Friday, 20 January 2012

Animal, vegetable, mineral, priorities!

Sometimes I wake up with the germ of a blog post, but not enough in itself to get me writing that morning. Today, for some reason, the animal rights and environment dichotomy (whether real or imagined) was on my mind, but not in any really formed way.

Then Mylene linked to this post of Vincent G's, with which (you may be unsurprised and underwhelmed to hear) I agree with a fair amount.

I have no problem, incidentally, with caring about the environment nor with acting on that concern. I try to do both as far as possible - recycling, repurposing, not owning a car, the million and one other things that I suspect most people reading this also do. That's cool. I neither have nor want a claim on being better than anyone else, except maybe Hitler, Stalin or Pol Pot. I also suspect, by the way, that being vegan *might* make some intrinsic contribution to lowering my carbon footprint, but the science there isn't 100% conclusive and I am not a climate scientist anyway, so my perspective on the subject isn't based on that. Anyway, if you're an environmentalist who hasn't ranted at any animal rights activists lately, you can probably assume that my issue isn't with you.

My problem is with those who explicitly posit it as a conflict. It doesn't have to be. An animal rights activist can certainly have an eco-unfriendly lifestyle without being too contradictory to his or her core beliefs, but the ones I know are certainly no worse than the bulk of the population. And sure, energy directed at animal rights is not being directed at environmental causes. My answer is, so what?

My concern for the environment is based on a deeper concern for the sentient beings inhabiting it, who need as unpolluted an ecosystem as possible to survive. This means that when I have the time, energy and other relevant resources to be involved in activism, I'm generally going to focus it on said sentient beings, of my own and other species. If animal testing is required for 'environmental' reasons, I'm likely to call shennanigans. I am quite prepared to use a vehicle to get to a protest or sabotage a hunt, not to mention electricity and paper to promote certain ideas. Eco-friendly animal agriculture cuts very little ice with me. I don't see leather and fur as particularly 'natural', or maybe they are in the sense that eating one's enemies might be. Furthermore, if you're an environmentalist who thinks that culling animals or confining them for anyone's benefit but their own (e.g. for necessary medical treatment) is what the planet needs, sorry but I disagree.

I hope, at least, that it is possible to be for animals, people and the environment without too many contradictions...

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