To the Editor:
Next Wednesday, March 20, will be the annual Great American Meatout. This is a day for people all across the country to abstain from eating any meat and experience a vegetarian diet. The purpose of this event is to raise awareness concerning animal rights and environmental and health issues involved in human meat production and consumption. As in previous years, Oberlin Animal Rights will be promoting this event, particularly focusing our efforts on the animal rights issues.
Meat production causes more than six billion animals intense suffering in just the U.S. annually. Most modern meat production comes from factory farms, where animals are forced to live miserable lives from conception to death. Chickens are crammed into cages too small to stretch a wing in; calves are taken from their mothers at birth; horns, beaks and tails are mutilated or removed; animals are kicked, prodded, electroshocked, dragged and, finally, killed to satisfy our taste for their flesh.
While modern factory farming is particularly appalling, there is a serious ethical issue involved simply in the killing of another living being, no matter where or how it takes place. It is our view that all animals are valuable in and of themselves, and that they are not expendable resources to serve human desires, such as for meat. Every animal is an individual living being who suffers and possesses his or her own interests, such as the interest to live. In denying an animal his or her interst to live, in slaughtering an animal for meat, we are unjustly discriminating against and inflicting great suffering on another living being. We believe that human ethical concern should encompass all beings who suffer and have interests, no matter what their species. Every animal's wish to live should be respected as a right to live. Nonhuman animals' lives are precious to them also. The fact that no meat or other animal products are necessary in our diet or for our survival further strengthens this ethical claim.
Oberlin Animal Rights will be in Wilder Hall, tabling and collecting signatures of people who are willing to abstain from eating any meat on March 20. Additionally, those people who are already lacto-ovo vegetarian can pledge to adopt a vegan diet and abstain from any animal products (such as dairy and egg products) on this day. However, a signature is obviously not needed to make either of these commitments.
We hope that the Oberlin College community will participate in this event and make the meatout pledge, thereby recognizing the value of the billions and billions of animals who are killed to be the meat on our plates, and acknowledging how their lives are spent suffering and then cruelly cut short, against their wishes, for the human taste for flesh and desire for profit. Perhaps this simple experience will be the beginning of a permanent compassionate change in your lifestyle.
Copyright © 1996, The Oberlin Review.
Volume 124, Number 18; March 15, 1996
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