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Pages 10 - 11

Why Veg?

Animals are not objects...  They are sentient beings

That means they are able to experience and to know. Like humans they feel complex emotions. Love, fear, distress, joy, humour, pride, shame, and many others have been documented in many animals. They feel pain as humans do. They are capable of thinking and planning, and can form strong social bonds, with one another and with humans. Each has a unique personality.(1)

(1)   Many people have come to this conclusion through their relationships with their pets and other animals.  However if more evidence is required, the following books have a great deal of documented evidence.

Masson J (2003) "The Pig Who Sang to the Moon – The Emotional World of Farm Animals" New York: Ballantine

Masson J & McCarthy S (1995) “When Elephants Weep – The Emotional Lives of Animals” New York: Dell Publishing

Balcombe J (2006) “Pleasurable Kingdom – Animals and the Nature of Feeling Good” Hounds Mills, Hampshire: Macmillan

Transportation horrors.

"Do we, as humans, having an ability to reason and to communicate abstract ideas verbally and in writing, and to form ethical and moral judgements using the accumulated knowledge of the ages, have the right to take the lives of other sentient organisms, particularly when we are not forced to do so by hunger or dietary need, but rather do so for the somewhat frivolous reason that we like the taste of meat?

In essence, should we know better?"

Contemporary Issues in Animal Agriculture

Sows kept in isolated confinement suffer psychological problems(2), which can be expressed by compulsively chewing on the bars(3).

(2)   Mason G (1991) "Stereotypies: a critical review" Animal Behaviour, vol 41 (1015-1037)

(3)   Fraser D (1975) "The effect of straw on the behaviour of sows in tether stalls" Animal Production, vol 21 (59-68)

This article also studied other behaviours of sow in stalls.  Comparing what they do when they have no stimulation, to when they have a little bit of straw (not usually provided on factory farms).

Instinct or feeling? Or both?

Each species including humans tends to perform certain behaviours, expressions and actions. These are different from one species to another, though there are many overlaps particularly between closely related species (for example all mammals share motherly instincts). For all of us, our behaviours and expressions show that we’ve thought or felt something. There’s no reason to believe other animals feel any less when they do something, even though their way of acting may be less familiar to us, and they don’t express their thoughts in words.

“Aren’t they less important?”

This question shouldn’t even be considered in deciding whether it is okay to exploit other animals - in this context it is subjective and irrelevant. When we decide whether or not to exploit other humans, only empathy is important: to see things from the other’s perspective.  An animal’s ability to experience things personally, to feel pain and frustration, is probably identical to a human’s ability - and that’s what’s important.  If we understand this but still decide to exploit other animals, we must consider it as callous as exploiting another human in the same way.

"Various philosophers and religious leaders tried to convince their disciples and followers that animals are nothing more than machines without a soul, without feelings.  However, anyone who has ever lived with an animal – be it a dog, a bird or even a mouse – knows that this theory is a brazen lie, invented to justify cruelty."

ISAAC BASHEVIS SINGER, Nobel Laureate, author, philosopher

"Humans, who enslave, castrate, experiment on, and fillet other animals – have had an understandable penchant for pretending animals do not feel pain.

A sharp distinction between humans and 'animals' is essential if we are to bend them to our will, make them work for us, wear them, eat them – without any disquieting tinges of guilt or regret. It is unseemly of us, who often behave so unfeelingly toward other animals, to contend that only humans can suffer. 

The behavior of other animals renders such pretensions specious.  They are just too much like us."

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors, 1992

Just rescued from the manure pits a hen’s comb is caked with faeces(4).

(4)   Photos from original Vegan Outreach booklet

"Anyone who has studied the social life of birds carefully will know that theirs is a subtle and complex world, where food and water are only a small part of their behavioural needs. The brain of each bird is programmed with a complicated set of drives and responses that set it on the path to a life full of special territorial, nesting, roosting, grooming, parental, aggressive and sexual activities in addition to the simple feeding behaviour. All these are denied the battery hens."(5)

Dr DESMOND MORRIS, Zoologist, author and animal behaviourist

(5)   Druce C & Lymbery P (2002) "Outlawed in Europe: How America Is Falling Behind Europe in Farm Animal Welfare" New York: Archimedean Press (p 20)

Jane, a battery hen just after rescue. She received veterinary care and a new home, and just three months after rescue was covered in healthy white feathers, enjoying her freedom.(4)

Crowded pens are the norm for pigs being raised for meat.(4)

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