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Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock lately, you will more than likely have seen Iceland’s advertisement regarding palm oil circulating across social media. It’s so great that this has been brought forward into public consciousness at long last. After all, this is not a new issue. It’s been a thing for years. But now thanks to Iceland, people are finally talking about the deforestation and unnecessary suffering and killing of orangutans and other animals all in the name of palm oil—which is used in so many every day products.
The public is outraged!
With people power comes change. We may not abolish unsustainable palm oil practices and this disgusting industry that inflicts pain and suffering on innocent creatures overnight, but at least people are now more informed, so they can make better choices over the products they choose to buy and consume. It puts people in a position of power and if we all stop buying products made by companies that have been outed as contributing to this global problem, we will hit them where it hurts: In their pockets. Like any industry, it is built on supply and demand.
While I’m really pleased that friends of mine on Facebook are sharing their outrage over this issue, I want to highlight something.
This outrage you feel about orangutans being killed and losing their habitats is the same exact outrage that I feel as a vegan for ALL living creatures.
There may be differences in the circumstances—for instance, I acknowledge that animals that are eaten by humans are bred into existence for the purpose of being slaughtered for food, as opposed to being killed in the wild, however, pain and suffering does not differentiate between species and circumstances. Pain is pain. Suffering is suffering. One animal does not feel it less than any other animal.
Let me ask a question.
Why is our compassion and sympathy specific to certain breeds and species of animals? If I know that orangutans are suffering and being slaughtered in the name of consumerism, and I am outraged by this notion, how can I not be outraged when cows, pigs, sheep, chickens, ducks, turkeys, fish, rabbits, cats, dogs, and mice (plus many more) all suffer in the name of consumerism? Animals are used everyday for what they can give to humans. But for some people, they choose not to connect the dots. From eating them, to using them to test our cosmetics and medicines on, to wearing their skin as a fashion accessory and eating the food source that they produce specifically for their young (dairy).
For me, not one species of animal is more deserving than any other of my compassion. My wish for the future is that more people will ask questions about where the products they consume (in all senses of the word) comes from.
How much suffering is there in the things I buy/eat/wear/use? What was the cost to an innocent animal for me to eat this burger, wear these boots, or drink a glass of milk? Is there an alternative that doesn’t cause harm to another living creature?
We can’t irradiate suffering completely in this world, BUT we can choose what industries we support through more conscious consumerism. It comes down to supply and demand. While people still demand things, these companies/industries will continue to fill that demand.
As consumers, we have more power than we think.
We just have to start connecting the dots. We need more people to realize that suffering is suffering no matter what poor little animal it is at the end of it.
Thanks for reading.