I have an acquaintance who, some years ago, went vegan for professed reasons of morality. Was it vegan, or vegetarian, or vegexclusive...? Anyway, occasionally I hear how I can't really understand morality, or human rights, or antiwar-ness, or activism, or many such things, as a result of my participating in the brutality of meat-eating culture. And, although she's wrong (perceived modesty variable: replace "she's wrong" with "I disagree"), it's no more insane than any number of other viewpoints of which I partake on a daily basis. It's also consistent, in the sense that, if she really believes in some kind of combination of plant-inferiority and perceived-sentience pacifism, being vege-whatever would be part of the process by which one resisted the giant meat system without further offending autonomous meat by attacking butchery workers.
One of the no-sayums involved with her is, as tends to be the case in America (and, increasingly, Europe), pets. Said animal-product-free acquaintance owns a couple mutilated bitches, any number of mutilated female cats, a neutered (male) dog ("mildly" mutilated compared to the bitches' sterilizations), and two pet birds with clipped wings. One of the dogs got tail-docked, both got their ears cropped, and any number of her associated herbivores own pets who endure similar cosmetic procedures in order to conform to traditionalist patriarchal norms; the relevant male human child involved was, of course, circumcised, subsequent to a discussion, not initiated by me, which somehow was less emotionally triggering to the resident individualism-and-autonomy-appreciator than whether or not the next doberman would have its tail docked. To dock this tale short of many other nearly-relevant details, I occasionally wonder if some higher morality (other than the Torah's passages about marking your slaves' children) of which I am unaware makes this not hypocritical, but explains it with an elegance she can feel but not put into words. As with Islamic women in darkest Africa defending FGM, the "what will other people think of my un-cut dog" and/or "son" makes her the most vigorous defender of doberman/man traditionalism, whereas the puppy/infant/husband is less likely to understand or care, and the former two quite likely to forcibly resist and/or cry.
Animals not having rights are pivotal to modern society. Not because of eating, but because of companionship. Feeding and sheltering animals, then later killing them for food, presents a level X moral dilemma. Perhaps X equals 0, since the world is inherently about an exchange of resources related to life or death; perhaps X equals a solid 1, since plants and bacteria are morally irrelevant but animals are morally relevant. Perhaps X equals somewhere in-between. In either case, X's value seems to be insignificant next to Y, which represents the moral dilemma associated with breeding an animal in order to surgically alter it and employ it for one's cosmetic and/or domestic comforts. The end result is the same as every other trip here--death--but the quandaries inherent in the trip are more profound, namely a nigh-constant loss of autonomy, subjection to an animal-control police state with isolation and torture and execution as the backdrop to disobedience, alteration of reproductive and pleasure functions, surrender of independent socialization, et cetera. Whether or not X is a moral dilemma of substance, Y is always more significant. Ergo less-insane people who employ animals as valued partners in survival, such as a farmer raising cows whose job is to eat or a hunter employing dogs whose job is to assist in acquiring food and then eating, commit merely Z, a less-profane, less-hypocritical moral act, even if ultimately wrong, than the mere X or the comparatively colossally horrible Y.
The firm maintenance and guiltless perpetuation of Y is of fundamental concern to us. Not only because of the massive, supra-SSRI quantities of emotional stability that mutilated domestic comfort slaves, in a Dickish way, offer to the sickened masses, who might otherwise revolt and/or stop buying things (sic), but the practical derivations of this need. Were humans to lose the right to perform unnecessary cosmetic or lifestyle surgeries on animals, the breeding and behavior of the world's billions of domestic comfort slaves would overwhelm them. The dogs and cats, and rabbits and gerbils etc., would fill the streets. The realities of their presence would force an end to the policy of permitting society to be filled with domestic comfort slaves. People would have to train and supervise their animals, enclose them at night, kill unwanted offspring, and take other actions to prevent thousands of randy young dogs from jamming up the 405 every minute of every day of every year. The surgical convenience is necessary to maintain the insanity. And what an invitation to a beheading it is, to see these maddened brahmins cultivating their living accessories with the obsessive evil that they hope to one day exercise over children--for example, being too inquisitive significantly hampers life outcomes, therefore let's have the design consultant adjust the pairings in column 1,320.
Is our true fetish control? It is certainly not the prevention of suffering, nor of loss of autonomy. We've seen that in innumerable ways since the beginning, and even in only the past ten years. And we're not very good at having control; most of us--in the true "most of us" sense of ~99% of us--are like tyrannous junior-managers in life's retail outlet, hassling the temps over break-minutes and bathroom visits since we can't control our own lives, and never orchestrating the more beauteous sorts of controls that are imperceptible to our subjects. When we do order the extraction and adjustment of that entity's unwanted character, though, we feel a surge of excitement; a glimpse of the thing we always wanted, that we can only experience through slowly de-winging the fly who dared land in our cell (for its own good). Perhaps our mutilated future will provide happiness through more visceral self-customization, where lip-plates and mushroom-expanders and earhole-stretchers prove more sustainable than digital network buttressing, and the blessings which we liberally bestow upon ourselves render us proud enough to stop sharing our gifts with unwilling others.