Wednesday, February 25, 2015

EFFAISM: Suffering vs. death in regards to animal welfare

A friend of mine and I recently discussed animals used in various food industries, and whether or not suffering is, in fact, even worse than death for these animals. At least, my friend would say, the moment of death comes quickly, and the bigger problem, in fact, is the suffering they endure while they are still alive.

From an Effaist point of view, the short answer is pretty simple. Killing another sentient being is the worst thing you can do. This is why we do not support so-called, "ethical meat", where animals are supposed to have "happy lives" before they are killed; Relatively happy lives, sure, though their final chapter is still a crime. That said, making another innocent being suffer, as animals are made to suffer in many food industries, including the dairy industry, is almost as bad. To expand on the answer, I’d say that whether you’re talking about humans or other animals, both of the above-mentioned things are horrible. Like I said, all sentient life is precious, and while we should keep in mind that killing tops the list for unethical acts, we should, at the same time, do what we can to help diminish the suffering of the animals in question. It’s not an either-or situation.

My friend and I are basically on the same page. The only difference is that he would prefer to kill an animal than to see him/her suffer. Of course in some situations this may be necessary, though the concept becomes problematic when, for example, the animal that is killed is simply replaced by another suffering animal. This is the case with many animal shelters in the US. They use killing as a method of population control of dogs and cats, while no-kill methods can work just as well if one does them right. Another good reason to respect other animals’ right to live is that often awakens us to the idea that this life should be dignified and suffering-free. Many people start off with a simple “we should not kill animals”, and then move on to an even more empathetic awakening of their consciousness regarding the unfair way that we currently treat other animals. This is exactly why many vegetarians who stop eating meat for ethical reasons, later become vegans.

Friday, February 20, 2015

La Senda, Playa del Carmen, Mexico - Vegan and vegan-friendly places around the world

La Senda is the only all-vegan restaurant in trendy Playa del Carmen, Mexico. A relatively small, colorful place with some outdoor seating, it's located a block north of the central tourist-trap 5th ave. The food is good (though not spectacular and sometimes takes a while to arrive), the service friendly, and the prices reasonable (many dishes within the $4-6 range). There is no alcohol here, but they do have a good selection of freshly squeezed juices and smoothies. They also have a good selection of coffee drinks and vegan desserts.

La Senda
Avenida 10 N, between 10th and 10th bis streets
Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, Mexico
+52 (984) 148 65 97
https://www.facebook.com/lasendadepaz

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

The Caye Caulker Animal Shelter

A couple of months ago, I wrote about the importance of helping animals when you travel. I am currently in Belize, and I had a great opportunity to practice what I preach yesterday when I came across the Caye Caulker Animal Shelter.

I was walking along, when I saw their sign on the main street. I struck up a conversation with Kenny, the man who runs the shelter, who then invited me to tour around the premises to see first hand the great work that they do. The no-kill shelter takes in abandoned dogs, cats, and iguanas, and from what I saw, takes very good care of them. They have about 20-30 animals in total, and rely on private donations to keep helping the animals of the island.

Caye Caulker is a very touristy place, and thousands of tourists walk up and down the main street where the animal shelter is located. If you're a true animal lover like myself, and ever find yourself there, stop by and say hi to Kenny and the animals, and leave even a little bit of money to show your appreciation for what they do. Or, better yet, adopt one of the pets and take him or her home with you. A friend for life is better than any souvenir you can buy.

The Caye Caulker Animal Shelter Facebook Page
The Caye Caulker Animal Shelter official website