Hi! I'm quite new in here. Nice to meet you all!

I visited a Facebook page on which people talked about the cruelty of the shark fin industry, and condemned those committing such atrocities.

Getting angry and shocked over the shark fin industry is completely justified. And so is getting angry over the dog meat trade, puppy mills and dogfights. I, then, made a comment about how, in order to stop the torturing of sharks, we should all look into the mirror and realize that cows, pigs, etc. aren't different at all, yet we are brutally torturing and killing them in slaughterhouses every day. And suddenly people got really angry with me. They were telling me to stop insulting others on the thread, and were in general very defensive, even though I had not made any personal attacks against anyone. Suddenly I had two guys debating against me about how we are supposed to eat meat, and how cows are like, totally different from sharks, because they're domesticated and living in a safe environment, unlike sharks. And other wild animals, such as tigers and rhinos, that we should protect.

Now, my whole point was that we shouldn't judge the Chinese for abusing and killing sharks before at least looking into the mirror and seeing that we are doing exactly the same to the animals here. The shark fin case is not an isolated one: its part of a bigger picture, in which we think we are the kings and queens of everything. And to be honest, we suck at ruling.

This wasn't even the first time I experienced something like this. For so many times, I've heard people saying how they love animals; puppies, bunny rabbits and such, and tell me lambs are cute while eating them. They get angry over animal abuse cases and they love their pet rats. Yet they don't give a rat's bottom about pigs or cows, or they get angry when these "others" are mentioned. I mean, I can also be selective sometimes, and I'm sure no one is perfect. But at least I admit it, and try to fix it.

Has everyone here experienced something like this? And does it make you frustrated? Why do you think people are so selective, and why do you think they get so personally insulted when they are reminded of the fact that they are contributing to the slaughter of sentient beings that are no less important than puppies, sharks and pandas? And how should I deal with people like this?

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[@ lauren] I don't think it's fair to say selective compassion or incomplete compassion is not compassion at all. Human beings are capable of being extremely compassionate, unfortunately we're also very capable of seeing what we want to see to justify our actions or help us accept situations we feel powerless about.

[@ natasha] That said, i don't believe people automatically get defensive on facebook sites for example, when you raise issues such as cattle production and slaughter because they 'know they are wrong' or because of their 'stupid reasoning.' The reason a lot of people get frustrated is because it's annoying.

There are so many problems with the world, often people feel powerless. It's impossible to try and fix every problem, so people will try to do what they can where they can. I am not a member of that facebook page, but can say it has most likely been created to raise awareness and try and make a difference. Attacking one problem rather than trying to fix everything seems more achievable. By having someone visit the site raising different issues unrelated, it comes across as someone pushing their beliefs as more important. I'm guessing that wasn't your intention at all but it's how it comes across.

Selective compassion does occur. Like you said a lot of it is to do with how we're raised and what society tells us. I think though, that one of the biggest problems with this, is a disconnect between how the meat people consume is slaughtered and how it ends up on the kitchen table. Most people would struggle to kill an animal themselves for consumption. When it's provided in a piece of plastic in a supermarket, it's a different story. It becomes easier not to see it as it once was. There's also the lack of education about what really happens.

I think another point regarding selective compassion is that not everyone is ready to make the change. Becoming vegan, vegetarian, pescatarian etc is a life change. If people do it before they're ready they're likely to fall back to their old habits. Being at different stages (eg semi-vegetarian, pescatarian etc) doesn't mean they lack compassion.

I completely agree with your your analysis of the people on the page, I think you made some very valid points!

My initial comment was that sharks are no different from other animals. There was nothing wrong with me saying that, and I didn't think it was unrelated at all, because the cruelty of the shark fin industry correlates with the cruelty of the meat/dairy industry, and I got annoyed because people were saying stupid things about the Chinese, and pointing fingers at other people but themselves.

I absolutely have the right to voice my opinion about animal cruelty, and if they find it annoying, then they, not I, should probably look into the mirror and ask themselves why. I think the reason for this lies in what you said: people hate it when someone comes up with something they've never really thought of. It's like a mother telling a teenager to clean the room and the teenager getting mad, even though she has forgotten about the whole thing.

And the Facebook page has to do with animal rights: the rights of dolphins and sharks. I'm not going to shut my mouth just because someone might get "annoyed". Animals don't have a voice. And we shouldn't be afraid to speak out (though of course we should use common sense and not speak out everywhere). My opinions are considered "annoying" by a lot of people; that's because I demand change. And people don't want to change. they want to be safe (this, I think was what you also mentioned). Also people hate others telling them what to do, unless the others are their bosses, politicians or other people with more power than they themselves possess.

You were right about saying that many people feel powerless. I often feel powerless too. But even though it makes me angry to hear people speaking out about the world's problems, I don't get angry or defensive at them. Because I don't take it personally. And because they're often right, and I acknowledge that. And I acknowledge the fact that I can be wrong sometimes, or selective in my compassion.

I don't think people lack compassion. I just think they're being all weird about it. That's all.

This is where we must begin through the dismantling of selective compassion.Basically, selective compassion can be exemplified by stating that a dog is not meant for food purposes, however, a pig is. Selective compassion can also be explained through any form of negative 'ism'. For example, racism, sexism, and bigotry are all major symptoms of selective compassion. Some may care for one being or group, yet not another, that also is selective compassion.

The average human being comes to a place of selective compassion because?It is a learned ingrained behavioral pattern.It is programming that is handed down, usually from family members, schools/society/state, a temple/church, ect...

O here lies the dilemma. How do we throw the proverbial “monkey-wrench” into the gears and cure humanity’s selective compassion? Obviously, both a pig and a dog can feel pain, as well as register emotions.We educate,we inform.By this ,I don't mean be cruel,use hateful tactics and just treat others like their stupid.That makes us just as being selective in compassion as the programmed people.

Selective compassion to me is one of the most dangerous things, I think that is installed and programmed into humanity.Most of it's a selective refusal to imagine the vulnerability of things.In the end it's all about freedom. If a person or a thing,or animal does not impinge on your freedom, we welcome them into our circle of compassion

We could heal humanity, if we gave everything and everybody equal compassion and understanding.What a world it could be...still hope for humanity yet.

Thanks! The question is: how to get the message through to people who don't want to listen, or who select what they want to listen? I myself would feel far less powerless if there were more people on my side, that's for sure.

You cant force anyone to listen they've got to want too.Sure, we'll fine them few that are open to our opinions and listen.Maybe,even change them.But, we cant force anyone to reasoning.

Like religion.When I see someone forcing and damming people. I think of a" old holier than thou southern preacher",preaching hail fire and brimstone(we have a lot of them here you know ;) ).Believe what I do or you'll be dammed.Almost like." eat what I do or you'll be dammed".Any difference?It's why so many have turned from the idea.Use these tactics, the cause suffers more then people realize.

Take a loving approach in it and you'll gain more weight in the cause.Dam people they'll turn from you in a wink of an eye.I agree.I also sometimes feel powerless, but I always take a loving approach in it.And hope for the best that i make a positive impact.I will not low myself into being selective in compassion..;)

Same here, I try to go all Gandhi on people, and I have noticed that I've made much more of a difference that way. People actually want to listen. And I try to be encouraging if someone even suggests that they could go from full-blown meat eaters into eating veggie food twice a week. Because that's a change already, and it should be encouraged!

But sometimes my Gandhi mask comes off. Usually it means I've been seriously provoked. This time I was provoked by the posts made by people who blamed the Chinese for being cruel to sharks without any self-reflection whatsoever. I just got pissed off :( Usually I'm not like that at all, and I try to be very discreet and understanding.

But I completely agree with you. Even though I understand why people get angry, it still makes less of a change than love. However, I wouldn't really compare religion with veganism/vegetarianism, because at least my dietary choices depend very much on scientific facts, whereas religion truly is everyone's personal issue.

I agree.But,I also think a diet is each person's personal choice.And, each have their reasons for making that choice.Not all do it for health reasons or scientific fact.But,the best part is that they made that choice, to do their part, in ending suffering of animals. :)

Yes, I agree with you. I believe in choice. On the other hand, I get really frustrated, because they choose to harm defenseless animals. I wish more people would make the choice not to.

I think any change is good, and that's why I always try to be positive. You know, what I like about this page is that no one is trolling here, and that everyone has gone through the same thought process that I have! It's great to meet people who have similar views, and who actually have reasons for their actions :)

I am out of work. When I was working however, I was ttaunted and harassed daily because I don't eat meat. I didn't pick or poke fun at the carnivores. But they found it necessary to annoy me daily. I don't get it. Live and let live. I cherish every animal that is saved from suffering because I choose to obstain from meat.

Yes I also share exactly same feeling as you. One can't be selective about being compassionate. Its just hypocrisy. I wouldnt believe a single word of compassion from a non vegetarian! 

Perhaps you could invite them to watch The Earthlings.  A picture is worth a thousand words!

I think it is because nowadays the idea of meat and killing were separated. All killing job are done in slaughterhouse, and you just see meat in supermarket, so meat is food, not life.

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