I was very moved by John Sanbonmatsu’s thoughtful letter, “Flawed Arguments Offered for Animal Farming” [Dec. 7, Xpress]. In the past few months, strong arguments have been made by both sides regarding the lives and killing of animals, including my own two letters. I am grateful we are having these conversations, and people are making new choices around plant-based diets.
The bigger picture that is starting to emerge, however, reflects where we are as humans in regard to how we treat others, how we treat ourselves and how we treat the planet. We know of human atrocities in the past involving each other as well as animals. It seems to be the result of depersonalizing the “other” and then rationalizing our aggression to take what we want as a result.
So many of us felt devastated by the recent election results and felt we immediately fell backward in time. Many minority groups are now wondering about their safety and place in this country. We are at a pivotal point in humanity. We can go backward or go forward in terms of how we treat others. Like a slippery greased pole, the momentum to slide downward is strong. At the same time, awareness is trying to free up old patterns and break through in new directions.
I don’t agree with Frank Salzano’s letter from Nov. 30 [“Wild Abundance Looks Forward to Apology,” Xpress], where he says, “People are going to eat meat, and sorry to say this, but get over it!” No, people are not necessarily going to continue to eat meat. We are changing. The key, it feels, is to continue to have the courage to see the other, be it a human or animal, with fresh eyes and with the awareness that the “other” is a living, sentient being just like myself.
This is not only true with how we view animals, but so crucial in the coming months as strong forces in the political realm try to convince us otherwise. It feels we are on the razor’s edge just now, and all the small decisions we make add up to the direction we are heading. We can choose a healthy, plant-based diet that shines kindness on all creatures and this planet or, regressively, can choose a path of ignorance with regard to the suffering of billions of animals and the planet that is destructive and leads nowhere but down.
— Miriam Hard