The first of the four stages of Cruelty as depicted in 1751 by William Hogarth

The Four Stages of Cruelty

The Four Stages of Cruelty as depicted in 1751 by William Hogarth begins with the torture of a dog as a child. Then the series progresses to beating a horse, to robbery, seduction, and murder in the final Cruelty to Perfection.

Yes, early animal abuse too often leads to murder or some other serious criminality in adulthood. It is both well documented and proven. Research it, by all means.

But what about the abuse of chickens, cows, pigs, sheep, and other animals raised explicitly for food?

Many of those who work the kill line in the slaughterhouses, and I suspect others in support of the business, go home to abuse their spouses and children, some go further, on to murder. [1]

A mentally healthy person recognizes the ugly doings of animal slaughter and can appreciate the psychological effects such may have on the committing individual. This psychologically sound person might even consider themselves cruelty-free. I understand this in the context of technicality and legality; they are certainly innocent of any unpleasantness or wrongdoing in that regard.

Now, I assume most readers see animals as sentients who understand pain, suffering, and fear death by brutality. If this isn’t you, goodbye.

To the others I ask, can proxy association to animal slaughter have adverse effect on the individual, on society?

Are there subliminal consequences suffered by granting passive authority to the animal holocaust?

Spiritual ramifications, to the so inclined?

If not, we may, in good conscience, pursue our struggles for equality while we passively encourage the inequality of our fellow earthlings.



  1. As McWilliams notes “There are over 120 specific job functions in an industrial slaughterhouse, but only about 2 or 3 of them allow workers to see the animals at the moment of death.” Eye contact brings you retina-to-retina with the sentient being you are about to dispatch. How many kills per second before you become inured of the thousands that yield a tiny paycheck?
    How many times have the “spiritually enlightened” joined in fellowship over a perfect cut of flesh at a shared table? I call it nihilism. Veganism is my entire spiritual guidance system: one eye contact at a time. It’s more than enough for me.
    Thank you for everything you write, Peter. It’s important stuff. I read and ponder every word.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shocking. I inherently know this, even if I didn’t KNOW it. To dehumanize another (human) individual is necessary for torture, enslavement, murder. It’s easy to do this with those who aren’t even human — beneath us. But the damage to psyche is the same, it appears.

    That is why it is so important that those with their compassion for non-human others in check must be kept in the dark to the atrocities of bringing sentient, domestic beings to the table. The industry lobbies hard to keep us in the dark, especially in the brightly lit meat aisles of a grocer near you.

    I leave it to Bill again to bring me to your post. Between you two, I gather my own thoughts for future posts (thanks for the inspiration). How did I miss it? Not sure, but I’m thankful to have been brought here. Hope you’re well Peter, and keep up the excellent writing.

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      1. I only wish the virtual vegan fence was a walk away. It’s awfully lonely in Meat Country, USA, which I’m pretty sure is well south of the river on which Bill speaks. I could sure use a face-to-face visit from someone who is already enlightened. Cheers, Peter. (That goes for you too, Bill, in case you’re reading.)

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Shannon! To quote me in this very thread:
    “Thank you for everything you write, Peter. It’s important stuff. I read and ponder every word.”
    Well, Lisa and I visited the very font of Crows Head Soup at the Shreiner home last November, the actual geography in fact. By fortune, we are not very far away from each other on the same side of the same river 🙂
    As you know by reading, Peter is the more direct and decisive, while I while about words and wax pedantic at every possible moment. Speaking of “keep up the excellent writing,” please know that Peter’s unpublished stuff is every bit as great and worthy!
    Very fine to encounter you at the virtual vegan fence (the kind that makes good neighbors) 🙂

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    1. Thank you for the beautiful compliment, Bill. It is an inspiration. Know too that, as the sun slowly burns itself into oblivion, and the universe continues its ever slow expansion, the tale also is coming along. Albeit, the pace equal to the aforementioned. But really, I should be completing what I call part one. Same as before with a minor twist and dressed up quite nicely, I think. And because I think that, I think it must be terribly tedious.
      Cheers, from the north side of the river. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. More than welcome you are, Peter. Glad to hear that the story moves apace, it fits right in there with time and space. With a minor Möbius twist taking place? There are enough plot lines — and the characters who plot them — to populate part two. Nothing tedious about the theme, the characters or the setting, IMO 🙂
        Looking much forward to re-encountering the realms you create and develop: as the orbs turn and the cosmos expands.
        I am placing an apocryphal note in a corked bottle and tossing it into the river, with just enough of a twist to propel the metaphor to the north side of the river. Did you know that “metaphor” translates as “transfer”, “carry across” in both Classical and Modern Greek? Apparently, it appears on modern-day trucks in Athens 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    2. We are all finding our ‘fit’ in this realm, how and when to put the words together. I laud you for your style — and Peter, his — as I struggle to find my footing in this compassionate digital world that lies somewhere between Dirt and Kids. I hope to get there sooner rather than later .. it’s where my heart truly lies.

      Thank you both for what you do and for who you are. Love from here ~ Shannon

      Liked by 2 people

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