A Tale Of Two Calves

Let’s start the week on an upbeat note, with this video story, courtesy of Farm Sanctuary, about the bonds between an adopted calf and his accidental family.

It’s a sweet story, and also a reminder that it would be very hard for people to keep eating animals if they knew anything at all about their emotional lives. Meat-eating requires a purposeful ignorance, which the meat industry is only too happy to encourage.

If you want to know more about Farm Sanctuary, and the vision of its creator, Gene Baur, I’ve got you covered:

Seeing Is Important: More On Meat

Okay, at some point it will simply be gratuitous to keep posting these horrific slaughterhouse videos. But I am not at that point yet, because I want to convey that this is an industry problem, and not just isolated to one or two rogue slaughterhouses.

This video was made by Mercy For Animals (I first saw it here), at a plant they say supplies Burger King (additional info after the jump):

Video-related info from Mercy For Animals:

Are your Burger King purchases funding horrific animal abuse? Continue reading “Seeing Is Important: More On Meat”

Seeing Is Important: The Torture Of Meat “Processing”

Okay, I’ve been sitting on this one a while because it is pretty tough to watch.

But I think it is very important to see and bear witness to reality (previous here and here) because images elicit an emotional and visceral reaction that words sometimes do not.

Here’s the backstory on this video:

Aug. 21, 2012: An undercover video, filmed by a Compassion Over Killing investigator, exposes rampant animal abuse and suffering inside Central Valley Meat Co. (CVM), a slaughterhouse in Hanford, California. CVM is a major supplier to the USDA’s National School Lunch Program and other federal food initiatives.

Like all federally inspected slaughterhouses, CVM is required to comply with federal animal welfare requirements as well as California’s animal protection laws. However, COK’s whistleblowing video uncovers acts of cruelty that appear to violate both state and federal laws.

And you can read more here.

I do not post this lightly, but it IS what we call meat “processing” has come to–which is, to be blunt, animal torture. And it is too easy to just keep slinging hamburgers abetted by willful ignorance of what goes on behind the factory walls.

Do you really have faith that this sort of thing isn’t going on all over the world? Do you really want to keep eating meat that involves this degree of cruelty?

There are so many reasons not to eat meat. This is just one. But it should be all you need.

End Times For Meat?

Asks Time’s Josh Ozersky

Catte Feed Lot CAFOSure hope so. Ozersky explains that the future for meat is looking grim:

But while the bacon panic wasn’t real, there is a crisis in our meat supply and it’s no joke. We produce a lot of meat, but we feed a lot of Americans, and more all the time, thanks to the simple laws of multiplication, along with the simple addition of immigration. There is a drought, so there is less grain and corn for the animals to eat. Most of the producers are marginally profitable at best, and Americans refuse to pay more for meat than they do for Froot Loops, despite the fact that no one has to raise and feed and kill and process Froot Loops. I’m not kidding about this: go to the supermarket and see how much a package of pork chops cost, or half a chicken, and then compare that price to a box of Froot Loops.

All the things that consumers have, rightly, come to fear and distrust about the meat industry are a result of this problem. Hormones, to make the animals grow faster? Check. Antibiotics, to allow animals be cramped and crammed and stressed without dying of infections? Check. Farrowing crates and beak clipping, so as to squeeze more meat more efficiently out of factories? Check. Even the vile pink slime that everyone hates so much is simply a product, literally, of the beef industry’s need to get maximal yield out of each animal. We all love happy animals on small farms, but there’s no way to feed Americans living in or near poverty, as well as having tons of meat to export to China and elsewhere. The result is that producers are bumping off animals as fast as they can and getting out of the business before feed costs get worse and they are forced out. That’s where the bacon shortage comes in. Less pigs, less pork, less pork bellies for yummy, smoky bacon.

To Ozersky, this means a future of expensive, unhealthy meat and abused animals. I would argue we already have two of the three (yes, meat is cheap). He seems to lament the prospect. However, he doesn’t really have much to say on what to do about it.

So I’ll help him out: when a product is getting more expensive, more unhealthy, more ethically execrable, and more environmentally costly (which Ozersky doesn’t really go into), then perhaps the public should stop consuming that product.

I know. Radical idea. But Is it really that hard for Americans and the rest of humanity to imagine a future that isn’t fueled by cheap, factory-farmed meat?

How Would You Like Your Test Tube Burger?

Right now they are very rare (get it?). But scientists, as they will, are plowing ahead with the development of in vitro meat, also dubbed Frankenmeat.

Isn't technology fun?

From a moral and environmental point of view, the logic is unassailable:

So-called test-tube meat is being developed to slash the environmental impacts of factory farming, improve consumer health and lessen the suffering of animals. Last June, an Oxford University study concluded that compared with conventionally grown and produced meat, “in vitro” or “cultured” meat would generate 96% lower greenhouse gas emissions, use 45% less energy, reduce land use by 99% and cut water use by 96%.

“Animal farming is by far the biggest ongoing global catastrophe,” Patrick Brown of the Stanford University School of Medicine told reporters, AFP says. “More to the point, it’s incredibly ready to topple … it’s inefficient technology that hasn’t changed fundamentally for millennia.”

From a culinary point of view it sounds (and looks–so far) pretty disgusting.

Yum. Can't wait.

The meat-eating world is already starting to argue that it will be incumbent upon vegans and vegetarians to eat the stuff, to help it take off commercially.

Actually, I think it is incumbent upon me to keep making the argument that the simplest thing is for people to stop eating meat (why do some technological solutions sometimes seem so grotesque? Not sure I want to see what unintended consequences Frankenmeat will arrive with). And that meat should be taxed according to the environmental and health costs it imposes on the planet (it would be impossible to quantify or even compensate for the suffering factory meat-farming inflicts on animals).

Simply making people pay what meat really costs would be by far the fastest and simplest way to solve the meat problem (and the strongest incentive for going vegetarian). And for any die-hards who would prefer test-tube meat to no meat at all, the right price on factory-farmed meat would make lab-farmed meat commercially viable in a hurry.

So, no thanks. I’ll pass on that Frankenburger.