Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Independence for Animals

This Indepence Day think about the irony of your brother-in-law barbecuing animals on the grill while we celebrate our country's freedom.

All living beings yearn to be free.

Throughout our country's history, women didn't want to be in the shadow of men -- dependent on men for their livelihood, not allowed to vote, legally beaten by their husbands. Africans and African-Americans fought for freedom from their chains, from their slave masters, from segregation. Gays and lesbians fight to be free of the stigma that many in society stick on them. They push to be able to marry whom they choose, to be recognized under the law as family.

And animals, who are unable to voice their struggles, their pain, also want to be free. They want to live their lives naturally, not confined to cages. Chickens want to bathe in dust and roost on their unhatched chicks. Pigs want to wallow in mud baths, snorting with glee. Cows want to nurture their calves, to feed them milk from their udders. Ducks and geese want to fly. Deer want to meander through woods and eat leaves.

So this weekend as you prepare to celebrate your own freedom with your family and friends, instead of contributing to the confinement, suffering and murder of others, grill some veggie burgers and tofu dogs instead.

1 comment:

padraig said...

While I agree that animals (even domestics) want to pursue their animal nature, I think you have to be very careful not when anthropomorphizing what this actually means.

"Animals yearn to be free" isn't (IMO) accurate; a pig wants to do piggy things, a dog wants to do doggy things, and in that sense they want to be free to be what they are. But they don't strictly yearn to be "free" in the general human definition of "free"; this presupposes a level of self-awareness and cognitive ability of abstraction that is demonstrably not present in most animal species.