The myth of happy meat
“I make sure my eggs are organic and free-range.” “I only buy organic dairy.” “Yeah, I still eat meat, but I only eat happy meat.” Sound like you? I used to sound like that, too. There’s a lot behind statements like these, not least of which is concern for the animals involved. Generally speaking, the people who say things like this are aware of factory farming and have some idea of what goes on. They might be fuzzy on the details, especially the more horrific ones, but they know about the intensive confinement practices, the hormones and drugs in the animals’ feed, and they’re not comfortable with it. They want to know that the eggs they’re eating come from a chicken who’s allowed to run around and be a regular chicken, and that whatever meat they’re eating had a nice life while it was here.
I have a friend whose sister has a small herd of cows she raises for beef. She loves her cows. They have names. They graze in the pasture, they have nice stalls in a heated barn. Their stalls are mucked out every day, soiled straw replaced with fresh, and the cows are petted and talked to and treated with love and kindness. She even plays music in the barn and decorates the cows’ stalls at Christmas. And then one day she walks them onto a transport truck and says goodbye. I said to my friend “How can she do that??” He sort of chuckled and said “I don’t think she really thinks too much about where they’re going once they leave the farm.” Evidently not.
Here’s the thing: they’re going to the same slaughterhouse the other cows (and pigs and sheep and goats) go to. The same slaughterhouse where the workers have lost their sense of humanity and decency, or are so intimidated by the managers that they’ll do whatever they have to do to keep their jobs. That often means doing things that would give any normal person nightmares (and indeed, many slaughterhouse workers suffer from PTSD, alcoholism, and drug abuse, along with having the highest rates of workplace injury in the country).
So here’s what happens to the cows who had a nice life. They are tortured to death. No exaggeration. They are not killed “humanely.” Industrial slaughter is a disassembly line where time is money. The line moves from worker to worker so fast that anything remotely resembling a humane death is an impossibility. You probably know that animals are supposed to be stunned, rendered unconscious, before they are killed. But because of the speed at which animals are moving through a slaughterhouse, that doesn’t necessarily happen, or when it does they are insufficiently stunned and come to somewhere along the production line. All too often, they are fully conscious while they are shackled and hanging upside down by one leg…fully conscious while their throats are slit…and fully conscious when their legs are cut off and still conscious when they’re skinned. Before any of this happens, they may be treated with incredible and callous cruelty by workers who have become completely desensitized to the suffering and pain of other beings. And they are subjected to this because people like meat. Think about that, please. Think about that the next time you feel like having a steak, or a pork chop, or lamb souvlaki.
This is why I became a vegetarian, and ultimately vegan. I couldn’t justify any animal suffering because I felt like indulging a particular taste. I used to be really careful about where my meat and dairy came from. Until I figured out that ultimately, it all comes from the same place.
When I see photos on Facebook of beat-up kids, or abused pets with the tagline, “Like if you’re against this,” I get Chris Rock’s voice in my head yelling, “You’re SUPPOSED to be against it!!!”
How on earth is liking an image making a difference?! Obviously the people who are behind this abuse don’t care or they wouldn’t do it. No one’s out there, about to set fire to a cat, then sees a photo of a burnt puppy with 40,000 likes “against” it and goes, “Oh s**t, I thought this was a totally reasonable thing to do, but you can’t argue against 40,000 “likes”. I better stop being such a psychopath. Thanks internet!”
If anything, by sharing these photos, you’re glorifying the outcome as well as making sick abusers see they’re not alone in wanting to cause pain and destruction. But hey, well done on letting us all know that you have the minimal amount of morality required to be an actual human being by clicking a small thumb icon.
For anybody still confused about the purpose of "Occupy Wall Street"...
People are standing up against “the 1%” (“they”) who control the world markets and tend to meddle in otherwise democratic relationships between a state and its citizens. And, while it seems obvious to me, many journalists have been confused by the purpose and “demands” of the protesters on Wall Street. But a declaration has now been released and is the first official “word” of the people. The entire declaration is here…it’s short and sweet and easy to understand.
Specifically, “the people” are calling an end to the status quo because “they”…
- …have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.
- …have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.
- …have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.
- …have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.
- …have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.
- …have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.
- …have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.
- …have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.
- …have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.
- …have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.
- …have sold our privacy as a commodity.
- …have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.
- …have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.
- …determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.
- …have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.
- …continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.
- …continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.
- …have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.
- …purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.
- …have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.
- …have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.
- …have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.
- …continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.
Cruelty To AnimalsFrenzal Rhomb
Frenzal Rhomb - Cruelty to Animals
from the album Forever Malcolm Young