Saturday, June 19, 2010

Part of the solution or part of the problem?

A couple of months ago I joined Facebook, following Brian May there from his Soapbox website to join his Save Me campaign to keep blood sports from being re legalized in Britain. Being a Queen fan, it was a double allegiance. It was like suddenly being catapulted forward at warp speed. I have loved and hated it. Brian closed Save Me, Facebook down last Wednesday because the politics surrounding animal welfare and animal rights in the way of trolls at the site and personal attacks upon himself by the British press had gotten so vicious as to compromise the whole objective of the campaign. It looks like the Save Me website will be rebuilt to serve the campaign in a similar fashion.

I am greatly relieved, actually, because between working on a project and keeping up with Save Me, nothing else was getting done. My house looks like bikers have been partying in here for the last month or two. Don't get me wrong - it has not been a waste of time. I met a great many similar minded people, and a nucleus of us watched some of the most wretched footage of what is wrong with this world's treatment of animals that you could ever imagine, and we all cried together, online, at the horrific abuse of living creatures that takes place daily in this world and wondered how it has come to this. How can the human race be so cruel and unfeeling?

Every day left me emotionally strung out. But I think what bothers me most of all is that being involved in something like this is like beating your head on a wall. It isn't just the trolls that show up to tell you to go live in the "real world" (and much worse!), but the thought that most people do not even consider the exploitation and treatment of animals to be a problem. It is just business as usual. Some genuinely don't know. Some know, but don't want to think about, or don't want their boat rocked. Some don't see a problem - after all these are food animals. That was what I was told when I objected to the horror of unwanted baby male chicks being ground up alive at commercial hatcheries, supplying the commercial egg producers with hen chicks. The worst part of this is that maybe those male chicks are the lucky ones, when you consider what happens to the hens that go on to be raised in crowded dirty conditions, and stuffed into little cages as layers so that they never have a life and must stand on wire cage bottoms for what time they have, then being rewarded with a gruesome death of some sort.

You get to a point where more than anything you don't want to be part of the problem yourself, because you really can't control any more of it than that. Go vegetarian? Well I probably could because I don't care that much about meat, though even I wouldn't want to be strictly vegetarian, and my husband doesn't want to give up meat at all. The only conclusion I can come to is to only buy from ethical producers, which pretty much rules out the big commercial outfits. So that is to shop at the local food coop, which I would love to do, but it will mean spending a lot more on food, and/or spending probably more time preparing food, which cuts into my time for other things, including artwork.

Oh it isn't just meat, it is the whole giant system of corporate agriculture, the big chain stores that have driven our local store owners out of business, or they just scrape by on the periphery by having items that the chains don't carry. The cheap chain goods have caused our jobs to be shipped out of the country to keep up, and the money we spend there goes somewhere else too. All of this cheap food and cheap goods are produced by the exploitation of animals everywhere and the people in developing countries, or by exploiting illegal people in this country. How can we feel good about that? How long can it go on like this? I don't want to keep rewarding this system! I want to reward the people who are doing it right. Bring back local businesses and small producers who care about the welfare of their animals and the quality of their products. Who don't produce the toxic meat and nutritionally barren crops resulting from accepted modern chemical farming practices. Who see a partnership with animals to produce things like eggs and milk, instead of just a power relationship and the bottom line.

Native Americans lived here in the "New World" for 10,000 years without destroying the integrity of the natural world. Western civilization has made a shambles of most of it in 500 years. There is something inherently wrong with the attitude of western civilization, and it is the fact that we assumed we were awarded dominion over the earth, and when the ties with the natural world were eventually broken then it just became a place to exploit for the benefit of humans. Now it is estimated that if the whole world's population is to live to the standards of western civilization, it would take two more planet earths to support us - and for how long?!!