Cruelty is in the eye of the beholder
I did laundry yesterday. The laundromat lady had a pizza delivered. Another customer walked across the street for her Church's Fried Chicken fix. I took my copy of Prof. Gary L. Francione's Animals as Persons to the farthest corner of the room to avoid the sights and smells of the "food" they thoughtlessly consumed. I went back to my reading, absorbing the concept that as long as animals are "things" and not granted the rights of non-human persons, not much is going to change.
Today I saw a news story which proved that point, about chickens that were spray painted and set loose at Carnegie Mellon University and the outrageous cruelty perceived by the woman who is caring for the 9 hens delivered to her by campus police.
Understand, I think chickens are awesome. I like them so much, in fact, that I neither eat them nor their eggs. Every time I've got a birthday gift to buy, I make a donation to a farm sanctuary for the care and feeding of a chicken. Furthermore, I don't advocate anyone spray painting any animal unless said animal is a consenting adult and has requested to be engaged in some spray painting activity. But I digress.
What intrigues me is how the general public can compartmentalize the dichotomy of consuming animal products and yet be so outraged when as a prank (perhaps, I am speculating) some college students spray paint chickens and cut them loose in the hallowed halls, the very same hallowed halls they'll walk through to get to the cafeteria for the Chicken Noodle Soup.
I wonder if Beth McMaster is vegan. She's a wildlife rehabilitator. I'd think she might be, but I've got no way to confirm or deny. It doesn't take much evidence to realize she's mighty miffed about the spray painting of the hens.
From the article: "Ms. McMaster said that as of Wednesday evening, no one from the university had contacted her about the animals, which surprised her.
"I would think if they're serious about this and they want to get to the bottom of it, somebody would have called to inquire about how they're doing," she said.
"Do they want to keep these things quiet? Is it routine for a college to hide crime? I mean, I think it's a crime," she said. "I'd love to see this go public, because this ... shouldn't be tolerated at these schools or anywhere else."
McMaster sounds like she genuinely cares for chickens, right? If so, she must be vegan. If not, she's a hypocrite and in very good company.
Professor Francione wrote: "Alternatively, if we are to make good on our claim to take animal interests seriously, then we can do so in only one way: by applying the principle of equal consideration - the rule that we ought to treat like cases alike unless there is good reason not to do so - to animals."
I therefore propose that we vegans call upon those who would be outraged at the cruelty to look at the cruelty inherent in their lives as evidenced by whose skin they wear, by who is in their bellies, and by who has been killed for their convenience.