When vegans talk to non-vegans about “animal farms” and the other animal use that goes on inside them, non-vegans often claim that they “know” about farms and they already have the knowledge they need in order to make an informed decision about whether to consume animal products or not.
They may say that they are happy to consume other animals but they are opposed to “cruelty to animals.” They often claim that they are pretty sure that the other animals they have eaten have not suffered.
This video by sociologist Roger Yates, organising volunteer for the Vegan Information Project, looks at this issue in terms of socialisation processes – the lessons we learn as children about human relations with other sentient beings.
When non-vegans claim knowledge of other animal use, they are often recalling the vision of “free-range farming” they encountered as children in books – or because they may see, for example, cows or sheep in fields as they pass in trains or cars. Such scenes remind them of those early picture book stories of “happy animals” who live in farms.
This is part of the process of creating generation after generation of animal loving animal users who have been taught by the ideology of animal welfarism – the dominant way by which humans think about their relations with other animals – that “non-cruel use” is not only possible, but common. They’ll often agree with the proposition that animal farmers “love” and “care” about the other animals in their charge, and they’ll accept the notion that other animals eaten by humans have “only one bad day.”