Tuesday, November 27, 2007
“Again, if PETA is putting something out, I will always have my doubts - they see things one way and one way only. Theirs. In many ways the activists in this country are terrorists of a kind….” [Excerpt from an email written by a heavily indoctrinated and reactionary US American]
By Jason Miller
For a year now I have been an ethical vegetarian. Last Thanksgiving, I made what I thought was an enlightened moral decision to stop eating meat and to severely restrict my egg and dairy consumption. However, an email recently hit my inbox that presents such a powerful argument justifying the wanton torture and slaughter of animals (so we can please our palates) that my moral sensibilities and capacity to reason have been utterly disarmed. Signed with a cryptic “JC,” this missive pummeled me with points I had not even considered when I made what I now rightly view as my ridiculous decision to go “meatless.”
In fact, rarely a day goes by that I don’t catch scent of the pungent aroma of the famous Kansas City barbeque I still crave—one can barely travel a mile or two in KC without finding oneself in olfactory range of restaurants that prepare extraordinarily delicious servings of non-human animal flesh. I fully admit that I miss devouring tender, succulent sauce-drenched ribs, burnt ends, sliced beef, brisket….As I write this, I’m salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs tethered to the Cathedral Tower in Limerick on a Sunday morning….
What an extraordinary dilemma JC has created for me. At times I am still consumed by an almost overwhelming temptation to indulge myself in the consumption of one of my fellow animals. Feasting on sentient beings that had endured tortured, miserable existences (existences that were mere warm-ups for the sheer savagery that awaited them in the slaughterhouse) was one of my favorite pastimes.
So the question is, do I continue denying myself the sublime pleasure of dining on animal tissue in order to appease my conscience, or do I embrace JC’s brilliant justification of meat consumption and satiate my hunger with a thick rare burger drowned in Heinz?
Allow me to examine and dissect some of JC’s eloquent and illuminating conclusions:
JC: “I can’t be held responsible for how turkeys or any animals are slaughtered. I’m never going to give up meat or fish or fowl, as our diet does require us to have protein and other nutrients that we receive from these products and I and many others enjoy eating them.”
So forget the notion of the banality of evil. As a consumer, even if I eat meat I am absolved of ALL responsibility for the unimaginable horrors the producers inflict upon factory-farmed animals from “cradle to grave.”
For Christ’s sake! I’ve been subsisting for over a year without said “protein and other nutrients” from meat! I am a miracle of modern science!
And I find it nearly impossible to disagree with JC’s statement that “I and many others enjoy eating them.” (The “them” being animals of course— I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy eating meat). As I was growing up my mother frequently confronted me with the question, “If everyone else jumped off a bridge would you do it too?” Obviously the “correct” response was “no.” Sorry, Mom, but JC’s lemming logic is a hell of a lot more enticing than going against the grain and “doing the right thing.” Screw that—I’ll have the porterhouse, please!
JC: “People have to eat and the bulk of their protein comes from animal sources. They have been doing it since the cave man and it isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Tofu just doesn’t cut it for most people as a meat substitute, nor those grotesque meat imitations made from veggie products and then shaped into meat like looking products.”
Now that is a truly impenetrable Maginot Line of reasoning. I can’t begin to argue with the assertion that people have to eat. And the bulk of my protein did indeed come from animal sources for about 39 years of my life. JC is a tough nut to crack! And to think I’ve actually been eating tofu and “those grotesque meat imitations made from veggie products and then shaped into meat like looking products.” I cannot imagine what I’ve been thinking. Hunks of blood-saturated animal flesh, fat, and muscle that at some point in the production process were commingled with various organs, hooves, fur, and shit–forget those “grotesque meat imitations.” I can really wrap my appetite around mutilated and raw animal parts that quickly rot if they aren’t refrigerated.
Sorry Bossy, Wilbur and feathered friends. Since we human animals don’t find “meat like looking products” to be delectable, we’re going to continue confining you in dark, cramped quarters throughout your rueful lives, pumping you full of a toxic stew of antibiotics and growth hormones, causing you to grow so rapidly that you become crippled, performing surgery on you with no anesthetic, ripping out your teeth and clipping off your beaks so that when you go insane from the conditions we keep you under you can attack your fellow victims without damaging our product, loading you into severely over-crowded trucks in which you will do without food or water for several days, and ultimately hanging you by your hind legs, slitting your throats, crushing your skulls, and boiling you to death.
Besides, consuming animal flesh worked well for Neanderthals and a mere 50,000 years have passed. Don’t rush us into making changes.
JC: “All the people that chose to eat vegetarian style to attempt to make a statement, can do so, but their numbers will never increase enough to make a difference in the amount of animals that are slaughtered. Its supply and demand and it appears that the demand is still there. I think a more riveting point in considering limiting human consumption of some of these products is to be more careful about the meat/fowl/fish one eats is because of all the contamination w/ e.coli, salmonella & mercury. That to me, is the real concern.”
She’s right. Every last one of us who “eat vegetarian style” just wants “to make a statement.” It has NOTHING to do with ethics, moral or conscience. We’re just showing off, carving out a niche and making a name for ourselves. And there are so damn few of us that the immutable laws of capitalism (which all good libertarians from Texas KNOW were handed down to Moses along with the Ten Commandments) will inevitably prevail. It is God’s will that we adhere to the law of supply and demand as the chief guiding principle of humanity. So when JC so astutely observes, “it appears the demand is still there,” who are we humble herbivores to argue?
And what self-respecting speciesist inflated with the hubris of humanity’s inherent right to subjugate and exploit “lesser” beings wouldn’t agree with this gem from JC?
“I think a more riveting point in considering limiting human consumption of some of these products is to be more careful about the meat/fowl/fish one eats is because of all the contamination w/ e.coli, salmonella & mercury. That to me, is the real concern.”
Fuck the non-human animals. Humans are the REAL concern. Why didn’t I think of that before I wasted 12 months of prime meat-eating time? Keep brutalizing the cows, pigs and chickens. Just take care not to get sick when you eat them.
JC: “This is not one plight that I’m going to worry about - especially since itis an American tradition. If people want to eat plain lasagne for T-day or just a green bean casserole for any holiday they can certainly do so, but it isn’t something that I would personally choose to do.”
Inflicting unconscionable pain and abuse upon non-human animals so that we can eat them is an “American tradition.” JC is right! And you don’t fuck with traditions, especially American ones. Like bombing smaller countries into the Stone Age. Manifest destinying our way across the North American continent. Installing and supporting ruthless dictators who adhere to the Washington Consensus. Wielding our economic power like a cudgel to beat sovereign nations into submission. Lynching. Jim Crow. Slavery. Native American genocide. Just to name a few.
And I have to admit that there is something fundamentally flawed with anyone who would “want to eat plain lasagna for T-day or just a green bean casserole for any holiday.” That is just plain un-American. Let’s start carving that bird!
JC: “Again, if PETA is putting something out, I will always have my doubts - they see things one way and one way only. Theirs. In many ways the activists in this country are terrorists of a kind. They think they are more civilized in their behavior but they try to terrorize people “by educating them” to the extreme conditions some animals face and are unable to be reasoned with at all. Its their way or the highway.”
“If PETA is putting something out, I will always have my doubts - they see things one way and one way only.” Amen to that, JC. Simply examine their name. Can you imagine a more arrogant, rigid group than the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals? Thanks to JC’s email, I too am beginning to harbor many doubts about them. Where the hell do Ingrid Newkirk and her band of “terrorists of a kind” get off thinking they are “more civilized in their behavior?” As human beings, don’t we have the God-given right of dominion, which would mean we can abuse animals whenever we damn well please? And PETA members, don’t you dare terrorize us with your knowledge. The reality is that we enjoy eating the flesh of dead animals and the more ignorant of their pain we remain, the better. So PETA, you can take OUR way or the highway. I think you know where the meat-eating population wants you to shove your ethics. We’re broiling pork chops tonight!
So for a year now I have engaged in this rotten behavior known as vegetarianism. I have been depriving my body of protein, have been eating “grotesque” meat substitutes for no reason, have been violating sacred American traditions, have been “making a statement,” have been engaging in a form of elitism, and have been a “terrorist of a kind.” Somebody stop this bus! I want off!
And just how many pounds of meat must I consume before I am once again practicing the “American Way of Life” and reveling in its “non-negotiable” splendor?
Jason Miller is a recovering US American middle class suburbanite who strives to remain intellectually free. He is Cyrano’s Journal Online’s associate editor (http://www.bestcyrano.org/) and publishes Thomas Paine’s Corner within Cyrano’s at http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/. You can reach him at JMiller@bestcyrano.com
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