Words shape our thoughts; so when we form the thought “cow,” the totality of the image isn’t simply a furry thing with four legs, quite big and friendly, but it’s also a thing that we eat, brand, milk, fatten up, wear as clothing and of course eventually kill and turn into various food products. In other words, a cow is an object that waits for us to use, abuse and kill it, despite whatever bucolic connotations we might also associate with their lives.
Same for a pig. Not necessarily the intelligent and amusing and sometimes ornery and stubborn things they often are, but a disgusting animal that roots in it’s own shit and piss. One of the lowest of the “livestock” animals, as if they were living shares of a corporation, or cans in a pantry
How we treat these animals is how we think of these animals–it’s how we distance ourselves from the truth of our horrific actions against them. It comes as no surprise then that we use these same words for people and groups of people that we despise and abuse. Calling heavier-set women cows; calling police officers pigs; calling people sheep. Those that we kill in war or undocumented migrants are animals.We create intellectual barriers so we can perform acts of cruelty against them.
The language of the carnist is the language of the oppressor, the colonizer, the rapist, the mass murderer. We must be more conscious of our thoughts and actions if we are ever to escape this senseless circle of destruction, consumption, excretion, waste, destruction.