of non-human and human animals.  i am also against the exploitation, murder and enslavement of plants.

but a girl has got to eat.

industrial farming exploits both animals and plants.

i realize this is not a new or unique idea.

a few days i was sitting at a coffee shop looking at the trees that were planted along the sidewalk.  these trees are slaves, i thought.  instead of living in a forest, surrounded by the myriad forms of life that sustain it. instead the tree was chained in concrete, separated from the other trees, with stunted roots.  they were there for decoration.  they were planted there for the service of humans.  they were denied their own freedom.  they were slaves.

even though i know that most vegans get tired of the: hey dont carrots have feelings too?  line that comes from folks who really dont give a fuck about the exploitation and degradation of life on this planet.

the only reasonable answer to the carrot question is, yes. (im actually surprised by how this answer is contested in vegan circles…)

now i do think there is some good to a vegan lifestyle.  as a moral spiritual discipline.  as a way to keep conscious about how much violence we inflict on the world.  as a way to practice simplicity and moderation.  as a meditation on who we are in relationship to the world.  as a way to live in more vibrant bodies.  as a way to spend less money and share more food with others.

so all life is valuable.  everything lives and dies and feeds off one another.

we need to re discover ways to feed ourselves that keeps us embedded and accountable to the entire community of life around us.  and maybe veganism can be one of those ways.  not because killing animals is wrong, but killing plants is right.  but in response to the specific environments and communities that we are responsible to.

what we can definitely do is let go of the myths that represent untruth.  like, personally boycotting non-human animal slavery and slaughter is saving non human animals lives.  its not.

we need to stop our cultures propensity to enslavement, to murder, to genocide, to exploitation.  and it is a fool’s mission to think that we can shop our way to liberation.  we need the vicious roots of our culture to die.  and they will only die once we stop thinking and acting in terms of personal, individual moral choices, and start dismantling the structures that enslave our peoples.

so that we – and all our relations – can live.


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§ 7 Responses to everything lives and dies

  • Aaminah says:

    so much i wanna say about this… thank you.

  • RMJ says:

    i think that balance is important here (as everywhere): vegans and vegetarians are honoring the creatures of earth in a necessary way, but that doesn’t make consumption of them much more immoral.

    • mama says:

      yes. i dont think the consumption of meat is necessarily more or less immoral than the consumption of plants. the morality is dependent on the context in which one lives.

  • RMJ says:

    *consumption of meat, not vegetarians…

    • mama says:

      ha ha…
      this reminds me of that line in the addams family movie. something like:
      –do you want to buy some girl scout cookies
      –are they made with real girl scouts?

  • Ash says:

    My friends are pretty much exclusively vegans and vegetarians, and this is just my experience, but none of them feel as if plants do not suffer. Indeed, to eat is to cause suffering. If you eat, you cause the death of something else. To me, the jainist eating system of ethics makes the most sense. All living beings can suffer, but different types of beings have different capacities for suffering. A vegetarian diet is a way of consciously trying to reduce (not eliminate) the amount of suffering I cause through eating.

  • Ash says:

    Oh and yes 100 times to your point about no matter what our diet is (or our shopping choices) we will not save the planet through this.

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