I have being thinking about morals and ethics and when or if we should foist them on others
· Sep. 22, 2006
(Sorry, this has nothing to do with a particular SAINTS animal - no story here so you are free to not read any further)
This has been something I have always struggled with as I have always believed we all make our own decisions when we are ready for them. I donâ€™t believe in educating people by voicing my opinions. If someone asks, then I well share. I never ask someone to believe the way I do. But I am human which means â€œthe world revolves around me so everything I think must be the right way to think because it came out of my headâ€. I try to remember to educate by doing not â€œnattering at peopleâ€. But here again, I am showing my ego by thinking everything I think must be correct because it comes out of my head
The other volunteer work I do outside of animal welfare (and their work is just as near and dear to my heart if not more dear) is Amnesty International. They have one belief that I do not share or I waver on. They do not believe in capital punishment (wonâ€™t go into details about why they do as they have some very valid points and I wonâ€™t go into details why I canâ€™t make up my mind as I think I have valid points). I belong on a list of Urgent Action Files. Emails go out to me and thousands of people around the world asking for us to write a letter ASAP on behalf of a human rights activist or prisoner of conscience or a person who is on â€œdeath rowâ€. These peopleâ€™s lives are in immediate danger so we need to act now. I will write a letter in the first 2 instances but I can never bring myself to on the 3rd because, no matter what, that person I am to write a letter on behalf of killed another human being. I can never make up my mind where I stand on the issue so I do nothing. I never say anything to anyone in my group, especially to Sylvia, who strongly opposes capital punishment, because I admire and respect Sylvia who has been doing this work since the late 70â€™s. I hope to still believe and fight the same fights 25 years from now.
The volunteer work I do for animal welfare is more immediate because it is more in my face and I am often sadden and confused that it takes away from my Amnesty work. Right now I am taking a break from Amnesty and the Surrey SPCA because I have Oliver and Chase in foster with me and going to walk the dogs at the Surrey SPCA (which is my most favorite thing in the world to do) or attend meetings and write letters for people who are far away and even to go out to any SAINTS work parties and/or events takes away from the foster animals that have been put in my care. This paragraph has nothing to do with the subject at hand really but I feel guilty about this decision because it is in my nature to be guilt ridden even though I think I have made the right decision. I just needed to get it out.
What is being discussed on brindleweb now has brought out some of what goes through my head when I think about my volunteer work in the animal welfare (is that what you call it?) field. Do I agree with all the ethics and/or morals that I see for the 2 organizations I volunteer for in animal welfare in regard to me being who I am? No. I wonâ€™t discuss the SPCA because I donâ€™t think this is the forum to do that. But I can (hopefully in a safe manner without repercussions) discuss the difference between the SAINTS philosophy/morals/ethics (Iâ€™m not sure what to call it) and me.
My views are definitely shaped by the fact that I am a vegetarian and chose to be at the tender age of 14 (my niece made this decision at 11 yrs â€“ yeah for her, I am so proud of her). I chose to be a vegetarian for the following reasons:
- Because I believe animal have souls which are equal, not less or more than a humanâ€™s soul.
- Because I think humans, as an animal species, are in a unique position to choose to be carnivores, herbivores or omnivores. The human species began as vegetarians originally, this is backed up by physical remains of their teeth â€“ somewhere along the line they decided they liked meat and their teeth began to change.
- Most importantly, if I had to physically go out and kill any animal, I would not be able to do it. Because I can not carry out this act, I feel it is not right for me (and know one else because everyone has to make their own choices) to eat any living thing.
This means that I will not eat anything that has the same cell structure as us which even includes oysters because I believe we have some similarities. Plants do not have the same cell structure. A plant has a wall around the cell structure which allows the plant to photosynthesize which is something an animal can not do even if it is immobile like a coral that lives in the sea. I know I draw my lines here but I have to draw them somewhere.
So this is all leading up to my differences with SAINTS â€œpeopleâ€. Most of the volunteers and the founder (Carol) are omnivores which is fine because everyone comes to where they are in life for a reason. But here is the think that I canâ€™t get over. SAINTS has animals in their care that are traditionally considered farm/stock animals â€“ these are the chickens and the sheep and I believe there was, for a very short time, a pig at SAINTS. Now I think most of the people who volunteer at SAINTS eat chicken and pig (ham and bacon) and possibly sheep (pork chops, lamb stew). I donâ€™t get this. Okay lets say sheep is not consumed by anyone but I am sure everyone consumes cows. This is how I see it - cows are less valued than sheep if you will eat a cow but not a sheep. In my world, that doesnâ€™t equate. So no one would ever eat the chickens at SAINTS or the chickens would never go to a home where they would ever be consumed as meat or wouldnâ€™t go to a home where another animal is consumed. This seems like a very lofty and good goal. But this is the thing that goes through my head â€“ why is it okay to eat any other
â€œfarm animal out thereâ€ but not the ones from SAINTS. Why are they are not allowed to be eaten but any other animal (cow, sheep, pit, goat, etc) are allowed to be eaten, as long as they didnâ€™t come from SAINTS. I have had these discussions with Carol and she has given me explanations which make sense to her in her world but they donâ€™t make sense to me in my world because my philosophy is different. In my heart of hearts, I canâ€™t understand why each and everyone of those people who work with and love the sheep and the chicken and the ducks donâ€™t run to become vegetarians. But, you see, I am foisting my ethics, morals and views of the world on others.
When we had dinner in Mission, we were discussing the crab fest SPCA fund raiser in Prince George that had been cancelled due to the controversy over boiling the crabs alive. Very quickly in the discussion, I became aware that everyone but Sheila and I were eating lobster (which were probably boiled alive). To be honest, at this point, I didnâ€™t stop the conversation but watched it to see if anyone was struck by the fact that they were eating lobster, which had been boiled alive, while I condemned the SPCA for carry out such a function. I didnâ€™t see anyone put down their lobster. Everyone reacts to the world differently. What I saw before me was proof of that. Even though I would like everyone to react the way I do (being egotistical here again), it is their choice to see the world as they do. The world has always survived on a clear food chain model. That model must be there for a reason, right?
So why am I spouting all of this on a Friday night? Because things sit with me and eventually spout out of me. Carol once posted that there was no discrepancies at SAINTS that she was aware of. Well, I guess, in my world, there will always be discrepancies that will always exist as long as people view animals differently. Why is it such a horrible thing that people eat cats and dogs in another part of the world but it is okay for the western world to maintain turkeys in the most disgusting ways (we have turkey farm a couple of blocks up from us) and that it is acceptable (not talking about SAINTS volunteers here â€“ I know they would all think it was disgusting). Why it is okay for other chickens to be eaten but it isnâ€™t for the SAINTS chickens â€“ are they more special than others? And if we choose not to eat chickens because we decide they are worthy of our love, why are not cows?
I guess the posting on brindleweb brought up for me, all too clearly, that there are differences on how I see things, as a vegetarian, and how others do. Do I think that, by me posting this, I will change anyoneâ€™s thought patterns â€“ I highly doubt it. Do I think I am educating anyone here or giving them something to think about â€“ unless they are already approaching that space, I highly doubt it. Do I think people should think like me, no. In the end, I am not that egotistical. Everyone must follow their own path to get where they need to be and me foisting my opinions, ethics, morals on others is just wrong. Is it interesting to see how others think? I hope so.