Would You Eat That? Inviting Your Pet to Dinner Takes on a Whole New Meaning
by ahayw1 on February 17, 2014 - 10:25pm
It has always baffled me that Americans are able to claim to be animal rights activists while simultaneously sitting down to a nice steak dinner. It seems to me that “ignorance is bliss” should be a slogan printed on every neatly packaged corpse able to be purchased in a super market. Namit Arora, author of “On Eating Animals”, brings up an interesting point: why are we okay with eating some animals, such as chickens, pigs, and cows, but are outraged at the idea of eating “cute” animals such as cats and dogs (p. 28)? It cannot be the animal itself, because pigs are known to be great companions and it’s rumored that dogs are quite tasty. Arora posits that perhaps our ignorance to the cruelty of animals in these factory farms contributes to our ability to debase these creatures as living, sentient beings who are capable of thinking and feeling. Even within the factories, the few people who actually engage in the act of killing the animals are instructed to refer to cows as “beef” (Arora, p. 30). Psychologically, this is supposed to make the employees see the animals as a mean to our end. The author indicated in the end that Americans have two options in order to cleanse their moral pallets: 1. Admit that what is going on in the factory farms is inhumane and revert back to more ethical tactics of raising cows for slaughter, or 2. Stand behind what we do, but open it up to the public and stop hiding our practices behind closed doors. This would include allowing children inside in order to make an informed choice for themselves.
As you might already be able to tell, I agree with Arora. I think it’s a great point that Americans seem to put certain animal lives ahead of others. It could very well be that we simply do not understand the full extent of the mistreatment happening in the factory farms, but I think it is more than that. I think we are under the impression that these animals are inferior to humans intellectually, and therefore their only purpose is to become sustenance for our superior bodies. If this were the case, should it not logically follow that we should send our intellectually disabled humans off to slaughter as well? Obviously this is not an option, but for what reason? Is it because they are our fellow human beings? If so, where do we draw the line on what is edible and what is worthy of life? None of these answers seem to have a clear answer, so that brings us back to pure ignorance. I cannot count how many times I have heard someone say “I don’t want to know what’s in it, I just want it to taste good.” This is a clear representation of our disassociation from the animals we consume on a daily basis. Another example brought up in the article above was that, when an animal escapes from a slaughterhouse, the humans around it seem to develop a sense of camaraderie with the escaped animal and riot when it is captured or killed. It seems sardonic that they wouldn’t (and still don’t) bat and eye to the millions of other cows suffering the same fate.