Ecofeminism and animal rights are two topics that have been intertwined far before they were even formed as ideas. Ecofeminism is an idea that links the wrongdoings done to women to nature by saying that these wrongdoings in many ways parallel each other. Animal rights are based on the belief that all animals and living things deserve the same equality that humans do as living things. Both of these ideas have been formed and have come to the forefront of people’s attentions during the time of the modern, technology driven world. Take for example, a large-scale dairy farm, there; cows are raped through artificial insemination constantly until they can no longer produce milk. Here we see an obvious example of animals being denied rights as well as a female part of nature being taken advantage of. The connection does not stop there, when people first settled land in America, they took the earth and its resources as things under their control, they strapped oxen to their plows and put their plows through the hills and trees, they granted themselves dominion over all that lied in front of them and created a trend that still exists today. In all places of the developed world today this can be seen, humans consider themselves above animals and above the land and often it isn’t even something considered, rather general knowledge that anything in the world is at human disposal.
It can be seen through many sources how humans will abuse the world around them, looking at everything, as a resource to serve the ever-growing needs of our ever-growing species. From a New York Times article entitled U.S. Research Lab Lets Livestock Suffer in Quest for Profit reporter Michael Moss writes, “At a remote research center on the Nebraska plains, scientists are using surgery and breeding techniques to re-engineer the farm animal to fit the needs of the 21st-century meat industry. The potential benefits are huge: animals that produce more offspring, yield more meat and cost less to raise.” Here an extremely anthropic view is given, that we as humans have the right to do whatever we want to animals, and should if it benefits us. The article goes on to explain some troubling results, that animals being born from these experiments, are coming in bigger numbers however, they are all born with various physical abnormalities such as small bones, organ defects, and nutrient deficiencies. Such shocking facts, only resulting due to the fact that we as humans want things to be more convenient for us fall into the topics of animal rights and ecofeminism, we are exploiting aspects of the world in a way that puts them in an inferior position to us and from this we lose the integrity and true spirit of that aspect of nature. This feeling is one that is detailed throughout the article “As the decades have passed, the center has bucked another powerful trend: a gathering public concern for the well-being of animals that has penetrated even the meat industry, which is starting to embrace the demand for humanely raised products.” It is being shown here that people, some people at least are even recognizing this injustice to animals, there is a feeling that this is unnatural and unfair. Yet still this article tells of more unfair treatments to animals, like lambs who are being bred to live without the need for humans to take care of them and protect them, but already many lambs are suffering and being killed “30 to 40 percent of the lambs were dead, and some of those still alive were in bad condition, separated from the moms, and they would be dead the next morning.“ and for what, so that humans will not have to spend time with these animals as if they are so horrible.
The thought that animals are so horrible is something that can be seen even in cases where you would think of the relationship between animals and humans to be a loving one. The television show, Pitbulls and Parolees displays this, showing the disconnect between humans and dogs, namely pitbulls. In the show, there is a group of people who run an animal shelter for pitbulls as they are often seen as a species that is dangerous and unwanted. In the show, they display that these animals have many positive qualities and just because they have been devalued and diminished by a world that more and more wants the commoditized fluffy and friendly dogs, does not mean that they aren’t just as worthy of peoples respect, admiration and more so of being a part of someone’s family. The show points out that in a way these dogs have been denied equal rights to other animals, they have been deemed as violent and aggressive, but really they can be just as loving and affectionate as any other dog. In looking at this one species of animals as lesser to others, and then going on living our lives, as humans we create a severe inequality in the world. In acting as we are we are not only taking away the rights of one species but we are changing the rights of all species, we are placing our bias onto what connotes the right to have rights, as if not all living things should have equal rights; we cannot act as if it is just to impose these restrictions on the world. We are an extremely powerful species, we can dictate anything that goes on in the world, but something we may want to think about is how this can change the way of the world. Pitbulls and Parolees show the countless pitbulls who have to live in shelters because they are unwanted. The show also shows the countless pitbulls found wild because people released them. We are changing the way the world functions exponentially, and it is probably time we change the channel to Pitbulls and Parolees, recognize this, and then change the way we live our lives.
It is clear that although there are cases where people are striving to help animals, more influential people still are often making strong pushes to keep animals and nature in a place where they are ours to commoditize them and use them as we need them. An article written by Maddie Oatman for Grist titled Will the USDA Weaken Dietary Guidelines to Please the Meat Industry? talks about the fact that although today the world is focused on making our lifestyles more sustainable and environmentally friendly, there is still a focus on exploiting nature. The article says that since meat industries have received more strict guidelines as to how they can operate, that the meat industry has responded by spending millions of dollars to lobby against these restrictions. This just goes to show the nature of the modern world today, where spending millions of dollars to fight restrictions is more important that maybe just accepting these restrictions and not treating animals like they are merely slaves. All that was said in regards to the guidelines being expressed is that “a dietary pattern that is higher in plant-based foods … and lower in animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with a lesser environmental impact” this is not new stuff, how many people have heard the expression “eat your vegetables before” and yet now the meat industry is kicking up a fuss, refusing to “eat their vegetables” (do what is right) because now everyone is being told this and it threatens their way of life, which is, well, threatening the lives of others, (the animals that make up the meat industry). To them animals are their property, a part of the world is theirs to kill and sell, there is no morality, just a more harsh reality being created by their senseless actions.
In many places this corporate takeover of nature is not going over well, from The Ecologist Magazine, an article tells about how some people are not accepting the way nature and its many forms are being treated. In Occupy Agriculture! Polish Farmers Sit in for Land and Freedom Julian Rose talks about how Polish farmers are protesting large agricultural businesses buying up their land to plant genetically modified crops. These farmers value the land and want to live with it, without it they cannot survive and in exchange they tend to it with nutrients: “a focus of protest against the sell-off of their land to agribusiness, the arrival of GMO crops, and the imposition of a failed 'Western' model of farming that's creating huge corporate profits while debasing food.” Here we see another case of the typical modern cultural norms acting like a leech to nature, sucking out all that it offers with no regard for its own health. And it obviously is a terrible thing, the article says “In February, 6,000 farmers marched through” meaning six thousand farmers who need to be on their land to live and produce food to make some money walked away from this to move towards showing that it is unacceptable to take land and suck everything out of it as if it is a bottle of water existing to fulfill ones needs. But like that bottle, the result poses and obvious threat to the environment, where does that plastic go and what happens after genetically modified seeds and chemicals have been used on the land? The answer to this is what the farmers are fighting, and it is a fight that all people should get it in on, for it is simply not right to use the land as if it only exists to be used.
It’s detrimental to look at land and animals as things to be used, with that mindset, the actions we take cause both to endure great harm. In a PETA video, it shows how animals are abused constantly to help produce all of the products the human market demands today. They are branded constantly, have their horns clipped, are castrated, artificially inseminated, and left to lye next to their own feces until it is time to abuse them more. What this video is encouraging is to think about this and to realize that our actions and needs as humans, cause animals to be brutalized for their entire lifetime. The video encourages people to think about vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, where you do not need as much animals products or any at all. This is a great solution as it is hard to produce all of you own food, if you go vegetarian or vegan you can help these animals by causing production orders to go down so that at least less will suffer. In living this way you may inspire others to do so and if a movement like this was powerful enough, it could stop this terrible treatment all together.
Looking more towards solutions and ways to help support the land and animals around you, things to think about are where your food comes from, and what are the details behind its travel. In a Think Progress article by Cole Mellino titled, Local Versus Non-Local Food: Is The Kind of Food You Eat More Important Than Where it Comes From? it is recommended that you think about where your food comes from, and how that impacts the world, all the carbon emissions it may take to produce it and ship it are important things to be considered. “The average distance traveled by nonlocal broccoli delivered to Virginia Tech during the month of October 2009 was 2786.0 miles. The total amount of carbon dioxide emitted as a result of this transport was 105,830.0 pounds. This averaged to approximately 11,758.9 pounds carbon dioxide per shipment and 15.3 pounds carbon dioxide per pound of broccoli delivered.” Here we get great insight into our impact on the world. But this is only from one food, imagine of impact of all of the foods you may have in your house. So what is the solution? The article suggests that eating locally grown food and also vegan and vegetarian food can reduce impacts tremendously. By buying locally grown food, you are reducing carbon emissions, and by eating non animal products you cut down on the amount of production that is necessary “Replacing red meat and dairy with vegetables one day a week would be like driving 1,160 miles less” which reduces environmental impacts across the boars! Less carbon, less animal cruelty, less destroying land! “so yes, eating less meat and dairy will greatly reduce the impact your diet has on the planet. However, the combination of choosing the right foods with a local approach will have the biggest impact.” It could be an extremely powerful thing to both lose the animal products and lose the carbon emissions.
Looking at all of the information presented, it is clear that animal rights and ecofeminism are two rightfully prevalent topics today. This is clear, but what is key to see is that what must be done is to see an issue all the way through. Do not just complain about aspects of nature being treated poorly, do something about it, Buy locally grown foods. Give up animal products. Spread the knowledge that things are not as they should be. A general point of all of the sources used in this piece is no just that something is wrong but that something needs to be done. Stricter guidelines need to be imposed, guidelines that will counter the meat industry’s menacing quest for dollars. Local farmers will take care of our land and should be given the freedom to do so. Animals should be without cages, without abuse and without the assumption that they exist to serve human needs. Making personal choices to support all of these things is a monumentally important factor as well, going vegan, buying from these local farmers; living a life style that promotes equality for any and all is what must be done.