Many advocates point out the unfairness in loving some animals, while eating or wearing others.
Why do we eat pigs and love dogs?
In veganism, that question is a sort of red herring. The real question is why we’ve bred either from their once-free ancestors: boars and wolves. Imagine the evolution and history the animals could have had, if we had let them be.
The early vegans were appalled that humanity had cut off other animals’ evolutionary paths—and to a “stupendous” extent. They wrote this into their founding definition of vegan.
And now here we are, living in the time of the Sixth Great Extinction. Here we are, living in a time in which our bodies and the bodies of our vast entourage of purpose-bred animals (both “food” and “friends”) is crushing the natural evolution of communities on this Earth.
Domestication Is a Multi-Layered Injustice
Animals ought to be entitled to lead their lives on their terms. Our regard for them shouldn’t hinge on whether or not we think they could be loveable to us. Whether or not they tend to tolerate us. Whether or not holding and possessing them might please or benefit us.
So, then, why would we need to make them into “friends” in order to champion their interests?
The ancestors of the small being in the banner photo were wolves. We robbed that dog and billions of other dogs of their evolution. With friends like Homo sapiens…
A liberation movement does the simple thing. It points to the unfairness in insisting on having other animals—whether to eat them or wear them or cuddle them. It asks us to simply acknowledge imposed vulnerability to human control when we see it.
Then it acknowledges that no matter how dear our animals are to us…
Domestication layers injustice upon injustice. It’s unfair to those who are placed into systems of vulnerability and commodification. And it’s unfair to the ancestral groups we stamp out in the process of our ruthless expansion over the planet.
Every pet shop stands on territory that once was the habitat of the wolves and the free-living cats. Earth is finite, so domestication really is a zero-sum game, and it’s anything but friendly. This should not be so hard for us to admit. Going to the root of something is the simplest thing we can do. What’s complicated? The justifications for every unjust system we sustain.
Love and liberation,
With thanks to Chris Kelly for thoughts that expanded and enriched this blog entry.
Photo credit: Rafael Guajardo, via Pexels.