You assume that we don’t cry for our animals, as you attack us for our way of life, calling us ‘murderers’ ‘rapists’ ‘child snatchers’ ‘abusers’. You don’t see the hours of hard, physical, sweating work we put in to giving our livestock the best life we possibly can. You don’t see the tears when a favourite dairy cow comes to the end of her life, the tears when you lose a lamb that you thought had perked up. You can’t see the sense of pride when you win a rosette at the local show with your best animal, the sense of satisfaction when you see your herd or flock grazing the fields.
The relationship between man and beast is as old as time itself. There is no argument that homosapiens would have developed to the point we are at now without the utilisation of animals. They fed us, clothed us, enabled us to grow other food sources and to travel. And that journey of human development has not happened via the exploitation of animals, it has happened via the relationship we, as humans, can build with animals.
It is often said that humans ‘domesticated’ livestock. I think that suggests that animals are a lot less intelligent than they really are. Certain animals realised they had more to benefit from sticking with the humans and being fed, sheltered, and looked after, than being out in the open with their predators for company. Survival instinct, natural selection, call it what you will, but the suggestion that we ‘conquered’ these wild animals and claimed them through no choice of their own is at best idealistic and, at worst, absurd. We do not exploit animals, we work with them.
There is a reason that only certain people can work in livestock farming. The relationship between a farmer and their livestock is built out of respect. We respect our animals, we respect their strength, we respect their ability to feel pain, we respect their ability to produce offspring to feed a greedy planet, we respect their right to a good, healthy life, and above all – we respect their right to a death that is as quick and pain free as it can possibly be. It is this ability to respect and love an animal, and still be able to end its life that makes those that work with livestock exceptional. And just because you can’t comprehend that relationship, it doesn’t mean that it is ultimately wrong.
And it isn’t wrong if you can’t comprehend that relationship. That is how it came to be that there were farmers, and there were also leather workers, stone masons, ironworkers, and all the other professions that came along as mankind developed with the help of the animal kingdom. But just as we all respect animals, we all need to respect other people a little more too. Just because someone else does something or believes something that you don’t think is right, it doesn’t mean you need to pass opinion in a way that makes that person feel attacked, insulted, sad, scared, or otherwise. Think before you speak (or type).
In the words of the great Arethra Franklin…”R-E-S-P-E-C-T”