Fishes make up most of the individuals killed for human food. Every year, one to three trillion fishes are caught from the wild and 37-120 billion fishes are "farmed" for human consumption.
There is more than enough evidence to show that fishes feel pain and that they a wide range of emotions, and yet, they are some of the most neglected beings on the planet. Fishes caught from the wild are often crushed to death under each other's weight in fishing nets. Fishes who are caught from deep waters undergo rapid decompression where their organs explode, thus killing them. The rest are suffocated to death.
Fishes enslaved in "fish farms" are crammed together, with barely any room to move around. Fishes love their freedom but don't get to experience any of it in such enclosures. Most fishes are raised in abhorrent water conditions; infections and diseases are a regular occurrence. Their slaughter is unregulated and they die horrific deaths. They are killed through methods that include suffocation and dismemberment.
Like fishes, decapod crustaceans make up a huge portion of the beings we exploit for food. We kill 21-40 billion crayfishes, crabs, and lobsters, and 50-380 billion shrimps and prawns on farms every year. These numbers do not even include those caught from the wild.
Many humans don't want to acknowledge the fact that crustaceans are capable of feeling pain and should be treated as such. They are murdered by methods such as asphyxiation, boiling, dismemberment, and freezing. In fact, we are so far removed from these sentient beings that we often display them in restaurants to be picked for slaughter and consume their whole bodies on our plates without once thinking about the suffering they go through.
Pescetarianism, a lifestyle that directly oppresses crustaceans and fishes, is not compatible with compassion towards nonhuman animals. We need to stop harming animals who live in water just like we need to stop harming those who live on land.
Chickens are social animals who love spending time with each other. They enjoy being out in the sun, lazing around, and taking dust baths. Unfortunately, most chickens raised for human food don't get be socialize or even get to see the sun.
Most chickens "farmed" for food are crammed into cages with thousands of others, with no space to move around. Most of them are crippled under their own artificial weight. Their beaks are cut off, which results in excruciating pain. They are forced to live in their own excrement, susceptible to infections and diseases. They, along with others enslaved in less atrocious conditions, are murdered by having their throats slit or by being immersed in boiling water.
Hens exploited for eggs are forced into a similar destiny. After having their bodies exploited their entire lives and having their male children slaughtered (by being gassed or minced alive) at a very young age, "layer hens" are also killed violently in the end.
If we believe that it is morally wrong to harm nonhuman animals, it logically follows that we need to stop enslaving and killing them for food, clothing, entertainment, science, and other purposes. Veganism is the first but not the only step in challenging speciesism. By refusing to consume nonhuman animals and their products in a society where their exploitation has been normalized, we not only challenge an economic system built on oppression, we also challenge social norms which allow human beings to participate in exploitation without any qualms. The very existence of veganism forces humans to confront the morality of their lifestyle choices.
Veganism and Beyond
We, at Species Revolution, believe that following a vegan lifestyle and adhering to a vegan philosophy are not nearly enough in dismantling speciesism. We need to confront violence against nonhuman animals whenever and wherever we witness it. One can start by taking the Liberation Pledge, which can be a very powerful form of activism if implemented right.
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