Indifference is the other side of the coin engraved tolerance.
Tolerance in its turn is the little sister of freedom.
When indifference is combined with avarice, it can have unpleasant consequences such as factory farming.
Fortunately, this greed for money can be restrained by making the unwanted behavior (read management) financially unattractive.
This can be done by withdrawing subsidies (both national and European) and by starting to operate entirely according to the principle of "the polluter pays". What will (not) make people change their behavior? Thinking about changing ones behavior starts with becoming aware of the fact that there is something wrong with ones present behavior In the case of animals, this has to do with knowing about and understanding the abuses, as well as with a notion of ethics.
When ethics are not rooted in compassion, just action will come to nothing.
How can it be that 76% of people is against laying batteries and yet so few of them buy eco-eggs?
In scientific terms: where does this discrepancy between attitude and behavior come from?
Fishbein and Ajzen are two psychologists who consider
to be the strongest motive for human consumer behavior:
a rational weighing up of pros and cons. They acknowledge
that there are more factors at play, but they consider
this rational choice to be central. What does hold, however,
is that what is rational for one person may be irrational
for someone else. The most important rational considerations
are: price, availability of alternatives, estimated effects
on health, taste, and the knowledge required for preparing
alternatives.Another influencing factor
- according to Fishbein and Ajzen - is social pressure from important others. In the case of factory farming,
these can be the government, pressure groups, fellow consumers,
and family members. The more value one attaches to their
opinion, the greater is their influence. Social pressure
also comes from education, the media, commercials, and
childhood memories of playing at the farm can play
a role, or the social status of activists: open sandals
and woolly socks or an appealing alternative lifestyle.
A lifestyle in which you show consideration for factory
farm animals is difficult to show off with; it is hardly
visible. It does help a little if you are able to prepare
nice meals without meat. Being implicitly critical of
other people's lifestyles will not make you very popular.
When one really wants to
change the outcome of the weighing of a illogical, but
habitual behavior other factors such as responsibility will also start to count, especially when a number of negative consequences
of the present behavior are indirect. One may think
here of the consumer asking him- or herself whether
it is not actually the producer or the government, instead
of the consumer, that is responsible for the well-being
of or chickens.
Another factor is the estimated
effectiveness of the alternative behavior on reducing
the problem: "Is my drop a drop in the ocean?"
An example of this is for instance the question sometimes
asked by people who buy free-range eggs: is a chicken
in the free range industry really that much better off
than one in a laying battery?
One should also have the possibility to choose alternatives.
In the absence of easily attainable alternatives there
will be no change in behavior "Erst das Fressen und
dann die Moral".
Today's hectic life is not conducive to a reconsideration of the pros and
cons of eating patterns; people just do not take the time
to do so. People do recognize the disadvantages, but do
not do anything with that knowledge. Originally neutral
values and standards change into their opposites or shoot
through. Competition is considered a virtue; moderation
is seen as deprivation. If you do not push yourself, and
others, to the limit, you are an underachiever. Altruistic
behavior is suspicious and despicable. There is a growing
pressure from society to succeed.
The indifference of the consumer of products from factory
farming resembles the indifference of the drug-addict
towards the feelings of his victims. Addiction is a kind
of lack of freedom that can threaten the freedom of others.Modern man, unaware of his
or her own lack of freedom or that of animals, is addicted
to meat as a luxury product, works hard, has no time
for alternatives, wants to eat fast and cheap and risks
his or her health.
Factory farming is granted too much latitude (freedom)
in such a society, because the consumer fails to test
the integrity of products and to draw a line somewhere.
Factory farming is a cheap and 'fast' way of working,
both financially and morally. So much for the individual
There are also factors
at macro level that slow down or keep off improvements
in animal welfare.