Dorothea Mackellar had it right a century ago when she wrote in her famous poem “My Country” about a land of “droughts and flooding rains,” where we feel “sick at heart” when “around us,/ We see the cattle die“.
Today, the news channels and social media feeds are full of stories about graziers who are sick over the deaths of hundreds of thousands of cows – drowned in floods or, a few weeks ago, dying of heat exhaustion and thirst during the drought.
The commentary on this situation focuses on graziers who stand to lose millions of dollars in assets: their “livestock”.
But these are living, breathing, feeling animals whose lives are as important to them as ours are to us. The term “livestock” is used to desensitise us to the fact that, like us, they are sentient beings.
To treat other living beings as nothing more than units on a production line and profit from the sale of their flesh is to objectify them in the worst possible way. This is the real reason why they’re dying.
The scenes in Queensland are devastating. But if the animals in the graziers “care” hadn’t drowned in the floodwaters or died of dehydration in the drought, they would have been hung up by their back legs in an abattoir so that their throats could be slashed open, and–because of the speed of processing –some would have still been fully conscious. Graziers are now mostly “sick at heart” because they’re not making enough money from the appalling deaths of these animals.
Droughts and floods also occurred in Mackellar’s time, but they’re becoming more intense as climate change – to which animal agriculture is a major contributor – speeds up. As long as we continue to buy the flesh of these unhappy animals, graziers will continue to breed them, on land that’s entirely unsuitable for this purpose.
Please, spare a thought for the real victims of these floods and droughts – the animals. You can help them by choosing vegan meals. Compassionate plant-based eating is the obvious and best choice for people who are concerned about cruelty to animals or want to reduce the size of their carbon footprint. It’s becoming more and more popular every day, and as a result, vegan options abound in restaurants and supermarkets. Order our free vegan starter kit, which is packed full of recipes, tips, and advice, including nutritional information and ideas for quick and tasty vegan meals.