A Matter of Life and Death
We’ve got no patience with hypocrites here. We’ve got no patience with deniers. Humans blinding themselves to reality are holding us back on climate change (no consensus), global inequality (can’t be helped), fair trade (I love a bargain), slavery (Lincoln fixed it), discrimination (political correctness gone mad), the plight of refugees (the Daily Mail) and such and such. Deniers are not helpful.
Let’s go for truth: meat comes from animals living in torturous conditions and killed because we don’t want to eat tofu. Let’s go for another: that doesn’t have to happen. And for the triple: if you eat meat you could stop. Yes you could.
Picture puppies for the next five paragraphs
Paint-mad nipple flashers PETA may undermine themselves with cheap campaigns but their undercover films are always worth a look to understand animal life in factory farms and slaughterhouses. In ‘Glass Walls’ we see men grabbing piglets by the hind legs and smacking their heads into the ground to kill them, and piglets left squirming and covered in blood when the smacks on the head don’t work. We see pigs in cages so narrow they can’t turn around and pigs and cows that weren’t stunned properly before their throats were cut hanging upside down from hooks, flailing around as they die.
Chickens get the same kind of deal. TV chef and Rowlf look-alike Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall will kill and cook basically anything he bumps into, but even he’s not having this shit. He’s teamed with Compassion in World Farming to raise awareness of conditions in factory farms through his Chicken Out campaign. His website says their miserable conditions result in “millions of chickens suffering from painful leg disorders, breathing disabilities, ammonia burns and dying of lung or heart failure.” When one of the world’s most prolific animal eaters is worried you know it’s serious. It’s like Harold Shipman raising awareness of pneumonia among the elderly.
Turkeys don’t do any better. When they’re killed they’re hung upside down and dipped into electrified water to stun them before their throats are cut. They’ll often suffer electric shocks before they’re stunned as their wings make contact with the water. The electric bath may not stun them properly, meaning they’re conscious when the knife cuts through their necks.
Compassion in World Farming, which isn’t a vegetarian organization and doesn’t suggest we stop eating animals, talks about lambs castrated without anaesthetic, the removal of sheep’s skin around the tail without anaesthetic, and sheep transported across hundreds of miles in overcrowded trucks without sufficient rest, food and water. We’re talking about fluffy lambs here.
And then there’s the really cruel stuff; yer veal, yer foie gras. Foie gras is a deliberately diseased duck liver, expanded to 10 or 12 times its normal size by a force-feeding programme. A metal pipe is inserted into ducks’ throats to pump food directly into their stomachs three times a day until they are slaughtered at around three months old. The tube often pierces through the ducks’ skin, causing horrific injuries.
Time for your light bulb moment
It’s strange we don’t think of this as animal cruelty. If we saw the torture of the slaughterhouse anywhere else we’d phone the RSPCA. If we saw a guy smacking puppies or piglets into the ground, or hanging dogs or cows upside down to slit their throats we’d be horrified. If we saw some asshole stick a pipe down a duck’s throat in the park, or lop off a sheep’s testicles we’d be outraged. It’s strange that cruelty and killing is acceptable if we get to eat the body afterwards.
It’s wrong. It’s simple, clear-cut wrongness. It’s wrongness on a scale of the order in which The Beatles are dying.
If you think it’s wrong, if you think it’s cruel and unnecessary and you don’t want to be a hypocrite still eating meat, you’re in need of an epiphany. I’ll send the Jack Nicholson spider around so you can do the right thing.
How a spider spurred my veggie awakening and with it my wider Zero awakening and with it your wider Zero awakening and with it a general saving of animals, humanity and the planet.
Bits of animals are hidden everywhere: in marshmallows, in red food dye, in fake fingernails, even in meat and fish and everything. Swot up on what you need to miss out on.
Because even being ill is an ethical pickle for the self-righteous vegetarian. Between gelatine capsules and mandatory animal testing, you’re best just maintaining perfect health forever.
What should we feed our fellow omnivores? Should we force our morality on other creatures? Will a leopard ever want a bit of tofu? Just three of the questions I’m not all that into but wrote about anyway.
As Veganuary hit and I finished updating the Veggieness section of this here website, I was lightning-bolted by one of my many micro-epiphanies: Ever since Covid demanded I spend less time in the kitchen and more time in bed I’ve become a lousy, lazy vegan.
Veganuary aims to get people trying veganism for a month, drawing them in with time-limited new year faddishness. Last year it had more than half a million sign ups, with about 85% committing to cutting down on meat and dairy thereafter, and a solid 40% aiming to stay vegan for all time. That’s decent, given the most popular new year’s resolution – getting and using an annual gym membership – has a success rate of less than 3% I assume.
As with many hells, the road to veganism is paved with good intentions…
You’ll recall they made a stem cell burger a while back. It was funded by one of the guys from Google taking a break off reading your emails and spying on what you spaff to. He gave a few hundred grand to a couple of mad scientists taking a break off stitching hitchhikers’ mouths to hobos’ bumholes.
As you’ll recall I’ve been terribly ill, mummy’s brave little soldier keeping his chin up through the flu, a chest infection, a spot of whooping cough and very little in the way of blogging. Throughout this charming episode I’ve had a number of very helpful people explain it’s all down to my vegetarianism, there having been no documented cases of illness among meat eaters.
In the days before my epic post-qualifying/pre-job slouchfest, back when I was an overworked and increasingly tetchy student, I bashed out a few new year’s resolutions to fill up a bit of space on what was becoming a seriously neglected blog. However, comeuppances being what they are, I’m now forced to put some effort into doing whatever it was I said I’d do, and all to satisfy an audience of precisely no one. How I hate myself.
As the days count down and 2011 draws to a close I have some unfinished business to attend to, an outstanding resolution yet to be instood. I speak, of course, of Operation Parmesan, the unprecedented assault on the world of cuisine that will make the Hiroshima bombing look like an inappropriate historical event to make reference to.
It’s a hard and trying task, all this Zero business. All this research, all this protesting, all this motivating the troops and doing the groupies. At times I grow weary. People cannot live on self-righteousness alone. It can’t be all hard work and hand wringing and so from time to time I put down my tools, tramp down from the moral high ground to the sewer in which the rest of you live, and have a night off. A couple of nights ago I watched a film. Naturally, I was able to turn it pretty quickly into hard work and handwringing.
You’ll recall how I’ve been writing for my uni’s studentmag. It’s some full on proper do-gooding, converting everyone on campus to my splendid way of life and raising issues usually neglected by right-on students such as Fairtrade, vegetarianism, feminism, environmentalism… Oh. Right.