Shouldn’t we solve human problems first?
All too often such questions or statements are distractions, rather than a serious objection. In any case, there are several points to challenge this claim:
- We can just stop supporting the killing industries. Problem solved for these billions of victims. Human social problems are far more complex and connected to inequality, race, gender, cultural conditioning, etc. Tackling these problems requires a wide range of expertise and advocacy.
- Why should we mindlessly inflict suffering on others for profit while we work on our own problems?
- The distinction between “us” humans and “the others” (other species) is a false one. We are ALL animals who share the same fundamental capacities to feel emotions and pain. The us-and-them mindset reinforces our domination over other species and the planet, which is largely responsible for the current climate and environmental crisis we’ve created.
- Because of the power we wield over the fate of other species and the planet, we have an enormous responsibility for being responsible stewards of this planet.
- Our wellbeing and survival and that of other species are the same. There is no conflict or competition between humans and other species in this sense.
- The raising and slaughtering of animals undermines human rights in many ways.
- There is growing evidence showing that those who believe in human supremacy and species hierarchy are more likely to also hold other prejudicial views against women, people of color and other marginalized groups.
- Slaughterhouses negatively impact workers and communities. Workers suffer high rates of PTSD, substance abuse and domestic violence.
- Slaughterhouse workers often view their work as “the jobs of last resort” since the occupation has some of the highest rates of injury, including dismemberment.
- Slaughterhouses represent a public safety and public health threat by exposing communities to foodborne illnesses outbreaks.
- Animal farming exacerbates world hunger and inequality by feeding nearly half of the world’s grain crop to farmed animals instead of millions of humans who go hungry.
- Animal farming is a major contributor to all of the most serious environmental problems including climate change, water and land scarcity, deforestation, air, water and soil pollution, to name a few.
- An animal-based diet is associated with higher rates of heart disease and cancers, and therefore, higher medical costs that make healthcare more expensive for all of us.
- Consistency matters. MLK famously said, “An injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere.” When we denigrate members of other species in an effort to elevate ourselves or any human rights cause, we use the very same kind of prejudice that we claim to be fighting against. We can’t claim to care about some at the expense of others. Justice is for all.
Why focus on local businesses and not large corporations?
Chicago was once the world capital of animal slaughter and processing. If Chicago can become a slaughter free city, people will be inspired to believe “it can happen anywhere.” In other words, our campaign can motivate other cities to launch their own slaughter free campaigns. Focusing on a local issue in your community means starting from a position of greatest influence. Many of the most famous social justice victories began as local efforts and resulted in transformational change on a national and even international level. The power of local grassroots activism and its ability to have far-reaching impact is embodied in the words of Martin Luther King Jr., who wrote, “Sound effort in a single city such as Birmingham or Selma produced situations that symbolized the evil everywhere and inflamed public opinion against it,” “While the spotlight illuminated the evil, a legislative remedy was soon obtained that would apply everywhere.”
Does the campaign really save any lives? Won’t it just mean relocating slaughter to the suburbs and rural areas?
The question assumes that a local effort exists in a vacuum and has no impact beyond its borders which is just not how social change plays out. Our local strategy is explained in the response above.
What’s next after Chicago slaughterhouses are shut down?
We envision the SFC campaign as a milestone in society’s transformational shift to acceptance and support of animal liberation. As momentum for this change builds and expands in other cities and towns, we hope to assist those efforts in any way we can.
Still have questions? Feel free to contact us!