If we saw an animal in the street being hit across the head, prodded with an electric stick or having their throat cut with a knife, then we would be outraged. Our instinct would be to intervene or call the police to do something about it. If the police found evidence that this kind of animal cruelty took place, they would arrest the person carrying out the act, and the legal system would take over from there. I am sure we would all (most of us anyway) agree that unnecessarily hurting or being cruel to an animal is immoral and we have measures in place in western society to deal with it when it occurs. So if it is immoral to do this to an animal on the street, why is it acceptable to do these very same acts of unnecessary cruelty and harm to animals in slaughterhouses? Eating Meat Legality vs Morality.
“The obligations of law and equity reach only to mankind; but kindness and beneficence should be extended to the creatures of every species, and these will flow from the breast of a true man, as streams that issue from the living fountain.”
Same Same But Different
It may be legal to electrocute, bash the head, and slice the throat of an animal when that animal is classified as a farm animal raised for food (that we don’t need to survive and thrive), but the fact that it is legal does not make it moral. The act is immoral regardless of whether or not the act is deemed to be legal. Slavery and rape used to be legal and still is in some cultures, yet we know these acts are immoral, and we despise them for good reason.
You can be arrested for stabbing an animal in the street (with a legal-carry sized blade) outside a slaughterhouse, yet just a few feet away, the same act is being carried out on hundreds, even thousands of animals every day. In fact, you can hear the screams and smell the death coming from the slaughterhouse, yet the legal system allows the immoral acts to be commonplace and acceptable.
Eating Meat Legality vs Morality
Just because something is not against the law, doesn’t mean it is morally sound. Laws change over time and as our society moves forward and evolves, so do the laws governing it. In the past, laws made slavery, wife beating, rape, segregation, and persecution legal. Even today, we see laws in countries where it is legal to stone people to death or cut off their hands for crimes they may not even be arrested for in the UK. In the US, it is illegal to murder someone but legal in some states to execute someone for murdering; so taking a human life can be both a legal and an illegal act in certain situations.
Hitler committed many crimes against humanity, and many of those acts were, in fact, entirely legal in Germany. Just because something is deemed legal, does not mean it is the right thing to do. In the UK you can’t legally kill a dog, but you can kill a pig. In Cambodia, you can kill a dog or a pig and no one bats an eye. Countries and governments decide what is legal, but we can each make our own decision about what is moral.
One day, laws may make it illegal to eat meat or certainly illegal to farm animals in a factory farm process. Individuals coming together can force society to change. The Vegan movement is growing and growing, gaining momentum and increasing in power. We only have to look at The Veganuary initiative to see that. As the Vegan voice grows louder, society is being forced to take note and listen, and over time change can and will take place.
In short, IMMORAL + LEGAL = STILL IMMORAL!
Speak Up & Be Outspoken
With Ad Gag orders in place in the US making it difficult for activists to speak out against the meat, egg, and dairy industries, we have to make sure we continue to do everything we can legally to stop more restraints coming in. The more people that stand up and make their voice heard in a peaceful way, the more power the Vegan movement will have. Change is made in tiny increments over long periods of time. This can be change for good or bad, so we have to make sure we are making positive changes while standing up against the negative ones.
Morality and legality are two separate things. After knowing everything that animals go through, how can anyone think that it is moral to eat them just because the law says we can? I guess we have to decide where we want to position ourselves. Do we do something that we know is immoral just because the law says it’s ok to do it, or, do we make a stand and do the right thing? While the law says you can eat meat, it doesn’t say you have to.
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