Bustin' Vegan Myths: Week 6!
It’s what you’ve been waiting for all week … right?!
… Wrong. But guess what? I definitely ate fish for at least a year while claiming to be vegetarian, just not knowing any better. I don’t know where this idea comes from … because fish are definitely not swimming vegetables. Fish are sensitive, intelligent, talkative (yep, they talk to each other!) and even avoid pain (sound familiar?). Anyone who claims to be vegetarian but eats sea kittens should take a look at this … or this.
My favorite story about fish comes from PETA VP Dan Mathews, who grew up going fishing with his dad. Being bullied in school a lot for being gay and overweight, Dan had a lot of experience basically cowering on the floor while staring up at people who were all laughing at him and looking on as he laid defenseless. One day, while fishing, Dan looked down at a fish who was gasping for air and realized that in this instant, he had become the bully. He never ate fish again. (You can read the excerpt from Committed here.)
We get it. Bees are kind of scary. You can’t pet them, hang out with them, and in all honesty, they’re not that cute. So is it OK to exploit them?
Let’s break it down. Profiting from honey (aka exploiting bees) requires the manipulation and exploitation of the insects’ desire to live and protect their hive. Just like pigs, cows, and other factory farmed animals, honeybees are victims of unnatural living conditions, genetic manipulation, and stressful transportation. Often queen bees are killed, confined, and artificially inseminated (which also involves killing the male bees or “drones”) … sounds familiar, right?
When someone asks me why I don’t eat honey, I simply answer by saying I’m vegan, and I’m not a thief. What if you spent your whole life dedicated to making one thing … and someone just came along and snatched it? Effed up, right?
Oh, the zoo. How many a day I spent as a young’n <3’ing all of the animals at the zoo. I loved animals! Of course I would go to the zoo! I mean … they’re educating people, saving animals, helping save species … right? You can imagine my surprise when I found out that zoos are pretty much a big money makin’ sham.
Now that I think back, I remember seeing animals circling their cages, pacing back and forth, curled up in the fetal position rocking back and forth, and crying out in loneliness … but none of that mattered to me! I got to see a LION! HELLO!?! Unfortunately, that’s just how most people think.
Zoos claim to educate people and preserve species, but they usually fall short on both counts. Most zoo enclosures are very small, and rather than promoting respect for or understanding of animals, signs often provide little more information than an animal’s species, diet, and natural range. Birds’ wings may be clipped so that they cannot fly, aquatic animals often go without adequate water, and many animals who naturally live in large herds or family groups are kept alone or, at most, in pairs. Like this one.
Sure—saving animals from extinction sounds great, but zoos rarely fund efforts to do that. Most zoos focus on the latest and most popular animal, breed in order to have cute baby animals to lure people in with, and deny animals everything that is natural to them.
Comment below with a myth you hear and we’ll bust it next week! Make sure to check the other blogs in this series to find answers to myths galore!