On Tuesday, Andy and I attended the monthly Animal Liberation NSW public meeting. We were shown heartbreaking footage of pigs in gas chambers – a standard method of “stunning” pigs before they’re killed. It was awful to watch. Afterwards, Andy asked me what I thought. I told him I couldn’t understand what was wrong with people.
I tried to imagine how pre-vegan me would have reacted to seeing a video like that. Would it have horrified me, and nudged me towards the path to cruelty-free living? I really hope the answer is yes. Because I don’t know how it’s possible to see something like that and simply turn a blind eye.
I look back on my time as meat-eater, and I don’t think I ever made the connection between what I was eating and where it came from. Of course I realised that my steak came from a cow, but there was no thought given to the fact that an animal had died. I had no idea what the animal had endured before an untimely death. It didn’t even occur to me to consider it. Because as with so many people on this planet, eating meat is normal, and therefore somehow justified. But it’s not.
We don’t see the ugly truth behind animal agriculture because we’re shielded from it, protected from it so that we don’t have to let the idea of tortured animals ruin our day or impact profit. The footage obtained from these abattoirs is not easy to get, and people risk their freedom to try and show the public the truth. Meat companies fight hard to stop these kind of videos being produced because they don’t want people’s image of cows frolicking happily on the grass to be tarnished by the gruesome reality of death.
I’ve seen a number of these videos, and every time I see intelligent, sentient beings in the throes of absolute panic because they know they’re about to die. They can smell it, they can sense it, and in some cases they can see it. It’s absolutely horrendous. And as Andy pointed out, if it were dogs being gassed instead of pigs, there would be public outrage. But pigs are eaten so it doesn’t matter.
I try not to judge others too harshly because a lot of people don’t know the facts, and are immersed in a society where meat eating is normal. But if you’ve seen the evidence, witnessed the horror, then I do ask what’s wrong with you. Animals want to live just as much as we do. We have no right to breed, torture, and kill these animals just to satisfy our tastebuds.
These videos should be shown to everyone – they should be aired in the ad breaks, they should be streaming at the train station. This shouldn’t be some taboo thing that everyone is afraid to talk about, and no one should be sheltered from the cruel reality of what goes on in a slaughterhouse. If you want to eat meat then you should look your meal straight in the eye, and watch it being slaughtered. If you can’t do that, then maybe you shouldn’t be eating meat.