A Matter of Life and Death

Industrialised torture.

There are two kinds of meat eaters in the world: those who know where their meat comes from and don’t see anything wrong with it, and those who know where their meat comes from and do see something wrong with it but ignore it because steak’s tasty. Both kinds are asking for animals to be killed on their behalf and both are responsible for the cruelty in the industry, but somehow it’s the latter that are the harder to understand. At least the meat eaters who think animals deserve to be crammed into horrific living conditions and then killed are sticking to their principles when they chow down on veal-stuffed bacon chops. The others are hypocrites. That’s not an insult, it’s just yer basic dictionary definition. I was that hypocrite myself.

(Shocked gasps)

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.

Photo credit: Sioda at MorgueFile



Vegans, vegetarians, carnivores, omnivores, pescatarians, flexitarians, fruitarians… Every one of these tedious knobs explained so you can decide which you’re going to be, starting now.


My Life As A Hypocrite

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.


Going vegan: A cow stands in the ocean in Goa, India

Levelling up

How, why and which I went vegan. Well, not which. But how and why. And which you should too.


Why go veggie: A sad pig squashed into a truck


Six solid reasons for going veggie. Each of them so convincing you’ll be mortified you haven’t done it already.


Myths about veganism: A man with his head in his hands


Lies, myths and tiresome bullshit about veggieness and veganism


Gelatine and the Newbie Pitfalls

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.


In search of protein

I scream, you scream, we all scream for protein. Let’s just calm down and eat some. It’s basically everywhere.


What's The Deal With Eggs?

Prepare yourself for the dullest of dull questions meat-eaters will ask you, armed with a bit of knowledge and a lot of spunk.


Veggie medicine

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.


Veggie Pets

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.


Veggie Kids

I believe the children are the future. The pale, listless future.


Animal testing

Putting lipstick on a pig. And shoving botox in a mouse. And giving a bunch of animals a ton of tumours.



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