I was watching War of the Planet of the Apes, waiting on a classmate to come over for a study session, and then I thought to myself:
I have fully allowed these movies to convince me, that James Franco kidnapped a chimpanzee that lead a revolution that almost killed everyone in the world or Hollywood’s perception of the world…
Two movies later, Ceaser (Franco’s pet chimp) is back with a salt and pepper beard, looking like a young George Clooney, tucked away in some sort of Amazonian jungle, taking care of ‘his people’ like benevolent god-king.
But don’t get it twisted, this is not the night show. His son and old war buddy die in an ambush from his arch-nemesis, Woody Harrelson, and I think his wife escapes with the rest of the simians to a new hideout. Meanwhile, Ceaser gets captured trying to take revenge and ends up being called emotional for it.
You had a human being.
Telling a chimpanzee, with a straight face.
That he was taking the violence of war, ‘too personally’.
But then I started thinking about this: that ‘personal’ and ‘emotional’ are very human-centered concepts, because they are based off human understandings of the signals we get, from OUR emotional and cognitive receptors,
The pain in my back is ‘personal’ to me because it is my body that feels it,
The pleasure someone might get from watching a bunch of chimpanzees kill white people in army outfits is utterly personal and would not be the same ‘emotional’ reaction from someone else less interested in karma.
Is that a bit radical? Maybe.
But please, this isn’t your class in global political economy.
This is real life.
Coming back to the point, I ask you to think about how much we already personalize and categorize animals and their emotions. We can tell when our cat is happy, when our dog is frightened or furious.
We can tell when goats are in pain as their throats are slit.
We already know there’s an intelligence in there that recognizes the same feelings that we do.
But we all know this already.
Yet, we don’t think twice about that when we’re grilling the leg of a dead chicken.
As we eat our lamb wings and a deep-fried cheese, oh and we certainly don’t think about the violation female cows endure as they are raped for someone’s Nespresso Latte Double Frappuccino Mucus Water.
Whiteness didn’t think about the pain it was inflicting on the world beyond its own perception of personal and emotional tangibility, when an army of sadists gallivanted through people’s homes, taking their stuff.
Whiteness didn’t value the pain of the Rhodesians who saw the land they had lived on and off for decades on decades, exploited so badly that the effects are still visible today.
Maleness doesn’t value the psychological assault that comes with oppressive sexist norms in our society that leave women with nowhere except between a rock and a hard place, to exist, as objects of male sexual desire. Catch that. Objects.
There are so many more gruesome examples. But I digress:
These are the thoughts that plagued my mind when thinking about the wider implications of veganism.
It means not even buying leather products such as watches, car seats and jackets, because you know. That’s a cow’s skin. Like, cows are dying for that.
It also means re-evaluating whether a pet is the right and best way for an animal to live.
And by the way I lied, I have no serious evidence of pets evolving and killing us if they like they did in the Planet of the Apes franchise, but if you think about it it’s kindly likely, isn’t it?? At least for dogs and cats anyway, who have the highest amount of exposure to humans. They’re domesticated after all, i.e. in our living spaces. What’s to say a white supremacist dog can’t learn how to load a revolver and shoot somebody.
And whilst your brain is flying, land at the airport where you imagine me onma leash with nothing but a red and blue rain coat…
…tied to a tree, asking yourself why no one has helped me.
Anyway, I’m a hypocrite because dogs are cute.
Despite the very hysterical, somewhat delusional prospect of not eating meat or dairy products to majority of the living population, the reasons why I’ve chosen to stop eating meat at first was because I wanted to be healthy.
A documentary compiled extensive research showing that eating meat, mozzarella, and other such cholesterol rich animal based prodcuts, actually contributed to higher risks of heart diseases and dementia.
So I ain’t trynna go out like that or go crazy.
So, I dropped the meat completely, but probably up until earlier this year, snuck away the odd coleslaw, deep fried prawns, and some calamari out in Birmingham, and only now am I starting to understand the wider meaning behind saying no to ignoring another being’s pain, and really it was hard, I’m not saying going plant-based was just an overnight success story and I woke up with abs the size of papayas.
Oh, I wish.
But now I only eat plant-based. So #VGang.
I am in no equating slavery or neocolonials to the meat industry,
Or am I?….there are some parallels.