the following is an email i sent to a woman who appeared on an alternative news show, to speak to the issue of the relationship between mass killings (that happen in the u.s. on average once a day) and domestic violence and the violent cultures of the military and police:
i heard (and saw) you on the news show this morning. thank you for your wise words as well as the amazing work you do. (and welcome back to nyc!).
i want to encourage you to make one more link, in your endeavor to understand and address the violence of mass shootings and that towards women, gender non-conforming people and others as well as flowing from the violent natures of the military and police departments. the link to which i refer is to the violence that takes place every second of every day, as we consume the body parts of our sister and brother animals as well as the milk and eggs stolen from our sister cows and chickens.
though many people acknowledge that more than half the perpetrators of mass and serial killings also engage in domestic violence, most people are unaware that the same high percentage of perpetrators of mass and serial killings also engage in violence, torture and cruelty to our sister brother animals (many engaging in these activiites as children). take for example, devin kelley, who killed 26 elders, women (one pregnant) and children at the church in texas. he had previous to this incident been brought up on charges of cruelty to his dog, repeatedly punching him in the head, despite the yelping pleas witnessed by a neighbor. perhaps, if the well being and the life of this dog had been valued enough, these charges (as well as those brought by his wife and the resulting court marshall and year in jail) would have been transferred to the registry, thus preventing him from purchasing guns in the first place. there is a lot more that needs to be investigated here, but i want to bring attention to this particular aspect because it is so often ignored.
speciesism, the attitude and practice of devaluing the lives of other species of animals, because they do not belong to the dominant and dominating one, the human species, may very well be the foundational cause of ALL other forms of abuse, domination, killing and violence. there are scholars, scientists, primatologists, anthropologists, professors, etc who have come to the understanding that those humans who wandered out of africa, winding up perhaps too far north, out of cold necessity copied the carnivorous cats and thus began the divergence from their / our natural herbivorous, peaceful selves. living off cattle meant constantly being in search for new and fresh grazing lands, following herds south to lusher lands, more sunshine and humans with darker skin tans. it wasn’t hard for these northern eurasians whose hearts had been hardened to the pain and suffering they caused other animals, to be inured to the violence they perpetrated against these people with darker skin colorings. to justify stealing their land and resources, racist attitudes and behavior became the norm. these northerners had domesecrated the horse and thus had a definite military advantage over all others who had not. their pattern of dominance over weaker more vulnerable (peaceful) animals and humans also translated into violence towards, control of and domination over women. this happened perhaps 15-30,000 years ago and well before the racist, sexist, speciesist religions came into being, all starting with sacrificing of animals, in particular, the bull/cow.
if we ourselves are engaging in violence to our sister and brother animals, by eating their flesh, milk, eggs; wearing their hides (leather), fur, wool, silk, etc, then perhaps we need to look at our own role in the violence pervading our society. every day in the u.s. 500,000 baby chicks (1 day old) are ground up or suffocated (because they are male and don’t lay eggs). seventy billion animals are killed every year for food – that’s six million an hour (numberically comparable to a holocaust an hour); sixty thousand people die of starvation every day because most of the food grown on our planet goes to feed the animals who are in turn consumed mostly by a few wealthier “developed” countries. two hundred and fifty thousand people die each year from floods, hurricanes, extreme hot, cold, droughts and fires i.e. climate change – cause number one being the consumption of meat, dairy and eggs. since we are herbivores and our bodies are not designed to be graveyards for dead animals or to consume milk meant for baby cows or eggs meant to hatch into baby chicks, it makes us sick causing all the major (and minor) diseases and early deaths. if we care about the violence to women, gender-nonconforming people, people of color, the sustainability of life on our planet, then perhaps it would be helpful to look at our plates and decide we want to end this war on our sister brother animals and encourage others to do the same. the word for war, in sanskrit, is translated as “looking for other people’s cattle to steal.” societies based on consuming plants and respecting animals are the most peaceful in the world. perhaps this provides a clue as to the way forward.
i’m happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have and to suggest watching films such as “what the health” and “COWspiracy” that leonardo dicaprio got onto netflix, because he thought this subject matter so important. there are many other films, websites, articles and books (i.e. the dreaded comparison – human and animal slavery; the sexual politics of meat, the pornography of meat; eternal treblinka – our treatment of animals and the holocaust; beyond beef – the rise and fall of the cattle culture, man the hunted – primates, predators and human evolution; etc).
once again, thank you for your work and your shared knowledge on the news show. i look forward to any response you may have.