Disasters take a huge toll on human life, infrastructure damage, and economies. The untold story of disasters, however, is the story of the monumental loss of life of the animals farmed for human greed and left to die.
While it is true that many dogs and cats have been killed in these storms and will be killed in the storm coming this week, many of which are much loved pets and family members, the animals who always suffer in the greatest numbers are the farmed animals. This is in no way exclusive to Vietnam. Millions of pigs and chickens were left to drown in North Carolina while left in confinement as the waters rose during Hurricane Florence in 2018. This is not a third world issue by any means and it cannot be fixed by pointing fingers across oceans and shaming low income countries. All countries are at fault because people consume animals and governments support animal agriculture around the world.
So far in this current monsoon season, 700,000 farmed animals have been swept away by floods in Vietnam and after this storm hundreds of thousands more will drown. There is nowhere for these animals to go and they are left in place as the rain fills their homes.
The greatest tragedy in this is that discussion inevitably will always come down to loss of livelihoods rather than loss of life. Chickens will not be counted as individuals, but as a dollar value lost. If hundreds of thousands of dogs were killed in a storm, there would be global concern and international welfare organizations would flood the media with calls for donations to send teams to assist in relief. But when the animals lost are chickens, ducks, pigs, and cows, the airwaves are silent and they are counted only as an economic loss. Dogs and chickens feel exactly the same terror as they drown, and yet it is the humans and the economy we fear for when they lose their profit machines.
The investment by the Vietnamese government in boosting animal agriculture subsidies has risen in the 7 years we have been operating in Hoi An, yet the topic of food security in the wake of ever-strengthening climate change related disasters has never been brought up by either government agencies or animal protection organizations operating here. Livestock are NOT a disaster resilient food or income source and there is ample research and decades of evidence to back this up. In addition to not being resilient, they are a public health hazard as flood waters increase transmission of water-borne zoonotic diseases spread by waste water overflow as well as the rotting corpses contaminating water sources for human use.
In spite of all of this evidence that the raising of livestock has catastrophic consequences for both animals and people in both disasters and non-disaster times, welfare organizations around the world continue to promote the nonsense that there is some magical right way to do a very wrong thing. The reality is that any time we use animals, in each system in which we use them, animals remain property of humans and nothing more. They are always going to be things that people can exploit and abuse at will while they are property and there are very few laws that can mitigate that.
Animal agriculture is not only responsible for murdering 2.8 trillion land and sea animals a year for products we DO NOT NEED, but welfare organizations are promoting this in spite of ALL evidence that points to abolition rather than regulation as solutions for the animals, the environment, and for humankind.
Wake up. Go vegan. Stop supporting systems that are harming animals and so much more than just the animals. When you buy into these systems, the blood is on your hands.
Photo credits:MSNBC, tbsnews.netNPR, Joanne MacArthur/ We Animalsabc.net.au, AP Vietnam News AgencyNongnghiep.vn