Finding Middle Ground: Animal Rights

I have decided to start a series on my blog called “Finding Middle Ground” in the hopes that I can smooth down any extreme opinions people may have.

I realize that not everyone holds a polarized opinion on every topic, but it’s easy to fall into the mentality of “us vs. them” in the internet era. I want to squash that. I want to see people getting along with each other and finding ways to work together so we can live in a less shitty world. There’s middle ground in almost every single argument, and too many times I have seen people walk away frustrated and unwilling to understand each other’s point of view. I’m sure you’ve seen it too. There’s also a certain point when we have to put our opinions aside, realize that they don’t actually matter that much, and find solutions to our problems instead. So here’s the first installment for you to enjoy and hopefully apply to your own life.

For my first post, I decided to pick a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I was vegan for a few years, but I eventually went back to eating meat. Why? Because I didn’t feel like I was really making much of a difference. The only thing it ever did was cause me to feel like a weirdo at family gatherings and to gain a bunch of weight. There are a few vegan practices I still keep, but overall I’ve found a happy balance in my life.

Here are some pro-animal rights opinions some people may have:

  • Animals have feelings, just like humans
  • They should not be used for food
  • We shouldn’t test products on animals
  • They are innocent creatures
  • Animal consumption hurts the environment
  • The fur, feather, and leather industry causes unnecessary harm

There are a few others that I didn’t include on this list because they are religion-specific.

Here are some opposing opinions:

  • We need to be able to properly feed our population
  • We have used animals since the beginning of time for food and clothing
  • It’s unethical to test products on humans
  • People are more important than animals
  • Meat, eggs, and dairy are healthy
  • Animals are resources, just like everything else on the planet
“What the hell is tofu?”

I share some of the opinions from both lists, and I’m hoping you do too. If not, this post is for you! Let’s open our minds a little.

It doesn’t matter whether you think animals deserve rights or not. It matters whether it affects our world negatively or not.

Environment – According to this, this, this, this, and this we are WAY better off not having factory farms. If you aren’t going to the farmer’s market or local butcher, then you are contributing to factory farms. They are also called “CAFO’s,” which stands for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Basically cramming as many animals as is legally possible onto a piece of land so as to sell animal goods (like eggs, meat, and dairy). It causes the depletion of the nutrients in our soil, releases tons of harmful gasses into the air, causes noise pollution, increases rates of disease within livestock population (raising the need for antibiotic usage), increases disease rates in people who live nearby, and pollutes water sources (killing the fish in surrounding bodies of water), and yet these farms still somehow manage to pull in government subsidies.

Materials – The leather industry produces waste, and according to this PubMed paper, that waste causes a lot of health and environmental issues. The chemicals in the leather and the dust that comes off of it is pretty questionable too, even being linked to cancer. Chemicals like formaldehyde, sulphuric acid, aluminum sulphate, and acetic acid are used in the production of leather and causes skin diseases in the people who work at these factories. So it’s pretty dangerous to make, but it’s also not really that healthy for people to use either. I’ll also point out that you can have a comfortable pillow without using feathers. You can also have a warm coat without using fur. It’s completely optional for you, but keep that in mind.

“I killed Mufasa.”

Health – It’s a little harder to gauge this one because studies on diet are CONSTANTLY in opposition. Not to mention, most of these studies can’t possibly take every variable into account. We know that different nutrients effect the absorption of others. We know that hormones, gut bacteria, diseases, genetics, and even gender are all factors that determine what exactly a “healthy diet” is for someone. This one can only be determined by each individual person. For example, you can use the argument that iron from animal sources digest and process more efficiently in the body than plant sources, but that depends on too many factors from a person to person basis that include whatever else that person may be consuming alongside the iron.

Animal testing – Animal experimentation is outdated. I say this because it doesn’t reliably determine how something is going to affect a human. This study shows my point exactly. This one too.

There are so many people we need to feed, all with different dietary needs I might add, that omitting animal products could be a really bad idea. I’ve established that leather is harmful, that animal testing isn’t really reliable, and that factory farms are undeniably terrible for the environment.

Maybe if we focused less on whether animals are deserving of rights, or if they are better or worse than humans based on morality, and instead we focused on our solutions, maybe we could actually see meaningful conversation take place between the redneck, die-hard, hunters and the vegan, PETA-loving, activists.

THE MIDDLE GROUND

Pollution is bad for the planet and for the humans that inhabit it. We could reduce pollution by either not eating meat, buying it from local sources, or hunting it ourselves.

Leather isn’t very good for us either, so maybe using less leather in our lives, or not using it at all, would be good for everyone’s health.

We should focus our energy on finding an alternative way to test chemicals and products. It would help us to have more reliable data for humans. How can we help? Buy products that aren’t tested on animals.

NOBODY likes to kill a helpless creature whether you particularly care for them or not. Assuming you’re not a sociopath, you don’t want to just kill animals when you see them, nor do you enjoy the sight of their suffering.

Check the box. You know you want to.

If you’d like to see a particular topic addressed, feel free to leave me a comment on this post, or go to my page titled “Want to get ahold of me?” and send me a direct message!

What do you think about the topic of animal rights?

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