I’d like to address a lame excuse that held me back from looking too deeply into the welfare of animals. Human welfare.
Why should we be touting for the welfare of animals when we as humans do little to ensure the welfare of fellow humans?
The large majority of our purchases are likely tainted with child labour and overworked individuals. The working environments of those who assemble our cheap electronics, clothing, furniture, etc. are terrible. We would never wish that upon anyone but for some reason we are all guilty of perpetuating it. (Possibly something to do with not being exposed to it.) It’s nearly impossible to live a life that doesn’t perpetuate the situation. In fact, I’d go as far to say that it is impossible. Even our fair trade products are likely being managed by a system relying on electronics built with cheap labour, riding on ships that are built using products from cheap labour, packaged with plastics and card produced from cheap labour. These people deserve a fair wage and a clean working environment. They really do.
Problem is, unlike being a vegan, we cannot easily vote for the welfare of these people with our dollars. We can put a drop in the right bucket but it’s only a drop. Not to discourage you; keep investing in fair trade, because every drop DOES count!
Now, this was my excuse for avoiding animal welfare for years. There was a flaw in my thinking. Just because I care for human welfare and believe it should take precedence over animal welfare doesn’t mean I should ignore animal welfare. It’s not about choosing one over the other.
In closing, I have some potentially really awesome news. Unfortunately, I’m not really an expert on where my vegan products come from and if there was unfair treatment of the almond, soybean, and other farmers but I do know that there are illegal immigrants getting treated rather poorly in the meat industry. So, in choosing a vegan lifestyle not only are you voting for animal abuse to stop, you are also voting for the employees to be part of a legal system that will in the end protect them from workforce abuse.*
My challenge to those who can: Vote with your dollars for both the welfare of humans and animals:
- Purchase fair trade when you can.
- Purchase good quality products that do not need to be replaced as often. (Give the dollar store a pass because in the end you’ll be replacing that nasty ice cream scoop more frequently than if you had bought high end in the first place)
- Purchase locally made products. The workers are more likely to be protected by labour laws.
- If you are going to purchase meats/meat products, buy happy animals that aren’t kicked, fork lifted, or dragged, but are given respect they deserve. (Free range (and happy!) meats locally raised near Calgary visit TK Ranch)
*(It could be argued that the workers who would be put out of a job will be worse off than suffering workforce manipulating and/or abuse. In the long run though, I do believe that legalized immigration will protect individuals more than illegal immigration which often lands individuals into being manipulated and/or abused.)
Meet Chloe: She has taught me a lot about animals and lead me to think more about their welfare. Thank you, Chloe!