Is it just me, or do you also hear people all around you saying that they love animals? They might see a bird perched outside their window and say, “Awww… how cute! I love animals.” If someone has a dog or a cat, or even a goldfish in a tiny glass bowl, he’ll usually describe himself as an “animal lover.”
But simply having a pet is no guarantee that a person takes good care of it. He might love it in much the same way that someone loves a favorite sweater: as an object, not as a living being. Or he might treat it as something to exert power over, which can hardly be thought of as love at all. But even if a pet owner takes such good care of one or two creatures that he can be said to love them, it doesn’t necessarily qualify him as an “animal lover.”
The term “animal lover” implies that a person loves all animals: dogs, cats, fish, rats, chickens, cows, etc. And if he does, such a person would surely consider becoming vegan and taking a stand against hunting or hurting cows, chicken, fish, and every other sentient creature. If, however, a true animal lover considers it absolutely necessary to consume certain animals for some reason, then he would at least investigate the farms that raised his cows and chickens, in order to be certain that they are treated as humanely as possible.
But far too many self-described animal lovers don’t take any such steps. It is blatant hypocrisy to say that you love animals and yet fail to demonstrate that love in even the most basic ways.
Sadly, most people buy their meat from supermarkets where low cost is the norm and wealthy, faceless corporations are in control. People generally hate that the world is ruled by the rich, and yet many of the same people hold tight to their own money and help to maintain the gap between rich and poor by maintaining lifestyles that benefit corporate interests.
Those corporate interests are plainly defined by the doctrine of making money at any cost. Big businesses don’t care about the consumer’s health or about the welfare of animals, just as long as they’re make high rates of return. In today’s market, the only reason why more healthful and eco-friendly foods exist is because of those consumers who demonstrate genuine commitment to their principles and go the extra mile to obtain and support alternative food products.
The same cultural divide exists in the world of clothing and fashion. Some people say that they cannot avoid wearing fur, leather, or wool, because other materials are not as weather-resistant or durable. Yet others have committed themselves to exploring their options and have found certain alternatives, including thick cotton clothing and polyurethane boots, to be just as useful, even in the cold of winter.
Many of those alternatives are more environmentally friendly, which just illustrates another dimension of the hypocrisy of the average consumer. It’s not hard to find people who claim to be concerned about the environment but wouldn’t think twice about throwing a plastic bottle into a landfill-bound trashcan if it was more convenient than recycling. Similarly, some people in modern society throw away perfectly good food that has been in the refrigerator for as little as a few days.
Either type of waste is incompatible with concerns for health and ethics. Stated principles can go right out the window when someone is challenge to change his routine behavior. If a person says that he can’t afford to shop at a health food store, yet spends hundred of dollars on things like facial creams and purchases clothing even when his closet is already heaping full, that is blatant hypocrisy.
It’s tragic to hear people proclaim themselves as caring for animals and the environment, and then later encounter them complaining or wasting their mental energies on far more trivial things. Every time someone gets caught up in tabloid news or worries over a scratch on his car, he’s ignoring the fact that there are more pressing problems – even problems that he’s recognized – which he can actually do something about this very moment.
That sort of ignorance and that sort of hypocrisy are the essential reasons why corporations retain the power they have today. They are the reasons why cruelty continues to be inflicted upon animals, even as consumers have the power to bring a stop to it with the choices that they make every day. The world will remain ugly, selfish, and polluted as long as there are so many people who hold good principles in their hearts and yet utterly fail to act upon them.
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