To open this dialogue, a bit of background: I once thought the death penalty was the "right thing to do." I changed my mind, or had it changed for me. In Junior High School I shared classes with Lisa Levy, one of Ted Bundy's victims. As an adult, a paralegal student, I learned of the groundbreaking laws involving hypnosis and witnesses that Bundy himself had caused to become Florida Law.
When Bundy was executed, I anticipated feeling "better, vindicated, SOMETHING" when in fact all I felt was recurring sadness that many young lives had been taken, and now, after his demise, many more families would never find closure.
Later, I was forced to reexamine my beliefs regarding the effectiveness of the death penalty on a more pragmatic basis. The bottom line is that it is more expensive for Florida citizens to house those on death row than life prisoners. - And that is front loaded costs, not the appeals after the fact.
But, viewing the big picture as a vegan, I see this:
For their "last meal"
Death Row inmates are served meals three times a day: at 5:00 am, from 10:30 am to 11:00 am and from 4:00 pm to 4:30 pm. Food is prepared by FSP personnel (under the watchful and profiteering eye of Aramark, Inc. ) and is transported in insulated carts to the cells. Inmates are allowed plates and spoons to eat their meals. Prior to execution, an inmate may request a last meal. To avoid extravagance, the food to prepare the last meal must cost no more than $20 and must be purchased locally.
Snazzy. So, that said, Inmate - let's call him "Moses" is on his last appeal, the end is nigh. He wants a Double Down from KFC with a milkshake. Assume for the sake of argument that Moses is innocent. So are the 2 chickens, the pig from which the bacon came, the cow - whose day old baby calf was stolen so she could produce the cheese for aforementioned Double Down, her baby boy who ended up in a veal crate, the chickens whose eggs contributed to the special sauce, the baby boy chicks who got tossed into the chipper/shredder because they'd grow up to be roosters. Let's continue with who dies needlessly. Whose milk ( probably from more than one cow, with more than 2 or three babies ripped from mommies) to make the ice cream for that shake.
That, is the last meal for Moses, but what about the 3 times a day slop that Aramark produces and feeds to the inmates (who may or may not be innocent of the crime they've been found guilty enough to land on Florida's notorious path to Ole' Sparky or the last dragon ride (lethal injection)?
Meals are served through an opening in the cell door. Death row inmates eat the same food as other inmates at the prison, but must eat inside their cells. The food is prepared by non-death row inmates in the prison kitchen. They receive about 3,000 calories per day. They eat with a plastic spork (spoon and fork combined). Inmates can buy other food from the prison commissary if they have money.
But….what of the animals? What are their crimes that brings them to death row in the form of "food?"
Is it not ironic that the innocent animals are also destined for death row, and indeed for all other meals in Florida prisons without any trial by any jury, without representation by any person human or non-human? Where is the justice?
Is it asking too much that those who approach we vegans with that "I've just seen a water moccasin look in their eye to reconsider, just for a second, that we may be right?
Can Moses be given justice? Can the countless animals that would die in vain for his last meal, can they be spared?
It's a vegan world if I want it. I want it. I want justice for Moses, and all the others that would end up as Moses' last meal.