Speciesism and Kids?
by Diana Kozenyatko
Translated into Spanish by Rob English
So first off let’s define the word itself, Speciesism, defined as treating a certain species as more valuable or more important than another; for example, cats and dogs we love but cows and pigs we mistreat for our taste buds. Society portrays this idea to kids. We might not say it out loud but actions of course speak louder than words.
A distinct memory from a movie always makes me think of speciesism and how parents put it on to kids. In one scene of a movie a girl is sitting down with her mom and brother and is eating a burger. The little girl then asks her mom what is a burger made from. The mom then proceeds to say that it comes from a cow and the little girl immediately spits it out and doesn’t proceed to eat the burger. The little girl is smarter than her mom. She knows that it’s wrong and in her view gross to eat animal foods. She had that connection instantly with no hesitation and her mother told her “just eat your damn food.”
In a way we brainwash kids to eat one and love the other. I once had those thoughts too just like that little girl. I always thought meat was gross to eat. I hated eating meat when my mom put it in soups or dishes. But parents and society teach kids that speciesism is okay. Am I blaming the parent? Yes, but maybe the parent once had the same thought as their child when they were a kid. This is why education is a great tool. Imagine the world we would live in if we taught kids to love everyone and taught them eating animals is wrong and morally unacceptable. It’s crazy how society brainwashes kids, and not just society but big corporate companies like the American Heart Association do too. I mean they’re literally promoting beef recipes! How is that okay you might ask? Well they need business they need people to get sick without people getting sick there is no business.
As I have been growing up, I have been learning there’s a lot of lies that are promoted by the food industry. For example, the egg industry has lied to me. No one writes on egg cartons that to be able to get those eggs male baby chicks had to be tossed into a grinder to be killed alive. We take advantage of one animal species as fashion, as food, as entertainment. All living beings deserve respect, love, compassion. What did animals do to deserve being tortured alive, being used as entertainment at a zoo or circus?
Not to step into a touchy subject of religion but many Christians love God, love people, love their dog but yet go hunting? Why do we show compassion to some and not others? Why is it in some religions you aren’t allowed to eat pork but are allowed to eat other animal foods? It just doesn’t make sense.
So, you might ask how do I stop this and how do I teach? You have to start educating yourself and then educating others. Kids naturally love animals. I mean at least I did. I called myself an animal lover but I was eating animals! We need to teach kids the truth and you might ask, well, why kids? Why teach them? Well, kids are the future, they are going to be raising future generations and so on. We have to be able to teach kids this topic young, educating kids on how to build a healthy vegan diet, and teach them that animals deserve compassion and love. Not just dogs and cats but all animals.
Imagine the world with no animal farms, no zoos, no leather and fur products. And not to mention climate change, we use so much of our soil and land for soy to feed animals. We would overcome global hunger. We need to teach younger generations they are the future. If you’re reading this and thinking, well, what can I do right now to spread the word? Lead with example; lead with love; share vegan recipes to nonvegan friends. Share documentaries to watch. Maybe go out to a vegan friendly restaurant. I know when I switched to a vegan diet and posted recipes onto my social media platform many of my friends who are fellow Gen Zss started asking me for good vegan food to try. Many of my friends started buying more vegan alternatives because of my posts. A little impact will go a long way. I know it’s frustrating but it will take time for the world to go completely vegan. Again, remember education is a great tool.
On a more positive note the Beyond Meat brand is outnumbering sales of Tyson chicken!
Diana is a member of People for Animal Rights, a grassroots organization comprised entirely of volunteers.
Contact People for Animal Rights
P.O. Box 3333
Syracuse, NY 13220