The Elephant-Sized Outrage in the Room
We learned a lot from Cecil the lion. We learned that outrage is not just a social media phenomenon; it can have consequences. Walter J. Palmer went into hiding, after all.
We learned that major U.S. airlines were carrying animal trophies across the world. They have since announced the termination of this activity. Consumer attention can be effective when we unite around a cause.
We learned that the animal rights community was disgusted with the outrage over Cecil, because billions of factory farmed animals are slaughtered in the U.S. annually. Where’s the outrage for what’s on our plates, in our refrigerators, and in our bellies, they asked.
Sorely missing is the consideration that chickens, cows, turkeys, sheep, and pigs are intelligent beings who live in complex societies. Their murder is not justifiable. And, if we are upset about Cecil, we need to be upset about these billions of “Cecils” too.
In a previous post I wrote about making the connections between Cecil and other justice movements (including animal rights, black rights women’s rights, and LGBT rights) because a united movement will be more effective. If we want to save animals yet take a stance against the veganism movement, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. If we say that black lives matter too but not other human or animal lives, we aren’t supporting our brothers and sisters in different aspects of the same fight; instead we are choosing fear of losing attention and priority given to black lives. Yes, black lives matter, too. Period. Yes, animal lives matter too, period. And so on.
A divisive justice movement devolves into a game of my outrage is better than yours, and fights for what is perceived to be a limited pie of justice. The truth is that justice is connected to all of life, and every effort toward justice supports every other effort in the same direction.
It’s important to be consistent as activists, heck, as human beings!
It’s time to acknowledge and act to remove the elephant-sized outrage in the room with all social justice activists: the genocide of factory farmed animals.
And, in the spirit of unity with all of our fellow citizens, it’s time to start practicing the same concern and compassion for all humans and other animals in our quest for justice.