It would seem that the blog I wrote last August, 'The Quality Of Mercy Is Not Strained' (using the treatment of a bull as an entrée to explore society's lack of empathy for farmed animals) will not lie down! It continues to provoke comment. I had to laugh at one that came in today stating "I do not believe the picture is true because not all bulls are raised and treated that way." DUH!! What's that got to do with anything? But the one that really took the biscuit today and is the spur for this blog was from somebody named Bernard. It simply said the following.
"So you've never worn leather then Mark?"
I imagine that Bernard thought this an immensely clever thing to say. I suppose that he intended to imply that I was being a hypocrite for writing a blog about eating animals if I have previously enjoyed products made from them. I guess he imagined that this was putting me straight by facing me with my evils, and in some way justifying his own stance on how animals are treated, whatever that is.
Unfortunately the impact on me did absolutely nothing to give me cause for pause. In truth I found the comment utterly asinine and the product of some seriously deficient thinking. Here's why.
Yes Bernard, I have worn leather shoes, belts and coats. And as a matter of interest I have bought leather sofas, cars with leather seats and trim, leather car cleaning cloths, watch straps, dog collars, leashes, leather bound books, etc, etc, etc.
But now, Bernard, I don't.
I don’t because I know all about animals being skinned alive for leather and being forced to undergo the most hideous and excruciatingly painful deaths so that I could buy the products made from them.
I don’t because I understand that I have been complicit in the murder of creatures that valued their lives every bit as much as I do mine.
I don't because I am fully aware of what ghastly things I have allowed to be done in my name.
I don’t because I have decided that I don't want to be a part of that anymore.
I don’t because I deeply regret my choices in the past.
I don’t because surely we should be constantly growing and developing as we evolve?
I don’t because if our actions in the past are allowed to define what we are rather than being mere indicators of what we were, we are never on our way to becoming something else.
I don’t because I have learned that depriving any sentient being of its life for any purpose is wrong.
I don’t because I now choose to live consciously, trying to right the wrongs I have done by making others aware of what it is they are really doing.
I would call that progress, not hypocrisy.
I am trying to be part of the element of our society that is making progress.