July 23, 2007

Think Of The Animals We Don’t Protect

Posted in animal advocacy, family, real life, vegan at 8:23 pm by nevavegan

With all the attention on Michael Vick and his dog fighting and dog killing activities, many of us, myself included, forgot momentarily that far worse than this goes on day after day, hour after hour, year after year, on farms and in slaughterhouses all over the country.

As a nation we tend to divide ourselves into distinct categories, and choose beliefs and traditions meant to define us culturally and ethically. I wrote before that animal fighting was a tradition in my family, and in fact my great grandfather won the seed money to open his hardware store from running cock fights. His children though distanced themselves from animal fighting, preferring the image that went along with owning and store and a house, to that of the opportunistic vagabond who blew in on the west wind to gamble, sleep in gutters, and fight animals. They only touched birds who were cooked and served on plates. They didn’t gather and place bets in dark alleys. Of course they saw nothing wrong with hunting or farming though, occupations that they saw as denoting a higher social class.

I am not proud of this family history, but I find it informative. This tangible connection from me through a generation still living, to more blood thirsty traditions. Traditions that are looked down on by most of society. It’s easy to cry out against practices done by the few, conducted underground, that smack of backwardness and open cruelty. But meanwhile we don’t often question where our food comes from. We deplore obvious blood lust, but tolerate covert cruelty done for our convenience.

As horrorific as I find dog fighting and cock fighting, I have to remember that the torture behind all those neatly packaged Styrofoam trays of flesh in the grocery store is equally terrible. That the suffering of animals kept alive to produce milk and eggs, only to be killed when their production drops, is much like the suffering of dogs bred and forced to fight, and killed when they lose. Intensive confinement, painful tail and ear docking (as well as debeaking and amputation of toes), electric shocks, open wounds, all of these are found in animal agriculture. Rape racks are not an invention of dog fighting rings, they are part of animal agriculture, designed to force reproduction on animals so traumatized and deprived that they would no longer reproduce on their own. Even on small family farms, reproduction is not the choice of the farmed animals, but is carefully planned and implemented to maximize profit for the farmers.

We don’t want to legislate dog fighting to make it more humane or less lethal. Instead we want it stopped entirely. Maybe we should start thinking about other animals, equally innocent but totally unprotected, in the same terms.



  1. Drasch23 said,

    Great post.

    I couldn’t have said it any better.


  2. Adam Kochanowicz said,

    Excellent bringing up this point. There is so much focus and “yippee!” in the veg community because we’ve been tossed a bone in the animal rights community. Sure, I care about the violence imposed from Vick, but I’m not wasting my energy on it. He’ll get some light punishment, and the worse cruelty will continue to be imposed on creatures with slightly different appearances. Ugh.

  3. bazu said,


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