Upton Sinclair, auteur de « La jungle »: sa vision du végétarisme pour les animaux
Upton Sinclair, auteur du célèbre « La jungle » – enquête de sept semaines à l’intérieur des abattoirs de Chicago et brûlot contre les trusts de la viande – était également végétarien (tendance crudivore).
Voici comment il décrit le végétarisme « humaniste » (on dirait aujourd’hui « animaliste ») :
The Use of Meat chapitre du livre The Fasting Cure
I called myself a vegetarian; but at the same time I realized that I differed from most vegetarians in some important particulars.
For instance, I had never taken any stock in the arguments for vegetarianism upon the moral side. It has always seemed to me that human beings have a right to eat meat, if meat is necessary for their best development, either physical or mental. I have never had any sympathy with that « humanitarianism » which tells us that it is our duty to regard pigs and chickens as our brothers. I was listening the other day to one of these enthusiasts, who had been reading aloud one of the « Uncle Remus » stories, and who went on in touching language to set forth the fact that his vegetable garden constituted one place where « Bre’r Rabbit » was free to wander at will and to help himself; and he described how happy it made him to see these gentle animals hopping about among his cabbages, having lost all their fear of him. That sort of thing will work very well so long as it is confined to one farm, and so long as there is a hunting season upon all the other farms in the locality; but let the humanitarians proceed to apply their regiment in a whole state, and they will soon have so many billions of rabbits hopping about among their cabbages that they will have to choose between shooting rabbits or having no cabbages.
The reader, I presume, is familiar with calculations which show the rate at which rabbits multiply, how many tens and hundreds of millions would be produced by a single pair of rabbits in ten years. It should be quite obvious that the time would come when all human beings would be spending their energies in planting gardens to support rabbits; and that if ever they stopped planting gardens, there would be a famine for the rabbits, with infinitely more suffering than is involved in the present method of keeping them down. Also, even though the humanitarians might have their way with men, the hawks and the owls and the foxes would probably remain unregenerate. I remember, when I was a small boy, being sternly rebuked by an agitated maiden lady who discovered me throwing stones at a squirrel. Not so many days afterwards, however, the lady discovered the squirrel engaged in carrying off young birds from a nest outside her window, and she found her theories about « kindness to dumb animals » rudely disturbed.
The same thing, it seems to me, is still more true of domestic animals. Domestic animals survive on earth solely because of the protection of man, and for the sake of the benefits they bring to him. If it is necessary to human health and well-being to slaughter a cow rather than to wait and let her die of old age and lingering disease, it seems to me that nothing but mawkish sentimentality would protest.
It is pointed out to us what places of cruelty and filth our slaughter-houses are; the reader may believe that I learned something about this in my preparation for the writing of « The Jungle. » But then this is not necessarily true about slaughter-houses–any more than it is necessarily true that railroads must kill and maim a couple of hundred thousand people in this country every year. In Europe they have municipal slaughter-houses which are constructed upon scientific lines, and in which no filth is permitted to accumulate; also they have devised means for the killing of animals which are painless. In the stockyards I have seen a man standing upon a gallery, leaning over and pounding at the head of a steer with a hammer, and making half a dozen blows before he succeeded in knocking down the terrified animal. In Europe, on the other hand, they fit over the head of the animal a leathern cap, which has in it a steel spike; a single tap upon the head of this spike is sufficient to drive it into the animal’s brain, causing instant insensibility.
And it must be borne in mind also that the sufferings of dumb animals are entirely different from our own. They do not suffer the pains of anticipation. A cow walks into a slaughter-house without fear, and stands still and permits a leathern cap to be fitted over its head without suspicion; and while it is placidly grazing in the field, it is untroubled by any consciousness of the fact that next week it will be hanging in a butcher’s shop as beef. (…)