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 many 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.

Do you think there is a difference between a dolphin, whale, pig, cow, or fish?

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  1. This is an issue that I constantly want to ask people about, people who eat meat to be exact.  In fact I want to scream at them when they're eating a plate of chicken and talking about their dog at the same time…it makes no sense to me.

    1. @Morgan I totally feel ya!
      @Jake Thank you so much for that link. Good article!!
      @Linda Thanks for your comment. We definitely need to stop being so judgmental and find better ways to reach out to others.

  2. Your country massacres 35 million cows per a year. But Hindu people never criticize, do they? Stop poking your nose into our affairs!!

  3. Melanie Joy and Will Tuttle say it best for me. People become carnists because they are indoctrinated as children. Most people did not choose to eat animals of any kind but were taught to do so at a young age. Then, we are also taught that some animals are pets or more intelligent so we should not eat them. All animals are here for their own purpose, to take care of their young and live in a way that helps support them. No animal wants to feel pain. Not fish, not dogs, not mice, not pigs, NOT ONE! We need to kindly help people realize how to go and be vegan, without judging them. Hard to do, but that is the only way to make real change.

  4. COME ON dont be so emotional, there is a HUGE difference between eating a hen's flesh and eating dolphin flesh..

    these are DOLPHINS. they are much more sensitive creatures! isnt t obvious????? they litterally are healers. if someone mentally ill swims with dolphins he gets better and its a scientific facts, dolphins interactions are used for healing human sickness both mental and physical.. hens just drive u away with their noisy beak threats..

    i mean come one! there is a HUGE difference. not that dolphins are better, they are more sensitive. they play a totally different role in the chain!!

    we feel that by instinct. the idea of eating a dolphin is totally not the same as that of eating a hen or a cow


    in macrobiotic it isnt "bad" to eat meat nor "immoral".  i think as osho says it is purely un-aesthetic…  we're just more evolved than that.

  5. i also want to say that these tiny details we tend to dwell on are so wasting our time and keeping us off track. humans just have to be humans in whatever way u wish. if we can ALL relate to dolphins from our hearts then we will relate to all other creations.

    but we are fascinated by dolphins and impressed by them much more than we relate to them. real love, no one knows what it is. not even me. im the last one to know what it is.

    the problem is not that we eat cows but dont eat dolphins, the problem is that many of us STILLLLLL eat dolphins… and we call ourselves "Evolved".

    its not a one way thing. if people stop this they will stop that. understanding is understanding. but emotional stuff remain emotional stuff. love is something else.

  6. Salma, you are entitled to your opinion and thoughts as I'm entitled to post my thoughts on MY blog. I don't appreciate your negative energy and patronizing attitude in your comments here and on my facebook page. If you have something positive or constructive to share that would be appreciated. Thanks.

  7. Just as a curiosity, dolphins and cows are actually evolutionary cousins, like cats and dogs or mouses and rats.

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