Damien Mander, the founder of the International Anti-Poaching Foundation, discusses in a Ted Talk his life goal to help save animals. He makes several good points and makes you think “well that completely makes sense”
There are many points Damien makes that really stood out to me:
“Does that elephant need its face more than some guy in Asia who needs a tusk on his desk?”
“Just because we don’t see it up close does not mean we are not responsible”
“Although humans and animals are different, they each share the ability to suffer”
“Illegal trafficking of wildlife is one of the largest criminal industries in the world”
“Preserve a dying global treasure”
“Experimentation on animals, if animals are so like us that we can substitute using them instead of us than surely they have the very same attributes that means they deserve to be protected from harm”
“Murder is murder and the more helpless the victim the more horrific the crime”
“Out of the five million species only one has the power to determine what level of suffering is except able for all of us beings to endure”
“Small changes in our lives mean big changes in others”
Although he makes very good points, there is one claim that he makes that I would like to point out. He discusses speciesism and raises the question “How can we try and save animals while we are eating them?” This is where I disagree with him. I believe that it is completely reasonable to want to save the well-being of animals while continuing to eat meat. Here is my reasoning:
We are omnivores, created to eat both plants and animals. He argues that if animals are so like us that they can be tested for human products (because they yield the same results as would on humans) than they deserve the same protection. So if we are so like animals, than why can they eat other animals and we can’t? How is a cow eaten by a person any different than a cow eaten by a wolf? Yes, many corporations treat livestock horribly and put them through a lot of suffering, but there are many ways to consume animals that have lived a healthy and happy life. Local and family owned farms give their livestock plenty of room to roam and provide good food. I agree that concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) are awful in every way and should be stopped, but eating meat is a natural human characteristic.
Damien Mander did open my eyes to speciesism and that chickens and cows deserve the same protection against harm as elephants and rhinos do. He makes a good point that a life is a life and one should not be weighed more or less. I believe that we should not harm chickens, cows, and pigs, but it is natural to eat them, unlike killing an elephant for its ivory. Personally, I now know that I need to be more aware of where my meat is coming from, but I will still continue to be a meat eater.