(I always appreciate communicating with open minded carnists and wanted to share my response to her questions).
I appreciate your willingness to chat. I would say that most of our views about animals come from the culture that we grew up in. We have been taught that animals are lower than us and hence we can eat and use them as we like. Very few of us ever challenge this thinking because a) it asks us to challenge other views that we have about our culture and b) it asks us to question our values and ethics. Neither are necessarily easy to do.
It’s as simple as I do not need to eat any animal products, wear clothing that comes from animals, support any form of entertainment that uses animals or buy any products that come from testing on animals. Since I do not need to use animals, I have an ethical choice to make. Do I support the harming and killing of animals for my pleasure, tradition or convenience or do I make choices that are more in alignment with my values?
Very few us have values that support harming animals yet almost all of us engage in harming animals directly or indirectly. The reason that our values do not support harming animals is because at our core, we are kind beings. Why would we want to make another suffer? Why would we possibly want to inflict pain on another if we don’t have to? And of course, whether we harm individuals directly or indirectly, by paying farmers and slaughterhouse workers to do it for us, we are causing harm. This is not in our nature. We have to hide this from ourselves. We have to repress the violence that we cause others, that is why people get so upset when a vegan shares this information with them. Because we now a choice. We either continue to repress this information (which becomes more difficult) or we make a new choice. I admire your willingness to look.
Whether someone addresses this from a spiritual or religious perspective, both center on the idea of compassion. We can make compassionate choices three times a day by choosing to eat beans, legumes, grains, nuts and seeds, fruits and vegetables. I find it difficult to near impossible to believe in a God that would put creatures here for us to force breed, confine, torture and ultimately kill, when we don’t have a biological need to do so. That would not be a compassionate God.
Speciesism is what allows for all other forms of isms. If human beings believe that they are superior to another animal (since we are all animals), then it makes it easier to believe that we are superior to other races, religions, sexes, sexuality and the like. Speciesism is the the largest form of ism and also the most ignored. The industries that profit from animal exploitation are begging you to ignore me and your heart. They only survive (and sadly thrive) due to our ignorance of speciesism or our unwillingness to look. Thanks for looking.
*Courtesy of The Thinking Vegan