Well, I tried to hold true to my promise to swear off philosophizing, but I come across too many issues that need addressing to stay on that wagon for very long. The latest thing that got me thinking was a Facebook poster that read:
“I went to Subway today to get my favorite sandwich. The guy in front of me ordered a different sub. I was pissed because he didn’t get the same sub as me, even though it didn’t affect me in any way.
“This is what people sound like when they say gay marriage affects them.”
While I get it, and agree with the analogy in that context, I couldn’t help but think about the scenario in a literal sense. Ordering a Veggie Delite (hold the mayo and cheese) at Subway, I find myself getting pissed if the guy in front of me is ordering a Cold-Cut Combo sub. Not because it directly affects me, but because of the multitudes of sentient animals who endure miserable lives and horrible deaths to appease such hedonistic humans’ thirst for blood (and flesh and tissue and animal fat, etc.).
The sacred right to personal choice should be limited by the rights and interests of others. It’s not like I care whether someone’s food choices are unhealthy—hell they can smoke, drink or overeat to their heart’s content—as long as no one else suffers for their actions. And factory-farmed animals being served at fast-food restaurants suffer unimaginable conditions. Enslaved for life, a pig raised for bacon or sausage has no semblance of the kind of existence nature intended. The same goes for cows confined on feed lots, and chickens or turkeys de-beaked and crowded into windowless barns.
On a related note, last night I watched the Spielberg flick, Lincoln, and had a similar thought: although it’s inspiring to see how far we’ve come as a country in terms of accepting racial equality, we still have a long way to go in applying the notion of “equal under the law” to all of our fellow Earthlings. In order for society to truly stop living off the backs of the enslaved, the concepts spelled out by Thaddeus Stevens in the 13th amendment—that though all are not always equal in all things, they should be treated equally under the law—must apply to both human and non-human animals alike.
Just some food for thought next time you feel entitled to a meat-lover’s combo submarine sandwich. Every time you order from Subway, the “fate of human decency” is in your hands.