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Vox Fails to Mention 56 Billion Lives in Piece on Animal Suffering

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Last night, Jacy Reese, an advocate and employee of Animal Charity Evaluators, published an article on Vox entitled, “Wild animals endure illness, injury, and starvation. We should help.While he brought up many beautifully argued points about our intrinsic ties to nature and our duty to protect the creatures that exist within that seemingly distant realm, he neglected and ignored one major point: the needless and violent slaughter of 56 billion farmed animals all over the world.

What makes their welfare and protection less important? Is it that they have not been romanticized in the same way that wild animals have been? Has domestication distanced them from us so much that they are so easily forgotten? We consume non-human animals, use them for food, clothing, and entertainment, and their status of existing within our domesticated world causes their needs to go ignored. This is unjust. Vox’s plight, to fail to make the connection, was yet another example of the do-good liberal mentality that puts some animals on a higher plane of importance than others.

It’s a roller coaster of an article. Questions are asked, ethics are questioned, and zero answers are given, apart from the necessity to do more research.

“Of course, this might not work out for various reasons,” he tells us, elaborating on culling wild horse and deer herds for population control, “so we need research exploring whether these are effective, safe means of helping wild animals. As we gain new technologies and improve our understanding of wild animal welfare, some proposed solutions will likely become defunct and new ones will emerge.”

Yes, of course research ought to be devoted to innovative ways to protect wildlife, but the most effective solution is right in front of us- an entirely vegan lifestyle. Is this a quick fix? There’s no such thing as a quick fix when it comes to reversing ecological damage, but it’s a massively important fix; and it’s not mentioned one single time in the entirety of Mr. Reese’s article. For veganism to go entirely unmentioned leaves readers feeling both helpless without solutions, but satisfied that they’ve filled their quota of Caring About Animals for the day.

It makes us feel better to help “likeable” animals, and rarely will people argue against the majesty of a creature in the wilderness. They’re considered to be national treasures from country to country and have instilled a sense of wonder in all of us. Livestock animals are social and beautiful as well, but our desensitization to their treatment causes us to turn a blind eye and ignore just how special and lovely these beings are. Publishing articles that do not once mention veganism or animal liberation for all beings is a dangerous road to go down as an advocate for animals, and further enables a speciesist agenda. Society is given the ability to nod their heads in agreement, bow down to the beauty of nature, and continue to put slaughtered animals on their plates every single day.

His attack on the natural world is admittedly thoughtful, but the questions are endless and the solutions are nill. Where is our responsibility to help wild animals, and do we even have one? Well, absolutely, so long as we do not attack the natural world and put too much of an influence on an ecosystem. But let’s take a step back for a moment- who has pushed nature to its current limit? Who is responsible for the loss of habitat, to the devastation wrought upon the planet that we share with those that inhabit the wilderness?

I’m wondering who has caused the environment to fall into such a disastrous zone, one that is harmful to undomesticated animals in the first place. It’s us, Mr. Reese. It’s humanity and our endless consumption, and there is an answer to so many of the cases that you present- veganism. The necessary take down of the animal agricultural industry. The paradigm shift that may soon be upon us when our desire to consume the “lower” creatures of the planet turns into the same passionate protection that you advocate for in your defense of the wild.

“Our outrage and compassion shouldn’t stop there,” Reese implores when he describes measures taken against trophy hunting. Suddenly, we seem to be getting somewhere! But, he continues, “human exploitation of animals is horrific and needs to be stamped out, but we should consider taking action against another considerable force of pain and suffering for wild animals- nature itself.”  

Nature is cruel, Mr. Reese, and nature follows no code of moral ethics, because it has no choice. The good news, is that as human animals, we can make the choice for ourselves to protect all animals. Wildlife will without a doubt benefit from a cultural transition to veganism. Imagine their habitats reclaimed! Imagine living within a society that values all animal life equally, and instead of focusing efforts on “humane” meat and farming, focuses their efforts on a kinder and more compassionate world. The only way we can do that is to make the transition into being a vegan society, and begin to see ourselves as a part of nature, not as people who exist on the other side of it.

Wild animal life has undoubtedly been harmed by the animal agriculture industry, as deforestation and species extinction are both directly linked to the land needed to ranch livestock and space to grow food supply. Let’s look at the Amazon, a rich ecosystem with an incredible amount of biodiversity. Our fascination with the Amazonian rainforests may be short lived, as almost a fifth of its forestry has disappeared within the last fifty years as factory farming continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. With this kind of reduction in rainforest cover comes the destruction, the complete extinction, of numerous species.

Current projections tell us that we can expect to lose nine species per 31 by 31 mile by 2050 , with the extinction rate ramping itself up even after that loss. Veganism cannot continue to be idealized as a lifestyle that only focuses on domesticated animals. It is a crucial lifestyle change for the entire planet and is a non-negotiable when it comes to preserving the ecosystems that we hold dear. Wild animals benefit just as much as farmed animals do from one’s choice to go vegan.

Wildlife is more than worthy of our love and protection, but so is the pig in the carrying truck and the cow having her child seized out from under her. Please, when discussing animal welfare, open up the umbrella. It’s a big, cruel world out there, and we can do better. We can save them all.

There’s a solution. Offer it.

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