Humanimal

An important part about changing the world for the better is having a better understanding of our place in it. Human life is in no way superior to any other life – there’s no scientific evidence to support otherwise. We’re not the fastest (Peregrine Falcon), but we’re not the laziest (Koala). We’re not the largest (Blue Whale), but we’re not the smallest (Paedophryne amauensis). We can’t fly. We can’t store food in our faces. We can’t hibernate. Sure, we’ve mastered transportation in many facets, long term food storage options and the understanding of sleep cycles. But, at what cost? While some will argue that the human race does have (what is considered) superior intelligence, I don’t believe that means as much as we think it does. For example, superior intelligence, coupled with self awareness, has negatively manifested itself for the human race as mental health issues. While we are considered omnivorous as a whole, consuming animal products doesn’t give us a free pass to not care. Even if you don’t lead a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, you can still (& should) lead a humane existence.

While human beings exist particularly high on the food chain, I don’t personally believe we’re at the top. Being omnivorous (as a whole) we are naturally higher than all herbivores, but only because that’s how the food chain works. When it comes to other omnivores (raccoons, piranhas & grizzly bears), and especially more carnivorous species (wolves, lions, polar bears & alligators), we’re no apex predators.

While there are some human beings out there fully capable of killing a wild animal manually, the majority of us cannot do that. Hunting tools such as guns, crossbows & traps give us a considerable advantage, so I do not consider those kills when considering our place on the food chain. However, for the same reason others would argue humans are apex predators. Superior intelligence grants us many advantages, such as the opportunity to live among other animals without having to fear or unnecessarily kill them. Humans don’t need to be apex predators.

For some people, eating animal products & by-products is essential to their being & there’s nothing wrong with that… as long as these products are sourced responsibly. At this point, I think it’s more than cruel to give into the companies known for controversial practices. Especially in knowing those companies have the capability to change & under extreme pressure, they will – for everyone’s betterment. There are some general federal regulations, but not enough where it matters, imo. Even the regulations for organic meant are much to be desired:

The super short answer is that meat from cows that graze freely on grass for their entire lives is the best for your health, thanks to a healthier fat profile and more antioxidants. Most (not all) grass-fed beef is also organic, which is even better, since you know the cattle are eating pure, pesticide-free grass. But organic beef can also come from cattle fed organic grain.

That’s where it starts to get complicated, but don’t worry, [they’re] here to explain.

Due to the lack of specific conversations like this, legal regulations don’t help consumers much. Luckily in the age of information, consumers are taking it upon ourselves to be educated beyond public knowledge. We are quickly realizing there are easy ways to enjoy any lifestyle without completely straight up disrespecting someone else’s, including animals.

Obviously if you eat meat that means an animal’s life was sacrificed in the process. But harvesting meat doesn’t have to be the archaic process it became in the industrial revolution, and meat isn’t the only product animals have to offer humans. Animal by-products are a way for human beings and other species to live the together.

For example: It is possible for a honey bee hive to produce more honey than the hive needs or can hold. The bees could even drown in it. In this case the queen will abandon the hive in search of new real estate. Beekeeping has far evolved from fogging & drop frame boxes. Beekeeping has always been a branch of the farming industry where the farmers are very concerned with their livestock. Bee populations are dwindling & beekeepers are working hard to keep them thriving, for all our sake. There are many independently run organizations that will certify honey as cruelty free. But, is Cruelty Free Honey considered vegan?

“Technically, no, since it is manufactured by an insect. But does it contain mostly vegan plant materials, such as pollen and nectar? Yes. Are bees killed to produce honey or beeswax? No. In fact, most beekeepers around the globe are concerned with the dwindling population of bees and would never kill a hive full of bees just to manufacture honey or skin care products” (source).

The sentiment that beekeepers have for their hives, is typically shared by family farmers. Buying from smaller, family owned & operated, local farms is usually an easy way to ensure animals aren’t processed like inanimate objects, though other abuse may occur & that’s always something to consider.

It’s a slippery slope for ethical omnivores nowadays, let’s be honest. Everyone has to do their own research & make a personal list of moral priorities.

My biggest rule is no matter where it came from, if an animal sacrificed anything for me to indulge I cannot waste it. If I can’t finish it, my cat, or the wild foxes will.


Glossary:

  • Apex Predator: predator at the top of a food chain that is not preyed upon by any other animal
  • Herbivore: animal that eats plants only
  • Omnivore: animal that eats plants and other animals
  • Carnivore: animal that eats other animals only
  • Vegetarian: person who chooses not to eat any animal products
  • Vegan: person who chooses to not eat any animal products or by-products (milk, eggs, honey)

Look for my future posts in this series:

  • Community Cats
  • We Don’t Deserve Dogs
  • Underappreciated Pets
  • Oh Deer
  • Birds & Bees
  • They’re Not Rats
  • Necessary Pests
  • Vegan Isn’t The Answer

“Not all those who wander are lost.”

J.R.R. Tolkien

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