As in America’s Antebellum era, and other eras of various other regions, a child was born a slave because its mother was a slave; ownership of the parent meant ownership of the child, as property begat property, so it is the same with those fellow creatures considered livestock or poultry – and, with less intensity but living under the same umbrella, animals considered game who are supposedly living wild yet in grounds ‘owned’ by deed-holders; effectively, they are unwillingly and unwittingly trespassers in their own dominion.
Slavery for any creature means a life of servitude, and a life whose worth is measured in usefulness; even the dairy cow inevitably joins the meat herd. The calf has no respect given even to its age, except for the tenderness of its meat; as the child molester sees not a child, just a body that is not an adult, so too is the calf seen in similar respects; not as a young life, but as a life that is not old yet its body serves the same purpose.
Yet no one will say, meat-eater or not, that slavery is a right or a privilege. It is not even a liberty for others to be the equivalent of overseers and masters, as a liberty cannot be given to one group that bestows the right to take from another – that is a transgression and a trespass on all rights. It is tyranny. As a mother does not own her child, yet she is responsible for it, so is meant to be the same for all beings – human or non- – that we care for; we become responsible for life, but responsibility does not suggest ownership. Nothing can turn a fellow creature into property except to deny all life; for someone to become something it begins with denying freedom and then denying life. No one would rightfully say they want to be responsible for this, and yet we live in an era that allows daily this tyranny, in ways that allow the transgressors to go unpunished; indeed, even paid. As the sex trafficking industry exists and so its top earners (the pimps and traffickers themselves) contribute to our economy, so do murderers and torturers hold up our country in vastly profitable slaughter-houses and farms. As the North could argue against slavery in the South because its economy was already advancing past the need for human-intense labour, so we must strive not only for freedom, but for a new way of life altogether; there is no long-term aid in moving people forward if we have been climbing a ladder which reaches no platform.
Slavery in the respect I have described above, means only that we make ourselves responsible for suffering, even when we ourselves do not own that suffering. We cannot own a creature that did not consent – and a creature that cannot consent must always be seen as refusing; so our meat industry is built first on transgressing all liberty, then theft, following to torture and mutilation, to artificial insemination through rape, to stealing the equivalent of children from their parents, right through to the slaughter of child and parent alike.
So also to slavery as with pets: we become responsible for them, and ownership can be implied so much as it means they cannot be taken from us by any other person who would have malicious interests, but nothing more.
Slavery is all the right of possession with none of the responsibility of seeing life.
To sum up in all bluntness: factory-farming, small farm-holdings that culminate (inevitably and always) in slaughter, any process which would see a creature’s life as having worth only by that it dies, is an economical infrastructure and existence based on the subjugation-by-force of entire species. Even the free-range and organic existence, in all its flaws, does not alleviate the suffering of animals already caged, mutilated, rotting even while they live from pus- and flesh-wounds. Reject all what starts with theft and ends with murder.