It’s true that most people aren’t exposed to what the animals go through in factory farms, but they are aware of the basic facts. Humans don’t have to know that factory farms are the cruelest exploitation systems ever in history, it is enough to know that they exist to be morally accountable. And even more basically, they know that meat is animals’ flesh. They know that animals are born to die. They know meat is murder. Knowingly participating in hurting nonhumans is sufficient. Humans consume animal products because they want to, not because they don’t know better.
The problem is not ignorance, but apathy.
"Animal liberation" by peter singer was written more than 40 years ago, "Animals machines" by Ruth Harrison was written more than 50 years ago, and since these two, hundreds more were published, and there are hundreds of websites and social-media platforms with thousands of videos and tens of thousands of photos documenting animals' systematic exploitation by humans. People have many ways to get the information if they want to, they just don’t.
Obviously, people are trying to avoid the acknowledgment that it is not moral to exploit animals, arbitrarily drawing their personal line at any place that fits their day-to-day routine. From minding themselves only, to family and friends, same country, same religion, same species, "free" range eggs only, no veal only, no tested cosmetic products only and etc.
Unfortunately, you are avoiding the acknowledgment about how they’re avoiding the acknowledgment.
Worldwide, many humans are still regularly exposed to the everyday sights of animal exploitation, the same as humans have been not long ago all over the world. Does it matter to them? Did it ever?
Even though not all humans have been exposed to evidences from the inside of factory farms, hundreds of millions have been. The information reaches them through leaflets, social media, mainstream media, best seller books, demos, stands, so on. Also many have witnessed animal transportation, on the road, right before their very own eyes. Did this visual information matter?
The animal rights arguments are so simple and right. They are based on solid facts and evidences. Nobody can confront them rationally. Why then is it so hard to convince someone to go vegan?
The reason is that rationality is not enough in this world. It has proved itself as an insufficient element in order to change people’s habits. Rationality can’t beat motivation. For a more extensive view on that matter please read Even the most selfish argument is not working in our article section.
Take vegetarians for example, not only that they are aware of the harms inflicted in factory farms, they are even actively resisting parts of it. The problem is that they do it while supporting other parts of it including the meat industry which they seemingly act against. The milk industry and the meat industry are inseparably bound together, given that a mother is inseparably bound together with her babies. The leather industry is even more strongly bound with the meat industry, and the egg industry shares with the meat industry all its violent elements and even for a longer period of time for each victim. And yet, despite these facts, or any logical consistency and ethical coherency, vegetarians artificially separate the industries as if you can resist one and support the other. Not because they are unaware of the harms in the egg industry or the inseparable connection between the milk and meat industry, but only because this is where they have decided to draw the line.
And not only that the infirm concept of vegetarianism didn’t gradually merge with veganism, there are many more vegetarians than the ethically firmer, coherent, factually based and logically consistent vegans. Of course there are many problems with veganism as you can see here, however they are much more complex than the ones with vegetarianism, which scream out of the dairy farms and battery cages.
A few decades ago vegetarians could have honestly argued that they are not aware of the harms in the eggs and milk industries. But in the last couples of decades, when every vegetarian knows what veganism is, they can no longer honestly argue for lack of awareness.
The fact that there are much more vegetarians than vegans in the world, indicates how small is the part information plays in humans’ moral decisions. If all the vegetarians know what goes on and most still decide to stay vegetarians, it is most likely that non vegetarians need more than to be informed for them to stop being flesh eaters.
If you examine the arguments that are raised in conversations about animal rights and about veganism, you won’t find even one rational argument against animal rights or veganism.
You’ll never stop hearing the same stupid old responses:
“What about how other animals kill and eat each other?”
“Human beings are a part of the food chain, and eating meat is natural. So then, how can it be wrong?” “But didn’t our ancestors eat meat?”
“If God did not want us to eat meat, then why did he place animals on the Earth?”
“How do you know that plants can not feel pain too?”
“What about insects?”
“Where would I get my protein from?”
“Would you rather save your child or your dog?”
“Shouldn't we focus on solving human problems before worrying about animals?”
“If everyone become vegetarian, then what will we do with all the farm animals?”
“If we didn't raise animals for food, then they would never have had the chance to be born and experience life at all.”
“Don’t you have something better to do?”
…and you will give the same answers.
For how long will you participate in this game?
Lack of information is not the problem. The problem is that people that do know what is going on are not doing anything about it, and the few that do something, are aiming at the wrong direction.
The vast majority of people’s awareness of what’s going on is sufficient enough for them to decide not to participate in the abuse. But besides that, on a deeper level, behind the argument that “the problem is that they don’t know”, lies the speciesist assumption that humans should be presented with all the available information, all the reasons and rationales for stopping their systematic abuse, first, and then they will decide whether to stop or not.
A non-speciesist claim on the other hand would be that nonhumans should be free from their exploitation first and regardless of humans’ decision or opinion.
It shouldn’t be about what humans know or don’t know, or willing or not willing to do - as it’s not about them. It’s about stopping the suffering of their victims. It must not be about humans and their journey of gaining knowledge, and self-improvement and redemption.
Choosing to inform humans about their daily torture is accepting and reinforcing the concept that it is humans' decision whether or not to change the way they treat nonhuman animals. It is declaring that it is their minds that count. Humans’ power and control shouldn’t be an obvious given.
The fact that the animal rights activists’ natural tendency and the first and last plan of action, is to inform humans about their daily torturing of the weaker for their own minor benefits, habits and pleasures, is in itself wrong, violent and speciesist.
Our job is not to convince humans to stop abusing, our job is to stop the abuse.
The problem is not that humans don’t know what’s going on, the problem is that the most caring people in the world are wasting their so precious time on informing the rest of humanity about the greatest exploitation system ever in history, hoping that some of them will be kind enough to stop some of it, instead of looking for ways to annihilate them all so none of it will ever exist.