Number of animals killed in the world by the meat, dairy and egg industries, since you opened this webpage. This does not include the billions of fish and other aquatic animals killed annually.

Based on 2007 statistics from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations' Global Livestock Production and Health Atlas.

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Posts Tagged ‘media’

Of Course Pit Bulls Mourn Their Dead

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

In an MSN article today – a headline article – a Pit Bull mourned his friend for fourteen hours after she was killed by a car.  Here’s the link, if you want to depress yourself for a while.  This is front-page news because people still want to believe that only humans have “higher” emotions such as grief and love, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

When people write, discuss and link articles like this, it is usually because they are saying, “Well of course the dog feels that way,” and “How sad!”  It is not until they think about what they eat that people will cite some outlandish fallacy to describe why this dog is different, and eating a pig or drinking cow milk is perfectly fine.

I disagree strongly with the idea that dogs mourn while chickens do not, and science backs up my belief.

When news articles and discussions like this come up, it’s a good time to interject some observations.  Before people get to the point of citing inherited cultural stupidity as if it were their own (“Jesus ate fish 2,000 years ago therefore yay bacon and foie gras“), this is an excellent time to bring up a few discussion points:

  • All animals mourn the losses of their loved ones.  (See also: my “bear machines” article).  These dogs are no different than pigs.  What makes us so certain that we can inflict this kind of mourning on innocent animals?
  • Killing the dog painlessly still inflicts a harm upon her friend, the survivor, even if you do not accept that removing all future experiences from killed animal is a harm.  (Try telling a grieving family member that their grief is not suffering).
  • Pigs are allegedly smarter than dogs.  (Not that it matters).  When we eat pork chops, bacon, pig lard, we create scenes like this for them.
  • The location could change but the grief would be the same.  Standing in line waiting to be slaughtered does not magically render the animals happy to smell blood and hear the screams of their friends and loved ones ahead of them in line.
  • Going vegan= eliminates, among other things, the mourning a mother cow does when her child is ripped away so humans can steal her milk.

Many of us accept that animals love, play, fear and fight.  We need not eat them to survive, therefore we cannot justify eating them for pleasure.

Open Letter to Ariel Kaminer and the New York Times

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

Dear Ariel Kaminer,

I am writing in response to your contest, “Calling All Carnivores.”

Why must the NY Times encourage readers to eat meat?  Why was the contest not called, “Ethical Reasons to Stop Eating Meat?”

Those two are rhetorical questions.  The answers are because the NY Times does not want to award people for insisting eating meat is unethical.  On the contrary, this contest is strong evidence the NY Times wants to reward people for insisting eating meat is ethical.

In your article, you assert that “those who love meat have had surprisingly little to say.” How can you make this assertion and live in the United States, where every meal is pig, chicken, fish or cow, and where bookshelves are crammed with titles encouraging popular but illogical “compassionate carnivorism?”

My complaint is not that you believe meat fans are silent, or under-represented. As a meat eater, you are likely as unshaken by Turduckens and bacon as the rest of America, so your belief that meat-eaters have “had surprisingly little to say” is understandable.

My complaint is about the end goal. The result of this contest, intentional or not, is an article which causes readers to think, “Ah-hah. So that why eating meat is ethical. I knew I was right for doing it.”

The world does not need more reasons to eat meat, much less a contest recruiting the most convincing and popular logical fallacy.  The world is not better for increased demand of dead or dying animals.

The world needs people who, as you said in another article, feel crummy when unnecessarily ending the life of another, and it needs articles from those people saying why they refuse to repeat the act.

Related reading:

Battlestar Galactica S2:E5, “The Farm”

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Spoiler alert.

Season 2, Episode 5 of Battlestar Galactica is called, “The Farm.” Kara Thrace wakes up in a ‘hospital’ which turns out to be a breeding ground run by Cylons.

She is asked by a woman prisoner to cut the power and kill her, because she “can’t live like these. We’re baby machines.”

Kara and, hopefully, the viewers are sickened and probably enraged at this disgusting mistreatment of human beings. They should be.

The same goes for our treatment of animals. The same garbage discrimination is used by humans to enslave animals in real life as was used by Cylons to enslave and breed humans in Battlestar.

Hulu offers the show if you’re willing to watch 90 minutes of commercials first. Here, I’ve embedded the scene for your viewing pleasure:

Avatar

Monday, December 21st, 2009

A friend of mine recently shook his fist at the big, mean humans in Avatar.  In case you haven’t seen it, Avatar is a hot, lush cinematic playground of blue-purple hippies versus a fiery, heartless, mechanized USDA Grade A war machine.  It is directed by James Cameron.

Avatar

Maybe in the future, my friend can transfer his feelings to the treatment of real creatures, as well.

The plot: evil human beings plunder resources from happy, peaceful natives, the Na’vi.  You can imagine plenty of innocent blue-skins are killed in the process.

He was visibly upset over his fellow man’s treatment of the wild, care-free denizens of Pandora.  He believes it is wrong of the humans to steal rare ore and murder innocent beings (especially the ones with sex appeal, I imagine).  He cried out when the precious tree of the Na’vi was attacked.

The caustic, selfish, remorseless invaders disgusted him.  “There’s no reason, certainly no need, to attack the Na’vi,” he told me.  “We could find other ores.  We did just fine without the ore.  It’s not necessary.”

The imaginary Na’vi are granted his empathy and compassion.  However, these feelings cower, disappear and shit themselves faster than rabbits in an earthquake when he is asked to speak on behalf of his fellow earthlings; outside of the film, he has no trouble drinking milk, a liquid resource you already know is stolen by force from helpless, captive, four-legged natives of this planet.

If only he had the courage to open his eyes to the exploitation and murder boiling around him in real life.  He willingly participates in ruthless systems of rape and torture for his own convenience and pleasure.

And yet he deeply opposes these very same systems!  Despite this, and his visible rage at the flickering silver screen, he proudly pays money to and even lionizes his own enemies at meal time.

He would surely fight on behalf of our brothers and sisters, the pig, fish, cow, chicken, goose and others, if only he were in the fantasy world, riding dragons and heroically throwing javelins at bad guys.

Would he ever eat Na’vi flesh?  Kill two families and enslave the young women for a few buckets of ore?  Of course not.

What if the Na’vi walked on four legs?

My friend has very clear, sane, natural feelings of outrage at the treatment of imaginary creatures. Maybe in the future, he can transfer these feelings to the treatment of real creatures, as well.