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Byron Shire
May 24, 2022

Seeing animals not as meals

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When I tell people that I just finished my Honours degree with a thesis on cannibalism in the movies, the main response I get is ‘what the…?’

My focus on films about cannibalism didn’t develop out of a love for horror movies, but out of my long-held passion for animal rights.

It’s astounding to me that while we are shocked and disgusted at depictions of cannibalism, most people can still carve the dead flesh of animals, chew it up, and ingest it without a second thought.

All living beings are comprised of the same things: flesh, bone, and blood; we all share the same capacity for love, joy, fear, and pain.

With my thesis, I wanted to explore and break down the disconnect that keeps people from seeing every animal they eat as an individual who did not want to die, who most likely suffered throughout his or her life, and who endured a terrifying and grisly death.

I am grateful to the educators at Southern Cross University for awarding my thesis the University Medal.

But for me, the true measure of success will be my ability to use what I’ve learned to help people see other animals not as meals, but as the individuals that they are.

My other big project, the Australian Vegan Starter Kit, is available right now from PETA.org.au.

Desmond Bellamy
, PETA Australia


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4 COMMENTS

  1. “Cannibalism” involves either the eating of human flesh by humans, or the eating of an animal by another animal of the same species.

    Explain how this applies to people who follow a mixed diet of animal and plant sources (omnivore) and more to the point, how cattle and birds are the same species as humans and vice versa.

    If you are going to make statements, then at least get your terminology correct, something I would have
    thought you would be able to do after finishing an Honours degree.

  2. I’m sorry. Can’t resist commenting on this story.

    If this doctorate was publically funded. Heaven help the human race and its finances. Des is one of us! Scary. PETA is essentially an organisation of disaffected humans.

  3. I find it ironic that vegans think of themselves as exemplars of the natural world when, in fact, they are in opposition to the accepted and well evidenced theory of evolution. Our robust and flexible gastrointestinal tract will manage a balanced, healthy vegan diet, but only in the same way as it can manage a balanced, healthy omnivorous diet. The differences in nutritional outcome is so insignificant as to be immeasurable.
    And what of the cruelty inflicted upon animals in industrialised approaches to food production? I think the evidence is clear that the propagation of animals (or any living matter) for the singular purpose of making money is detrimental in a myriad of ways, however, veganism does not provide answers in practical or ideological terms. The idea that the respect for “sentient” beings (noted in the above letter in emotive but unsubstantial ways) is a motivation for vegan lifestyle choice is not supported by reality, noted here… http://theconversation.com/ordering-the-vegetarian-meal-theres-more-animal-blood-on-your-hands-4659
    I find vegans to be counter-intuitively anthropocentric, suggesting they are above the natural processes that determines we are food to a lion, shark or bacteria. A hungry shark visiting Tallows will not be concerned with a disconnect that imagines “every animal they eat as an individual who did not want to die, who most likely suffered throughout his or her life, and who endured a terrifying and grisly death”… a vegan surfer, all bearded and tattooed sitting on a sustainably produced bamboo alia will make a nutritious meal for a great white. Why is this any different from a gun enthusiast hunting wild boar west of Kyogle and feeding his family with the meat?
    The Kyogle killer is more aligned with our evolutionary history than any vegan.
    You can’t just avoid hard science with wishful thinking….. and my guess is that the educators that awarded the medal were not from the faculty of science.

  4. I wonder what these animal lovers will do with all those millions of breeding herd if they get their way and we stop eating animals, cull them occasionally perhaps?

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