What’s the difference between a dolphin and a cow?
I’ve been meaning to write this post for some time now and it's probably a bit controversial. I experienced something in Taiji that opened my eyes even further to the backwardness of our consciousness. Living in Los Angeles, I’m in a bubble. I have all my vegan friends, a plethora of vegan restaurants to choose from and vegan food available in every grocery store. I rarely have meaningful and in-depth interactions with meat-eaters, unless it’s a conversation on why to eat more vegan. The number of close friends I have who are rabid meat-eaters I can count on one, maybe both hands. I’m not entirely sure why this is the case, but the point of this blog is to express my total lack of understanding for why people do the things they do.
When I was in Taiji, there were only a handful of people showing their presence against the dolphin slaughter. I ate meals with these people for days. When they told me they were vegetarian, I got really excited. They followed that up with, well, they are vegetarian while they are in Japan because they don’t want to risk eating whale or dolphin meat. Waaaaiitttt a second. So they aren’t really vegetarian. Ok that's fine, but why do we differentiate between a dolphin or whale and a pig or cow. The Sea Shepherd ships are all vegan, but most of the crew is not. Why fight and risk your life for one species of animal while leaving so many to die cruel deaths who's production affects the planet way more than the death of sea creatures. I'm not trying to judge or belittle the amazing work that SS is doing, I'm Paul's biggest fan. I just can’t wrap my head around the disconnect we feel between different species. I actually asked the people I stayed with in Taiji what the difference was between a dolphin and a cow. Some had no answer, others felt that dolphins are non-human humans with intelligence outweighing any other species in the animal kingdom. And that is why they deserve to live and other animals do not?
Many articles and books have been written on the subject and I find it extremely interesting. Some I can recommend are Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism by Melanie Joy, Thanking the Monkey by Karen Dawn, Mad Cowboy by Howard Lyman, Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat by Hal Herzog, and The Animal Manifesto: Six Reasons for Expanding Our Compassion Footprint by Ph.D. Marc Bekoff.
I have a strong desire to understand how things work and how the minds of others tick. One book in particular helped me better understand our deeply ingrained philosophy on eating meat, The World Peace Diet. WPD also helped me to be less judgmental toward those who do eat meat and better equipped me with language to use when speaking to meat-eaters. It's a must read for any activist/vegan and is especially a good gift to anyone on the fence about veganism. Here is a short video of Will Tuttle explaining further.
Here's a great video of Jonathan Safran Foer talking about many important issues involving eating animals.
Do you think there is a difference between a dolphin, whale, pig, cow, or fish?