With my work I aim to embody questions about the world beyond the surface appearances of everyday life, the dark side of society and in particular about cruelty towards animals.
Animal exploiting industries are probably one of the most extreme atrocities in history. Already several decades ago the renowned philosopher and ethicist Peter Singer claimed industrial farming to be responsible for more pain and misery than all the wars of history together.
How is it possible that such an extremely violent consumption system that is so precarious to the environment, to our health, to non-human habitants can continue its course and even grow without enormous public protest?
It is intriguing how people are born into a dominant meat-eating culture and trained from a very young age, even before they can speak, to inherit the paradoxical mentality of knowing that the animals they consume are, beyond reasonable doubt, sentient individuals and yet at the same time, learning to prefer not to know.
We have developed a defence mechanism, a blind spot, by rationalizing and distorting our thoughts to block our natural empathy.
Convenient ways of dealing with these behaviours are to label them as common sense, as normal, natural, as necessary, traditional, a personal preference, a religious pretext and thereby we handily allow and promote the meticulous manipulation of our minds by those who stand for profit.
I seek to contribute to the discussion of the absurdity of how our cultural attitudes towards animals are already being framed at a very young age. Children are instinctively affectionate towards animals. To further shape these natural feelings parents provide them with cute stuffed animals and animation movies with personified animals. Oddly enough, not just the standard “pet” animals but even more so the “food” animals are popular.
Why create, already at a very young age, this inconsistency between natural values and behaviour? What is the point in reprogramming and brainwashing our children to make them lose their compassion? Does society want to teach them to ignore suffering?
Are our trivial pleasures worth all the collateral damage, leading to the destruction of ourselves and our planet?
Hilde Kentane – September 2017.