I recently got into a debate about male chicks being killed as a by-product of the egg industry. This inevitably led to arguments about a human’s right to choose what they eat, a “fact” that was backed up by the idea that we’re at the top of the food chain. Top of the food chain? Put a human and a lion in a room together and then we’ll see who’s top of the food chain.
We crown ourselves superior above all other life because we have the intellect that has allowed us to dominate on this planet. It’s brains, not brawn, that’s put us in this position. We’ve created technology beyond anything our ancestors could have dreamed of. We can send people into outer space or down into the deepest depths of the ocean. We’ve evolved to a point where we’re living much longer and healthier lives. We’ve evolved to a point where we can live easily without relying on the use of animals.
It’s been a long time since it was necessary to travel by horse and carriage, yet we can still see people being carted around purely for the fun of it. We have no need of fur or leather to keep ourselves warm but animals are still being skinned alive in the name of fashion. We have televisions, computers, sport, music, literature. We have limitless ways of entertaining ourselves, and yet still feel the need to push animals to breaking point simply so that we can get dressed up and gamble. We can sustain ourselves healthily, easily, and from an enormous range of delicious plant-based foods but still we insist on slaughtering millions of animals a year simply because they taste nice.
We don’t lack empathy but we’re inherently selfish. Our greedy desires combined with fat cat propaganda have blinded us to the plight of animals who have just as much right to live happy, healthy lives as we do. We use our intelligence to enslave the voiceless when we should be using it to set them free. For me, being top of the food chain means not having to worry about predators. It doesn’t mean having to be a predator yourself.
And as for a human’s right to choose what they eat, what about an animal’s right to life? It’s such a non-argument. And I’m told I have to respect this opinion. Why do I have to respect this decision? We’re not talking about taste in music. You can’t justify harming or killing another being because it’s your right. It’s not your right. We just live in a world with warped ideas where people can be both punished or paid for cruelty to animals. Drown some kittens and you’ll feel the force of the law, but shred up some baby chickens while they’re still alive and you’re simply doing your job.
Your gender and species determines your lot in life. Bad luck if you’re a male chick or a male calf of the dairy industry – you’re disposable. And you have no choice. Your rights are taken away from you because someone else decides they have the right to choose whether you live or die. Humans do have a right to choose what they eat, but meat, dairy, and animal by-products shouldn’t even be an option because it’s not our choice to make.