Exploitation then killing is humane in the eyes of public opinion. There is a few exceptions of people I know that acknowledge that using animals for clothing, food and medicine in 2016 is wrong and often unnecessary in the modern, developed world. They often talk about how hard it is being a poor student or low waged employee and trying to care about the planet and animals without supporting a industry that pockets billions of it. Chances are unless you are very dedicated you’re not going to be able to cut animal products out of your diet and lifestyle but in no way should people use “humane” as a way of justifying the morality of breeding or killing something for ones own personal enjoyment.
The definition of humane according the Oxford dictionary is having or showing compassion or benevolence. Synonyms to the word include merciful, kind, kindly, kindhearted, tender, compassionate, gentle, sympathetic; benevolent, benignant, charitable.
The strange double standard that exists of course is that humanely treating livestock is different from humanely treating dogs or cats. Just as virtually every civilisation throughout history has seen itself as the centre of the universe, so too modern humanity has viewed itself as supreme and fundamentally different from every other living creature on the planet. We decided which species pain was actually pain and which species of animals should die as food and live as pets. Yes based on historic evidence dogs and cats have been domesticated for a very, very long time but this is now 2016 and we are suppose to be civilised.
Recently a well known vegan blogger travelled to New Zealand and she recorded what would seem to most New Zealanders as normal transportation of animals. To a vegan, similar to the one in question, she has left the status quo of speciesism behind and decided that “Hey I wouldn’t like to be crammed into a truck like that”. This came with a response of outrage. “Its humane! They are on their way to a paddock” said one delusional commenter. In fact, chances are they were on their way to the slaughter house ten minutes out of Wellington CBD.
But there it is. Humane cries the public. Often asked about the well-being of the animals in animal exploitation industries, people will give vague answers like “They are alright”, “They were born for this”, “Farmers treat them properly” and of course “Its all humane”. WIth little investigation or questions asked by mainstream media and the public, how can anyone feel assured. Everytime a camera slips into a slaughterhouse, it usually shows the mistreatment of animals, to which public opinion changes from “It’s humane” to “Its a one off” or “Blame the individual not the industry”.
At what point do we decide that breeding, keeping in isolation and then killing is right. At what point do we decide that “Hey, you shouldn’t be using that animal as a dummy for human use. Don’t put shampoo in its eyes or make it drink soap”. Being put in a gas chamber and dying of c02 suffocation sounds like a horrible way to die in my opinion. Being born onto this planet to be someones slave is wrong, whatever the species.
I believe in 50 or so years, my grandchildren will read about our current societies views on animal exploitation and generally be horrified. The hope of ending speciesism is on the shoulders of our future generations as they are the ones who have a chance to swim through a new culture created through accessing new information that will only keep being produced. Adults in todays society have mostly accepted the fact that animal cruelty is necessary and they just call it humane.