In the May issue of Harper’s magazine, Ted Conover, a longtime undercover and participatory journalist, details his job as an undercover federal meat inspector at an industrial slaughterhouse. Conover talks to Brooke about meat safety, going undercover and why it's necessary to bring a hidden world to life.
Meat eating atheists won't read this. They won't watch the video. Then, they will vomit out that phrase, "As long as IT'S treated HUMANELY it's fine to eat meat." When we say , "But, you know that the animals you eat are NOT ever treated humanely!" , they will irately tell us that they don't know any such thing. There are animal protection laws! Right?
Cognitive dissonance is not just for the religious. Most of us who reject gods, still hold to the fallacy that humans are not just animals. They keep the false idea of a natural, moral superiority of humans, and their god given right to dominion over all other beings on earth. Doing otherwise might involve some self control, empathy, or compassion.
Industrial slaughter houses are part of the wider picture of factory farming. The reason we do this is demand. The demand exists because there are seven billion people on the planet and we continue to overpopulate. To eliminate factory farming we could round up, sterilize and exterminate a significant portion of the human population but it must be done humanely. We don't want to prick the ears of lawyers and be accused of being nazis and discriminatory towards ethnic and social minorities.
Today is Adolf Hitlers birthday 20 April 2013
Is there an alternative answer ?
Well, for starters we could innovate and find ways to train employees better, have better oversight, and establish best practices. We could also demand that food animals receive veterinary care so that cows with broken legs do not have to walk on them.
We did not get rid of slavery by regulating the weight of the slaves' chains, or the number of lashes they could be given. We can promote veganism, continue supporting those who are brave enough to go undercover, speak without embarrassment about justice and compassion for the other animals, and show by how we act that it's not so hard to just be fair.
Well, I got news for you, slavery is still alive and well in many parts of the world in the form of forced labor, child labor, no-rights labor, sweatshops, etc.
All the vegetarians/vegans in the world, all the books, all the websites, etc., have yet to eliminate animal cruelty or turn the majority of the world vegetarian. Just as all the social admonitions or laws or prohibitions against rape and murder of humans has done nothing to stem the flow of either rape or murder worldwide.
Nothing at all wrong with promoting veganism, animal rights, etc., but realistically everyone must accept that universal conformity to those values is never going to take place. People are going to hunt, kill, farm, or eat animals and that is all there is to it, like it or not.
So in the face of that, what can anyone do?
Well, ultimately all anyone can do is control their own actions. You chose not to contribute to those problems, which is commendable, but that's the only aspect of this you can ultimately control.
Outside of that, trying to create humane farming practices is a worthwhile endeavor.
And I disagree that calling them "food animals" is a euphemism or implies anything about god or fate. It is a perfectly accurate description. The word "food" describes accurately the use we put them to and their ultimate fate, and distinguishes them clearly from companion animals, or circus animals, or service animals, etc.
Yes, human slavery is alive and well. There are far more slaves now, than at the height of the American slave trade. As you say, it goes by many names, child labor, sex slavery, farm worker enslavement, and others. Yes, Dallas, we are pretty vile. Still, what each one of us does, does matter. And so do the words we use matter. Some may use a cow as if she were food, but she is still someone, not something. Terms like 'veal calf', or 'fur' seal trivialize and depersonalize. Remember, some people were once depersonalized by being called by their function: field n....s, and house n....s . We are all so ashamed that I can't type all the letters of the word . Do you still say words don't matter?
Oh, and we can call a spade, a spade. Don't use the industry's euphemisms. They use mild, vague words to obfuscate the issues. "Food animals" suggests that God, or fate has designated these particular persons to be - things. That goes for the terms: lab animals, circus animals, game, etc.
Demanding better treatment of our slaves will never make much difference. Abolition is the goal. I guess I should have said, "Abolition is my goal."
That was horrible.
Earthlings is a powerful movie about animal suffering.
I screamed watching it at one point, if you watch it maybe you'll guess where.
To clarify, I hope for a steady, gradual change in the general opinion. I think that most of us will come to agree with Laura's horror at what we do to other animals. More and more people will not buy products made from other animals. The law of supply and demand is the only one I am promoting here. It would never happen by government decree. I am not recommending that. It's not really about what 'they' do, whether 'they' is government or industry. What we individually decide to do matters. I'm hoping for another refinement in our sense of justice. A lessening of tribalism. I may well be a fool, but really, I'm not a fascist.
If you want to promote veganism, it is crucial to learn how to be vegan in a healthy way.
The site veganhealth.org gives science-based guidance for a healthy vegan diet, from the vegan dietician Jack Norris.
There's a stereotype of the sickly vegan, and that has truth to it. A lot of vegans ignore important nutrients. I was shocked when I found that a lot of vegans have B12 deficiency symptoms! I thought that was obvious - if you're vegan, take B12. Jack Norris mentions other less obvious nutrients, for example vegan diets often have a high omega-6 to omega-3 ratio.