On Facebook this morning a friend had posted a photo of a cruelly confined pig at a factory farm desperatly chewing on the bars of her cage. A caption read, “If your God had wanted us to eat animals, do you really think he would have given them the ability to feel pain and fear? What kind of sadistic individual would that make him?!”
Good questions. Taking it a step further, I have to wonder…if god had wanted us to eat animals, do you really think he would have given us the ability to feel their pain and fear?!
Unfortunately, empathy and compassion are not doled out equally to all.
Some people feel them so strongly it literally pains us to hear about the brutalities inflicted on nonhumans by their fellow man. The sadness is outweighed only by the understanding that many of the animal cruelties are so widespread and so accepted by society it will require nothing short of a major revolution in thinking to put an end to them. For those of us so well-endowed with empathy and compassion, every KFC, Arby’s or McDonalds commercial, every shiny photo ad for this weeks’ meat and dairy specials at the local market, every camo-clad nimrod in a pickup truck sporting an NRA bumper sticker inspires feelings of grief, anguish or anger.
There are those, Temple Grandin, for instance, may be able to feel empathy but apparently not compassion. Her autism allegedly allows her to experience the fear and anxiety factory farmed animals go through, yet her lack of compassion allows her to work for the animal industries, helping to spread the absurd, feel-good myth that some animals are “humanely” raised (and slaughtered), thereby giving consumers a license to ignore any twinges of empathy or compassion they might have.
And there are many who are completely incapable of feeling empathy for others. They’re the lucky ones—if hollowness, selfishness and superficiality are to be considered enviable traits.