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!