Many of the immoral acts that humans still do to animals were also once done to humans as well. Because of anthropocentrism and the fact that social change is slow and incremental, activists first fought for equality and better treatment of humans, and only recently have we begun to recognise that animals can also be victims of cruelty too.
Listed below are some examples of the parallels between the mistreatment of humans and nonhuman animals, some of which still exist today:
Gladiators/Colosseum – Around 2000 years ago, human slaves were made to fight to the death in large amphitheatres purely for entertainment.
Animal sports – Various forms of animals fighting or being killed for sport still exist including: bullfighting, cockfighting, pitbull fighting, horse fighting, and fox hunting. Source: https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-in-entertainment/cruel-sports/
Human Zoo’s – Human zoo’s and ‘freak shows’ have both existed to entertain the masses at the expense of the exploited few. Source: http://www.cbc.ca/natureofthings/features/human-zoos-a-shocking-history-of-shame-and-exploitation
Animal Zoo’s – There are estimates of around 10,000 animal zoo’s still in operation around the world. Many activists have reported poor living conditions and also abuse. Source: https://www.peta.org/issues/animals-in-entertainment/animals-used-entertainment-factsheets/zoos-pitiful-prisons/
Cannibalism – Various tribes have practiced cannibalism through history, and some still exist. Source: https://www.thesun.co.uk/living/1467880/nine-places-across-the-world-where-cannibalism-is-still-alive-and-well/
Carnism – Carnism is the ideology in which people support the use and consumption of animal products, especially meat. Despite the myths surrounding diets, humans do not need to kill and eat animals to survive; it is optional. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao2GL3NAWQU
4) Force feeding
Leblouh – Leblouh is the force feeding girls from as young as five to teenagers, in Mauritania, Western Sahara, and southern Morocco, where obesity was traditionally regarded as desirable.
Foie Gras – Foie gras is the liver of a duck or goose fattened by force-feeding corn with a feeding tube, a process also known as gavage.
5) Rape/forceful insemination
Human rape – The forceful act of sex against a person’s will, which humans have engaged in for thousands of years.
Dairy cows – Dairy cows are forcefully impregnated multiple times, otherwise they won’t produce any milk. (Whilst not the exact same as human rape, there are enough similarities to draw a comparison.) Source: https://www.peta.org/features/rape-milk-pork-turkey/
6) Mass Killing
Genocide – There were multiple genocides in history, one of the most famous being The Holocaust from 1941-1945 which involved the killing of around 6 million Jews, and 11 million other victims.
Factory farming – Worldwide, there are estimates of around 72 billion animals killed for food every year which is all unnecessary. Source: https://sentientmedia.org/how-many-animals-are-killed-for-food-every-day/
Humans (in slavery) – Castration has been used on humans multiple times on history, including slavery and through certain religious practices.
Animals (domestication) – Many types of animals undergo castration including sheep, cattle, goats and pigs, in order to reduce aggression and subsequent injury. Methods of castration are either by blade or rubber ring. Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castration#Animals
Humans Sacrifice – Human sacrifice the act of killing one or more humans, usually as an offering to a deity, as part of a ritual. Human sacrifice has been practiced in various cultures throughout history, for example the Aztecs.
Animal sacrifice – Animal sacrifice is the ritual killing and offering of an animal usually as part of a religious ritual or to appease or maintain favour with a deity. Animal sacrifices were common throughout Europe and the Ancient Near East until the spread of Christianity in Late Antiquity, and continue in some cultures or religions today.
Human slavery – Humans have engaged in the practice of slavery for thousands of years, including the Transatlantic slave trade and the Arab slave trade.
Animal slavery – Many animals are treated as slaves – Examples: monkeys in the coconut slave trade and donkeys being used to transport heavy goods. Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/leashed-monkeys-forced-to-pick-coconuts-in-thailand-a6701431.html
10) Body distortion
Foot binding – Foot binding was the custom of applying tight binding to the feet of young girls to modify the shape and size of their feet. The practice possibly originated among upper class court dancers during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period in 10th century China, then gradually became popular among the elite during the Song dynasty.
Animals – Various animals have their bodies distorted and mutilated in various ways including cutting off horns and beaks. Source: https://humanefacts.org/practices/
Slave auctions – The auctioning of slaves was commonplace in the Americas during the times of slavery. Humans were viewed as mere property to be exchanged for money. Source: https://www.historyonthenet.com/black-peoples-of-america-the-slave-auction/
Animal auctions/farmers market – Many animals are routinely sold due in actions and farmers markets. They are views as mere commodities with minimal consideration for their wellbeing or freedom. There are also documented cases of abuse. Source: https://www.peta.org/blog/video-peta-blasts-auction-hitting-shoving-animals/
12) Baby killing
Infanticide – Infanticide is the intentional killing of infants, which was practiced in various primitive cultures and tribes throughout history.
Veal, baby chicks – Many animals consumed for food are killed at a young age, and some still as infants because they are deemed ‘worthless’ such as baby chicks in the egg industry, or veal in the dairy industry. Source: https://www.peta.org/features/babies-killed-for-food/
Cages – There are documented cases of humans living in poor conditions with minimal living space, such as cages in Hong Kong. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQkvI_J8_QI
Animal cages – Many species are kept in cages all round the world with minimal freedom and room for movement. This includes laboratories, pet shops, animal agriculture, and sea world.
Humans – Humans have scapegoated each other in various ways throughout history. It is common in narcissistic families that one or more children are designed to be the family scapegoat.
Animals – A scapegoat is an animal that is ritually burdened with the sins of others, and then driven away. This process is mentioned the Old Testament of The Bible, but likely predates Christianity.
Both humans and nonhuman animals have suffered alongside each other and have been mistreated in many ways throughout history. Do we really want to continue this legacy of cruelty and exploitation of sentient life, or should we try and put an end to this once and for all?
Choosing to live a vegan lifestyle is the quickest way to help end these unnecessary atrocities, which will one day looked upon by future generations in the same way that we now look back on the darker parts of history.