In The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood, we discover the existence of a new religion and get to meet many new characters. One of the characters that intrigued me the most is Adam One. While I may not agree with most of his religious beliefs, I believe that he is not speaking complete garbage. During two of Adam One’s speeches and two parts of The God’s Gardeners Oral Hymnbook, the way humans treat animals is talked about. In this blog post, I will quote some of the things he said, provide additional insight, and briefly present what I think is one of the most amazing lifestyles: veganism.
In Adam One’s speech, he asks “why do we think that everything on Earth belongs to us, while in reality, we belong to Everything?” (p.53) Like Adam One, I ask myself this question every single day. Why do we believe that we are in some way superior to other creatures and that we are entitled to the enslavement of other species?
Other species were not put on this Earth for us and they are not food. We managed to convince ourselves that we are superior because we know right from wrong which could not be more false. How is the enslavement of other species right? How are slaughterhouses okay in any way, shape, or form? How is it okay to keep destroying our environment because meat, dairy, and eggs “taste too good to give up”? I do not see how humans are deemed “exceptional, alone in all Creation in having Souls,” as Adam One says on page 53, if we are still mass murdering billions of land and marine animals.
I would also like to add that there is no such thing as humane meat, humane dairy, or humane eggs. Gary Yourofsky said it well: “There is no such thing as happy and humane slaughter just as there is no such thing as happy and human rape, happy and humane slavery, or happy and humane child molestation.” Many believe that free-range animal products are humane. They are not. Whether the animal was placed in a cage or was free to roam makes no difference because it is ultimately killed. Providing a ‘good’ life for animals does not make it okay for us to murder them later.
Thinking we are better than other animals is not enough apparently. We also allow ourselves the privilege of determining which of the non-human animals are better than the others. “I love animals” is probably one of the sentences that I have heard the most and I see people fawning over cats and dogs on a daily basis. However, we seem to cherry-pick the animals that are ‘worthy’ of this love and attention.
I invite you to listen to the speech of Gary Yourofsky, a vegan activist, to hear more about our treatment of animals. He is engaging and is very passionate about ALL animals’ rights. ( Gary Yourofsky – Best Speech You Will Ever Hear ) Warning: there is graphic content presented during the speech. But as Gary said: “If it’s not good enough for your eyes, why is it good enough for your stomach?”
I have good news, though! There is a way to end animal cruelty! Veganism!
The Vegan Society defines veganism as “A philosophy and way of living which seeks to exclude—as far as is possible and practicable—all forms of exploitation of, and cruelty to, animals for food, clothing or any other purpose; and by extension, promotes the development and use of animal-free alternatives for the benefit of humans, animals and the environment. In dietary terms, it denotes the practice of dispensing with all products derived wholly or partly from animals.”
Vegans do not consume meat, dairy, eggs, or honey; vegans do not wear wool, fur, silk, or leather; vegans do not use cosmetics containing animal ingredients and/or cosmetics that are tested on animals. Being a vegan means that you cause the least amount of harm possible to animals.
I think it is important that we stop seeing other animals as food and that we extend our circle of compassion beyond humans, dogs, and cats.
To put a twist on Crake’s “I think, therefore.” fridge magnet in Oryx and Crake:
I think, therefore I am vegan.
ADAPTT. All About Veganism – Chickens, Eggs, and the Free-Range Scam. Retrieved from: http://www.adaptt.org/veganism.html#
Atwood, M. (2010). The Year of the Flood. Toronto: Vintage Canada. Print.
The Vegan Society. Definition of Veganism. Retrieved from: https://www.vegansociety.com/go-vegan/definition-veganism