Slaveholders, when pushed into a moral corner by abolitionists, create whatever arguments it takes to make consumers feel okay about purchasing the products of slaves. Back in the 1830s when American Abolitionists were hard at work educating the public about the evils of slavery and how slavery needed to be immediately abolished, slaveholders were also hard at work trying to prove the abolitionists wrong.
One proslavery argument used in the 1830s was that owners were like benevolent parents to their slaves. This was the “Happy Slave” argument and it was used to convince the public that Southern slaves were much better off then their Northern (non-slave) factory worker counterparts.
Another proslavery argument spoke to the supposed supremacy of the white race which suggested that the “intellectual capacity of Africans was abysmal“. This, of course, was racism and it too was used to keep the public’s growing concerns at bay.
Finally, even though the majority of abolitionists used biblical references to shine a bright light on the wrongfulness of slavery, slaveholders also used biblical references to suggest that the Christian “God recognized slavery under the law, and that slavery was full of mercy“.
Nowadays slaveholders are doing the very same thing—trying to prove the abolitionists wrong so they can keep their industry alive. “Happy Slave” arguments such as “free-range”, “pasture-raised”, “grass-fed”, “old-fashioned”, “humanely raised”, etcetera abound. Some slaveholders have even gone as far as to call their slaves “Happy Cows“. Speciesism, like racism, is used by slaveholders to keep the public’s growing concerns at bay. And, of course, biblical references are used by those who seek an end to the use of other animals as well as to keep the slaveholder’s businesses thriving literally off the backs of their slaves.
Think, then Go Vegan!