Love implies that you do not eat, pay to have abused or tacitly condone the suffering of an animal regardless of how much you like the taste.
Sometimes when I'm in bed and the covers get wrapped around my body, I feel the panic begin to set in. The thought of being constricted and unable to move freely creates an overwhelming sense of distress. Now, usually I'm able to extricate myself from the tangle of blankets quickly and the trauma is short-lived.
But, it is in those few moment I remember why I fight so hard for animals. Most animals used for food, entertainment or fashion are never relieved of this condition of constant claustrophobic inducing conditions. Their entire lives are spent in conditions that make spending a few moment wrapped too tightly in the bedsheets seem quite trivial.
These animals must endure a lifetime of being confined and constricted (a lifetime cut unnaturally short by an untimely execution). And we know that there are psychological ramifications to such treatment. One need only visited a zoo to see how the slightly larger cages allocated to the inmates there do not fail to yield that same blatant signs of mental distress. Watch for the pacing lion walking back and forth aimlessly or the bored great apes playing in their feces or staring off blankly.
And it is far worse for the likes of pigs, chickens, and cows. Long periods and even entire lifetimes are spent in cages only slightly wider than the farmed animal's body. And there are plenty of documented cases of severe distress resulting from confinement. From gnawing on the bars of their cage endlessly to chickens pecking each other to death from frustration and violence induced from cramped quarters, mankind is allowing the extreme mental abuse of animals caused by a lifetime of confinement in exchange for a few moments of gustatory pleasure.
How embarrassing for mankind that we would deprive entire species of their basic freedoms for something so unnecessary as the momentary thrill of taste pleasure. We are no better than the dictator that enslaves his people or commits genocide against certain ethnic groups. Mankind is the greatest oppressor and violator of basic civil liberties that this world will ever know. And the only justification for our actions that can be arrived at for why we do it is: because we can.
Might does not make right. We scoff at the Romans and their gladiatorial games. We condemn Hitler and Stalin. We judge those who owned slaves and defended slavery. And at the very same time, support, fund and protect a system that rivals all of these past horrors in the amount of suffering, misery, and distress caused. Civilization has never been civil... and that must change!
There is Nothing Funny About Bacon!
Why do I not just let it go when someone calls any of my pig daughters bacon or sausage? Let me explain:
I have lived with pigs for almost a year now. And in that time it has become abundantly clear that were they merely able to speak a little English, pigs would be easily mistaken for young humans. The way they love and enjoy companionship is far more human than any dog I have ever known. Yes, dogs worship us (which shows how little they understand us). But pigs take us for who we are and give us their love and respect based on our actions (as a human child would do). They are also very thoughtful and meditative animals. One need only try to trick a pig into doing something that they don't want to do to find it abundantly clear that they are far too wise for any such tricks. Pumpkin the pig knows every possible clue that might suggest my intention is to carry her outside (a process she is not found of until she is happily outside). I can see her taking in my body language, processing it and reacting accordingly.
Pigs get jealous in the same way we do. Just as a young child would get jealous of a new sibling coming into the home, I have watched Charlotte both adore her sister Millie but then at other times cry out in frustration when Millie was getting the love and attention that she desired.
They are mischievous and curious in the way that a toddler is when exploring new locations. They must touch and often overturn everything. They understand when they are doing something they are expected not to do and will try to hide that they are doing it while finding it irresistible to avoid doing it.
Additionally, they get angry and frustrated when they don't get their way. But, you can see them trying to control themselves. Sometimes successfully, and sometimes not. This is most clear in Pumpkin who gets angry when new animals come into the house. She wants to charge at them and make them leave. But, she holds back letting her feelings know through cries and wumping sounds. And sometimes her anger gets the best of her and she lashes out with a bluff charge.
Pigs also get excited. This usually relates to food, which is often the case in humans as well. I've seen full-grown Pumpkin the pig bound from the couch when she heard the first inklings of dinner being prepared. I've watched Charlotte as she sprinted towards a known pile of acorns. And I've seen Millie run and fly through the air on to the couch realizing that one of her snuggling pals (my daughter Rousseau) was ready for some cuddling.
And one emotion that is more prominent than others is their capacity for happiness. Pigs are some of the happiest animals I've ever met. Constant tail wagging and happy trotting are constant. But, it goes so much deeper than that. One need but spend a few minute near pigs to feel the happiness emanating from them.
And they absolutely are capable of the same quality and depth of love as human children. This is easily observed in how Charlotte, Millie and Pumpkin will seek out affection and return it in kind. Charlotte will snuggle up so close and stare at you in a way that makes clear she loves you in the same way that a human child loves their parents.
So, when someone refers to my pigs as bacon or sausage, it isn't 'just an animal' they are making a joke about. They might as well be saying they find it funny that Smithfield Foods CEO Kenneth Sullivan is profiting off the rape, abuse, and murder of innocent children. Because at the end of the day, this is what he and his company are. They are the rapists, abusers and murdered or innocent children that simply failed to acquire the ability to speak English. Speciesism is no justification for such actions. Kenneth Sullivan is as much a part of our world's rape culture as any actor or famous person out there abusing the wealth and power. And he should be held accountable for it. Might does not make right. And by buying bacon, ham and sausage we tacitly approve this behavior and condone the perpetuation of these actions.