Forget GE. What’s the point anyway?

7 May

When we’re still surrounded by people who:

1. Stuff themselves with “gourmet cuisine” that, in its preparation/procurement process, require unnecessary cruelty towards animals, then make excuses for their actions so they don’t have to feel bad for being irrational barbarians,

2. Tell you “I don’t care what you’ll do to it.” when they abandon an animal at your doorstep, then walk away with no hint of guilt on their faces,

3. Walk into an animal shelter – where most of the animals have already been victimized once by someone’s careless actions – and declare “I’ll buy that one.” because animals are mere “products” in our humanistic world.

When we can’t even make an effort to care more for lives other than human ones.

When we see animals, plants and Earth as mere commodities we use to our own benefit.

When people still, in the 21st century when you’d think humans would be more educated and reasonable, think and say “But they are just animals.”

Call me crazy/radical/idealistic, but if we can’t begin to care for animals/plants – who are about as undemanding as any living thing can get – how is it possible that we find it in ourselves to care about the plight of other human beings, who almost all come with immense emotional baggage?

If we can’t have the patience or willpower to respect a life so simple, why would we have the ability to respect human rights?

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It never gets old. Never.

22 Apr

Reasons why I’m vegetarian, and why maybe you may want to be one too.

1. If you knew what went on in factory farms or slaughterhouses, you might think twice before you order that hamburger, steak or chicken chop.

2. I can’t (and have no right to) chastise people for eating dogs, cats, rabbits, koalas, kangeroos, horses or other animals considered “exotic”, while eating chickens, pigs and cows myself. What makes them more “inhumane” than me? They’re all animals, and the “cute” theory is just bizarre.

3. I can’t hate those who torture and inflict pain on their pets or stray animals (knowingly or not) when I (knowingly or not) partake in the daily torture of farmed animals. Because, the truth is, farmed animals are no different from the “cuter” and luckier ones chosen to be our companions. I would be no different from those I label “sick bastards”.

I’ve never stated that I’m vegetarian because “it’s just wrong to eat animals” or “we were born to be vegetarian”. While I’m vegetarian, I still understand why people want, and will continue, to eat meat.

There’s no need to bring up the good ol’ “vegetarians kill plants” statement.

You’d think people would have found better arguments by now.

Vegetarianism

20 Mar

I have realised it’s way past time that I wrote about vegetarianism. I’ve been a vegetarian for many years now. I’ve been asked lots of questions. So I guess I’ll answer some of them once and for all. Until another meat-eater asks me another stupid question. Oh, well. Patience is one of my virtues. Sometimes.

1. Why are you vegetarian?

Why does rain fall from the sky? Why do plants photosynthesise? Why are tigers striped? It’s nature. Humans eating meat is one of the things that aren’t in nature but are brought about by culture. Like body modifications.

It’s common knowledge (to the more knowledgeable, at least) that humans aren’t predator animals. We’re prey. That’s why we’re the only upright apes, with the weakest arms. So that we can run from predators, not fight or kill them.

And yeah, I know all you flesh-eaters would have jumped to say, “Even cave-men ate meat. They made their own weapons to kill.” But that’s not evolution. You can train a dog to “beg,” but that doesn’t mean it has evolved to stand on two legs. Our digestive systems are still unable to digest animal flesh without having cooked it for a long time. We just aren’t made for it. We are made to eat plant matter, though.

I know many people like to eat raw fish and pork or whatever. Those people get upset stomachs and parasites more than those who eat cooked corpses.

Anyway, I don’t think that’s what meat-eaters mean when they ask me why. They want to know what made me stop eating meat. Other than the realisation of what I’ve just enlightened you with. So let me relate that awful experience to you.

I went to a fish farm when I was about 12, before I knew what “farm” meant. It sounds like a friendly place, doesn’t it, with cows grazing, chickens pecking and sheep bleating. This is what everyone sees. What they don’t show you is the killing. Masking the murder makes meat more palatable.

And sometimes even murder doesn’t affect people’s appetites. At the fish farm, it didn’t even occur to me that the fishes were for eating. I looked at the big, gray fishes in the big, gray tanks and wondered why people would want to keep such strange-looking fishes. I was staring into a tank, watching the fishes swim, when a woman came over with a huge net. I watched with childish curiosity as she messily caught a fish and hauled it out of the tank. She plopped the fish onto a stone counter. And then she reached for a hammer and almost before I could comprehend what was about to happen, she SLAMMED the hammer down on the fish’s head. The fish that I had just seen swimming innocently was lying lifelessly with a flattened head.

Needless to say, I started sobbing. The cold-blooded bastard who was walking past with the lifeless body of the poor fish in a plastic bag saw me and laughed. I was a twelve-year-old who had just witnessed murder for the first time, and he laughed at me. That was when I started resenting meat eaters. More importantly, that’s when I vowed never to eat another animal again.

And I haven’t.

2. What do you eat?

What an intelligent question. I eat food! Come on, meat eaters! It’s not as if all you eat is meat. And if that is indeed the case, shame on you.

3. How do you live on just vegetables?

I don’t.

There are so many food groups other than meat and vegetables. Cereals, fruits, sweets, dairy, legumes… And there are countless foods that can be made from them. My diet is very balanced and varied. I believe that meat-eaters know this, but ask that stupid question in an attempt to sound, and feel, superior. As if my diet is bland and boring, and theirs is rich and tasty. Let me assure you that I eat lots of delicious, healthy food. You need not be worried.

4. Why shouldn’t I eat meat?

I’ve given you several reasons while answering the first few questions, but let me give you another one.

Cruelty.

Imagine being trapped in room so crowded that you can’t even lift your arms, turn around or take a deep breath. Your urine and feces collects on the floor, saturating the air with ammonia, making it even more difficult to breathe. The food you’re fed makes you unnaturally hefty, and you’re forced to stand constantly, making your legs hurt incessantly. Some of your smaller peers are unwittingly crushed to death by others.

When you’re finally let out from this hellish place, you’re only stuffed into equally stuffed cages and thrown into lorries without shelter or protection from bad weather. Then you’re roughly thrown out and shackled upside down by your legs, your abnormal weight causing your joints to become dislocated or your bones to snap. Then you’re electrocuted with enough voltage to paralyse, but not enough to make you unconscious, so you’re awake when a mechanical blade sloppily slits your throat. Some of your peers die instantly, but most of you bleed slowly and painfully to death.

This happens to millions of innocent, defenseless animals every day.

“Why shouldn’t I eat meat?” you ask.

Ignorance prevails

10 Mar

For the past few months, I’ve been trying to speak to and understand those who have something to say about SPCA. Mostly unkind things. I’ve shared with them facts that could easily help them understand the organization better. I’ve discussed the difficulties and challenges faced by SPCA. I’ve invited them, as friends and fellow animal-lovers, to pick the right side to fight on for animal rights.

Every animal welfare/rights organization has its limits. Much as they would love to rid the world of animal abuse, there will be things that can’t be done. All they can do, is try their best. And they really do. The people we should target are those who abuse animals, those who neglect them and those who rally against animal rights.

I set out with that belief. Thinking that all animal lovers would easily see that logic. And that they’d drop their personal biases and stand behind anyone/any organization who even bothers to care about animals.

I was wrong.

Some people don’t want facts. Some don’t wish to be corrected, regardless of how wrong they may be.
They just want to be right.

I can’t understand it. I tried.

But ignorance is unreasonable. It refuses to be understood.

Oh you, hypocritical animal lover.

5 Mar

1. While it feels like all you have to do is point a finger and demand for whatever you want, you’re not the king of the world. The world is much bigger than you can ever be, and involves many more incidents than you can ever know. SPCA Singapore handles thousands of abuse cases every day, week, month. They try their best for every one of them (call for volunteers, hand out flyers at the places involved, report to AVA, urge the authorities, etc.). But no, SPCA Singapore is not omnipotent. While you’re demanding all these things, have you done anything on your part to help?

Don’t demand them to update you on every single case that you ask about (and think that nothing is being done if there aren’t updates) because they’re handling more cases than you can even begin to imagine.

2. For the millionth time, SPCA does not have policing rights. In case you don’t know what “policing rights” means, it means SPCA has no power to a. arrest abusers, b. prosecute abusers, or c. kill abusers. The best they can do is identify the abuser, alert AVA, and urge AVA to do something about it. The rest is up to AVA. Don’t blame SPCA for AVA’s inefficiencies or nonchalance.

3. SPCA Singapore isn’t SPCA The Whole World. Yes, we’re all concerned about women crushing rabbits in China and men hitting dogs in Malaysia. Yes, SPCA Singapore alerts the relevant animal rights organizations in those countries. No, they can’t a. arrest abusers, b. prosecute abusers, or c. kill abusers from those countries. Don’t blame SPCA Singapore for the inability to capture abusers outside Singapore.

If you’re angry about that, why don’t you do something constructive too?

4. You accuse SPCA Singapore of not caring about animals. You post tonnes of links showing people from Singapore or beyond abusing animals and scream at SPCA Singapore for not doing anything. You complain about the state of animal welfare in Singapore and flame organizations who don’t save every animal they find (healthy, sick or dying). You’re disgusted by the cruelty that humans are capable of when you watch videos of animal abuse and curse the abusers.

Now go youtube the words “factory farm”. Watch a few. Or, just watch one.

Do you eat meat?

So while you care about animals, and I’m truly glad that you do, stop criticizing anyone or anything who isn’t doing everything you demand, whenever you demand it.

Because until the day you stop supporting the cruelty that factory farmed animals face everyday, until you stop complaining and waiting for someone else to do the dirty work, until you start doing something yourself, you’re a hypocrite.

So hypocrite, stop whinging, start doing.

Ignorance.

5 Mar

Because of ignorance…

1. Our children think it’s alright to have shark fin. Because sharks will eat them if we don’t eat them first.

2. Pet owners think that as long as the animal looks fine, it’s perfectly healthy and doesn’t need medical check-ups or vaccinations.

3. People who claim they love animals flame the SPCA for practising euthanasia. Without first putting in effort to understand the organization.

4. Animal lovers or animal rights activists are categorised under the broad category of “weird” or “impractical”. Having something they believe in doesn’t make them weird. It’s called motivation. Which is more than can be said for most people who live day to day, not fighting for any cause.

Every day, we allow ourselves to be ignorant. For many things, not all animal related.

Can you start fighting ignorance now?

What does this have to do with wedded bliss?

20 Feb

Was having a facebook conversation with a friend who’s about to get married. I’m truly happy for her. For them. After knowing her for so long, and seeing the blossom of her relationship, I wish them nothing but happiness. They deserve it.

While I shower them with congratulations and blessings, never has an issue strike this close. As I get older, I see more friends making big decisions. Marriage, weddings, births. All daunting, all exciting. Yet while I rejoice, I’m forced to deal with an issue that shouldn’t, if we were all sensible, exist.

Why does having shark fin soup at a wedding banquet define how wealthy, rich, fortunate or blessed you are?

Why does not having shark fin soup necessarily allude to poverty or a loss of “face”?

How did something, that truly has no taste on its own, become so essential in a Chinese wedding?

What does a tasteless fin of an animal have to do with wedded bliss?

I won’t write about how pointless it is to have shark fin. Because deep down, we all know how pointless it already is. I won’t begin to write about the alternatives (many more expensive than shark fin is) because we know there are more lavish and tasty foods out there.

As marriages and celebrations happen around me, I wish I could rejoice with each one of them. Yet, I can’t consciously sit at a table and watch people knowingly eat an animal that is barbarically hunted to the point of close extinction.

I wish you marital bliss. Truly.

Yet at the same time, I wistfully wish that instead of blindly following archaic social norms, we could start a revolution. One that belongs to us. Now.

Humans and Animals

20 Feb

Lately, there have been many instances of people coming to SPCA asking for dogs that they had read about online. Apparently, people who abandon their dogs at the SPCA have been writing on forums and blogs, asking people to “Adopt this dog from SPCA or it will be put to sleep!”

I wish they’d stop pretending to care. It is fully disclosed to them that the animals they bring to the SPCA may be put to sleep, before the release forms are signed. Yet they still leave their pets there. Devastating them.

And then they go home and write, “SPCA is so evil, it’s going to kill my dog! Go pick up my dog from SPCA or it will die!!!”

If you think so, then how could you leave an innocent, helpless creature there? Do you have no conscience?

To be clear, the SPCA does not put down every animal that it receives. It does not tell the owners who abandon their pets whether those pets will be put up for adoption because it doesn’t want to encourage abandonment.

People are already using SPCA as a free kennel, where they can dump their dogs and THEN ask people to adopt them. Which is futile, because once they sign forms and leave their pets, whose whole lives depend on those heartless humans, they aren’t pet owners anymore, and  they can’t ask people to adopt their pets if they don’t have any, can they?

The point is, they should have tried to find a home for their pets before giving them to SPCA. Trying to find homes for them after giving them up is like trying to find a new family for someone else’s child.

There are people who truly care about animals, who come to SPCA after reading about those abandoned animals. It would be so easy to find new homes for pets instead of shrugging off the responsibility.

And yet they don’t. Lazy, selfish, heartless humans. I am so disappointed by humans every day. It should be easier to forgive them once I realise they’re animals too, but no. I’m just deeply disappointed.

Remembering begins now.

17 Feb

Soon, I shall begin to read the book again. But now that I’ve completed it for the 1st time, here are some statements that moved, and will continue to move, me forward in my quest for vegetarianism.

“… the irony of seeking out shampoo that’s not tested on animals while at the same time (and many times a day) buying meat that’s produced in profoundly cruel systems.”

Apt. How many of us criticize companies/products that conduct animal testing, supporting our criticism with reasons such as “cruelty” and “inhumane treatment”? And yet, how many of us force ourselves to remember that the same cruelty and inhumane treatment exists in the places where we get our meats from? How many of us choose to numb ourselves into forgetting?

“… most people never have to confront the unpleasant fact that animal foods (including dairy and eggs) involve killing animals. They remain disconnected from this reality, buying their meats, fish, and cheeses at restaurants and supermarkets, already cooked or presented to them in pieces, making it easy to give little or no thought to the animals these foods come from.”

A friend, in fact many friends, once asked/told me, “Are our farms really that cruel? How about eggs and milk? No animals have to die for those.” I’ve tried many times to educate these friends. Often times failing. Not because they wouldn’t listen. But because it’s so easy for them to disconnect what they learn from what they see on their plates. When will we start exercising our rationality and conscience?

“… a concession not to necessity or practicality or demands for a certain taste, but to a habit of irrational, unnecessary violence, a tradition.”

That sentence was used to talk about the practice of branding cattle. It jumped out at me because of its relevance to our practice of eating shark fin.

“What kind of world would we create if three times a day we activated our compassion and reason as we sat down to eat, if we had the moral imagination and the pragmatic will to change our most fundamental act of consumption?”

If only everyone were reasonable.

11 Feb