Saturday, May 17, 2014

If not you.....who?

Reading "Chasing Doctor Doolittle" by Con Slobodchikoff, I was immediately taken aback by his casual, careless and thoughtless mention of eating a Moroccan dinner with friends that included chicken and lamb. He did not acknowledge the disconnect between his contention of the complex and intricate language skills of animals and the appearance of them on his dinner table. I wrote him a letter to ask for his explanation. Below is a transcript of our discourse.

What do you think about his response? Please let me know and I will blog on what the consensus is.

On 5/17/2014 2:03 PM, Mich wrote:
Dear Mr. Slobodchikoff:

I am distressed and alarmed after reading your book "Chasing Doctor Dolittle." Your research and arguments for why there is a very small if any gulf between humans and animals is powerful and uplifting and my experience with a wide variety of animals domesticated, wild, and those we consider pets, upholds your findings and thoughts... Yet you eat these very same animals without a further thought.... No thought as to how those animals got on your plate and no thought as to the meaning of a philosophy that permits you to eat these animals while also considering them to be our brethren... Make no mistake that in today's world eating animals isn't just about whether man is "meant" to eat animals or whether man has a "right" to eat animals because other animals do or we used is about the atrocities of mass slaughtering sentient creatures in an assembly line basis as if they were automobiles and living their severely shortened lives in inhumane and cruel conditions... To see chicks being thrown away like trash for being the wrong sex and seeing young calves being herded into pesticide pools is horrifying yet you eat them as if this is your right totally disrespecting all animals in the process....temple gradin does what she can to alleviate suffering but the fact remains that slaughter and humaneness are oxymorons ....not only that but not even half of cattle producers use her circle method claiming it's too expensive.... That's because they just don't have time what with killing billions of them a year means they're too busy slaughtering....shame on you! You need to be more responsible to hold any weight with readers and students....particularly this one...  You can find me on Facebook and in my website and blogs as shown below. I appreciate a response.

Michele Inman
USDF Silver & Bronze Medalist
USDF Silver & Bronze Freestyle Bars
Black Sheep Speaks on google blog
Eating Animals on google blog
Sent from my iPhone
Dr. Con Slobodchikoff

From: Con Slobodchikoff
To: Mich ; ""
Sent: Saturday, May 17, 2014 4:58 PM
Subject: Re: Disconnect between you and animals

Dear Michele,

Thank you for your email.

Your sentiments are admirable. There is too much suffering among
animals, and I applaud anyone who is trying to alleviate that suffering.
If you haven't already, look into the work of the Humane Society of the
US. They are working very hard to stop the sort of circumstances that
you describe, as are many of the countries of the European Union. I am
currently working with an artist who is using her art to illustrate the
suffering for those people who are unaware of such things. The more that
people become aware, the more chance there is that we will treat all
animals with the respect that they deserve.

Best Regards,
Con Slobodchikoff

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Funny Bacon

I was looking forward to some good laughs at the movies when my husband bought us tickets to see “The Other Woman,” starring Cameron Diaz and Leslie Mann. We expected going in that it was going to be a light-hearted, romantic romp with not too much substance, but generous with the pratfalls, idiotic situations, and cleverly funny dialogue.

What we didn’t expect was the irreverence and disregard the filmmakers had for farm animals who are turned into the meat on our plates, especially pigs who unfortunately are eaten by the billions every day by billions of people who insist on eating bacon for breakfast and barbecued ribs for dinner. 

Already in the first key scene of the movie, the wife character chides the husband character on his preference for “real” bacon. She tries to get him to switch to turkey bacon since she claims (falsely…I might add) that it is healthier. When he replies in disdain at her suggestion, she caves in and agrees that pig bacon is the only kind of bacon “real” men eat.
I was fuming by the time this scene ended and frankly, while the rest of the movie had some funny moments, I found it hard to really enjoy the humor knowing that the writers, producers and directors found pig bacon to be funny.

Maybe they ought to go check out a pig slaughterhouse from which all pig bacon comes from and see if they still think it is so funny.

It’s bad enough that consumers eat meat.  Few meat eaters who go to the supermarket, KFC, Burger King, McDonalds or any other fast food outlet or restaurant ever contemplate the toll the meat industry places on the environment to grow and process those animals, not to mention the runoff and sewage of the billions of gallons of blood, guts, poop, vomit and other secretions that come out of the animals prior to slaughter and after slaughter. Nor do they imagine the suffering and pain of the animals’ dismal lives who live less than a year in squalid conditions with nothing to do but eat and poop.  To hold such disdain and disregard for what the environment must endure to produce meat and then to make light of the suffering and slaughter of a living, sentient creature is unconscionable.

I understand there are meat eaters who are very aware of the meat production process and who  have witnessed the slaughter of these creatures. There are hunters who kill their own meat. There are people who work within the meat industry that confront the conditions daily. While they see the ugliness of the business, they see it as a necessary process for feeding the world. But, few of these people take the process lightly. I haven’t come across anyone in the business who finds slaughtering pleasant. Even those workers who inflict torture and inhumane acts on the animals are acting out their own dissatisfaction and cognitive dissonance from the sordid act of slaughter. That doesn’t excuse them from the acts, of course, but it does reflect how absolutely dehumanizing the whole process is.
I will never condone meat eating myself. But I at least can hold a modicum of respect for those meat eaters who understand, witness and take part in the process of placing that meat on their plate. What I can never understand are those people who eat meat readily but refuse to face the atrocities of the animal farm industry, and hide behind their skirts aghast at anyone talking about slaughter or showing them slaughter in action. If you can’t, won’t or even contemplate killing an animal, you have no business eating it.

And I can almost guarantee you that the “beautiful” people in the movie “The Other Woman,” don’t know the first thing about meat…and therefore should not be eating it, much less making fun of it.
People who eat meat have a responsibility to know where that meat comes from and what goes into getting that meat onto the dinner table. Being an “animal” lover and being environmentally conscious absolutely requires building a base of knowledge of the meat industry. Anything less than knowing what goes on in the meat industry is just empty words. Meat eaters who disregard where meat comes from may be pet lovers but they absolutely cannot be called animal lovers. They may recycle their trash and drive a prius but they will never be environmentally conscious until they sign up to reduce the demand on meat. 

Filmmakers and other mass media marketers owe it to the public to ensure that a true message of what goes into processing meat is reported. They can do it with comedy, they can do it entertainingly, they can do it dramatically, but they shouldn’t enforce the already imbedded attitudes that our meat-heavy society overwhelmingly feels—that of carelessness and irresponsibility.