Outraged Over The Rostchild Cat Torture Case? You Should Be Vegan
Two men have been sent to jail in Moss Point, Mississippi, for the torture of a caged cat. Ladderick Rostchild and Larry Rostchild, Jr. shared a video of themselves scalding a cat, and it went viral across social media. Sadly, the cat later died from his/her injuries.
Ladderick was found guilty of aggravated animal abuse and was sentenced to 6 months in jail along with a $2,500 fine. Larry, who pleaded guilty for simple abuse, was sentenced to 30 days in jail along with a $1000 fine. Both Ladderick and Larry have also been sentenced to 200 hours of community service at the Jackson County Animal Shelter, something that one “animal advocate” in the courtroom described as “the most incredible part of the sentence.” Officers in the courthouse were presented with a “thank you” letter signed by over 13,000 people who wanted to share their gratitude for the conviction.
There are two interrelated points to be made in response to this case.
The first is that anyone who is upset by this story and who is not a vegan is not thinking clearly. Ladderick and Larry inflicted horrendous suffering and death on an animal for no good reason. They engaged in what we would all consider the infliction of unnecessary suffering and death. As moral beings, we recognise that our own pleasure and amusement does not constitute a valid justification for these actions. We all accept this because if we didn’t, then we could justify any violence or oppression on the basis that we find it pleasurable. We rightly reject such ideas as monstrous.
But there’s no difference between this cat and the 60 billion land animals and trillion or so aquatic animals we exploit annually for food. It’s 2017, not even the most conservative health organisations maintain that anyone needs to consume animal products to be optimally healthy. Indeed, there is much evidence to show that animal products are detrimental to human health.
So how are we different than the Rostchild duo?
We are not.
Ladderick and Larry enjoy tormenting and torturing caged cats. We enjoy consuming the flesh and secretions of animals, who as sentient beings are no less morally valuable than the cat. They are subject to the same unnecessary suffering and death that we have condemned this pair for. It makes no difference morally whether we exploit the animals ourselves or whether we pay somebody else to do it. Every time we go to the supermarket and pick up a styrofoam pack of flesh or animal secretion, we are responsible for inflicting suffering and death morally indistinguishable from the suffering and death inflicted by the Rotschilds. It is all unnecessary.
It makes no sense to condemn one but not the other. Indeed, it is morally inconsistent and speciesist to do so. Imagine the thousands of signatories in that thank you letter to the court who are not vegan. Consider the hypocrisy – condemning two men for what they’ve done to one animal whilst simultaneously inflicting a parallel hell on others that we’ve arbitrarily deemed to have lesser value.
Being vegan is the only rational response to a rejection of the Rotschilds’ behaviour.
Secondly, what do we hope to achieve by sending these men to prison? While their actions are morally unjustifiable, so are the actions of every non-vegan in demanding the continuation of animal exploitation. It would not be productive, however, to send every non-vegan on the planet to prison. The Rotschilds’ sentences, and the subsequent cries of “victory” from “animal advocates,” do nothing but perpetuate the idea that there is a morally relevant distinction to be made between one form of animal use and another. There isn’t.
When cases like this occur, we need to help educate others to see that the injustice they object to necessarily requires a rejection of the identical injustices that they themselves participate in. The last thing “animal advocates” should be doing is assuring the non-vegan public that the “animal abusers” are safely behind bars. We are being told that this is justice, all while the two men are served animal products in their prison cells and the public dig into their meals of torture and death at home.
All animal use is “abuse,” sending people to prison isn’t going to change that. The only way to do right by animals is by going vegan and educating others to do the same.