How Can “Animal Lovers” Eat Animals?

Strolling through Tokyo’s Yoyogi Park today, I came upon some leafletting animal rightists planning a demonstration against animal testing. I proudly told them I followed a whole foods plant-based vegan diet, and naively assumed they did, too.

Somewhat guiltily, one admitted she doesn’t eat meat unless it’s served to her (and would therefore go to waste if she didn’t eat it), while the other said she would ideally like to be vegan, but not being vegan doesn’t mean she can’t help animals, such as rescuing rabbits from laboratory tests. I asked whether they didn’t think it hypocritical that they were protesting animal testing, when animals are routinely abused, and then slaughtered in food production.

The irony is that I started off as a dietary vegan, but now feel I am more protective of animal rights than most animal rightists, because I understand how unnecessary it is to use animals for anything. In fact, the greatest animal suffering of all is caused by food production, followed by clothing production, laboratory testing and entertainment (zoos, circuses, etc.), according to PETA. Those girls must have been sorry they picked the wrong guy to leaflet!

If you proclaim to love your household pets and other animals in general, then how do you explain being able to eat fish, cows, pigs and chickens, or the product of their suffering, i.e. eggs, milk, dairy products, etc.?

This post is also available in: Japanese

3 thoughts on “How Can “Animal Lovers” Eat Animals?

  1. william Post author

    You raise a good point. According to Jo Stepaniak, “there is virtually no difference between eating animals and wearing them. In fact, all animals used as commodities — even those that are not immediately killed for their products, such as wool-bearing sheep or dairy cows — eventually end up on someone’s plate” http://www.vegsource.com/jo/essays/beyonddiet.htm

  2. Jen

    Wholeheartedly agree. It would almost be worth having a bunch of leaflets about plant-based, compassionate diets to hand out to the leafleters!

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