A fortnight ago I published a truly fascinating and thought provoking guest post to the Official R Pitcher blog, Why you may wish to reduce your meat consumption – even if you hate animals!, which was written by Andy Gosling, a dear friend and former work colleague of mine.
Today I bring you my follow-up scribbles to Andy’s article, and discuss the subject of animal slaughter from a meat eaters perspective. I’m a meat eater who has only recently taken the time to realise the true process that animals endure, and the scale of killing, all so that us humans can enjoy delicacies such as burgers, chicken nuggets and bacon sandwiches.
It’s rather fitting that I recently posted an article about both past and current incidents of human genocide, and the lacklustre approach that the international community choose to take when dealing with the government’s involved and perpetrators of these crimes. The same can be said about the vast majority of the human race who choose to turn a blind eye to the gross mistreatment and mass killing of not millions (like in the cases of human genocide), but billions of animals per year.
Andy, who is a strict vegan and someone who has an overwheling love for animals, and I have been known to jester with one another about the subject of vegetarianism and anything to do with the environment for a number of years now, particularly as we are both very different and have contradicting view points and beliefs. However last month Andy recommended that I watch the Earthlings documentary, and so with that I carried out a search on YouTube and settled down to watch the hour-and-a-half long programme. And let me tell you now, this programme is not for the faint-hearted.
‘Earthlings is a powerful and informative documentary about society’s treatment of animals, narrated by Joaquin Phoenix with soundtrack by Moby. This multi-award winning film by Nation Earth is a must-see for anyone who cares about animals or wishes to make the world a better place.’ – Earthlings.com
‘Did you know? Due to the increase of euthanasia in shelters and the growing constant demand for drugs like euthasol, some shelters with budget constraints are forced to use gas chambers instead.’
Broken into five parts Earthlings is a captivating documentary that uses both incredible imagery and gruesome footage of the mistreatment of pets, animals we eat and other wildlife we use for clothing, entertainment purposes and science and testing. Various descriptions, statistics and images have and will continue to stick with me from this enlightening documentary. I have shared the video with you – please see below.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m very much a traditionalist and do enjoy a good old Sunday roast inclusive of meat such as roast chicken or a few mouth-watering slices of British beef served with all the trimmings and more than just a splash of gravy. But I am proud to say that since watching the Earthlings programme I have not eaten at any fast food restaurant, and I shall continue to explore ways in which I can reduce my meat intake to an absolute minimum and try to educate people as to why they should do so too. And that teaching starts here.
Post indoctrination Andy and I met up to discuss the message that I would like to spread, and we both agreed that it’s perhaps more likely that people will be inclined to listen to me rather than him because I have remained a meat eater – just like the masses. Vegetarians and vegans like Andy face an uphill battle when discussing this subject matter as it can often be misinterpreted as patronising and condescending, and so can come across that they are preaching. As a result meat eaters may continue to turn a blind eye, not listen and insist that they, “don’t wish to hear it.”
Despite entitling this article ‘Enough to make you turn vegetarian?‘, my aim isn’t to turn anyone into a vegetarian at all – especially seeing as I still eat meat – but my goal is to make people more aware of the sheer scale of killing, mistreatment of animals and the processes involved when turning, for example, a cow into a succulent juicy burger. It is then for you – as an individual – to decide on whether you wish to alter your diet or not.
Animals aren’t all that different to the human race. They breed just like we do, they care for their young in the same way that we care for our children, they have feelings and feel pain, just like us. In fact many animals have sight and scent that we could only dream of – superhuman if you will.
But seeing as I am an anthropocentric, and therefore consider human beings as the most significent entity on earth, I still believe that animals should be killed for food, clothing and certain consumables. My qualm is with the squalid conditions in which the animals are kept, the cruel way in which they are treated, the unethical way that animals are being killed and the level of killing.
The next time you eat in McDonalds, Burger King or KFC you should consider:-
+ McDonalds kills 67,000 cows a day to meet our insatiable demand for hamburgers and cheeseburgers.
+ Finger lickin’ good KFC kills around 736 million chickens per year.
+ Milking cows are kept chained to stalls all day and every day, whilst fed an absurd amount of antibiotics to sustain a high level of milk productivity. Cows normally live for up to 20 years, whereas milking cows generally die within four. Exhausted and fragile they eventually collapse and die, their meat is then used for what we eat in fast food restaurants.
+ The chickens that you eat may have been clubbed to death or had their heads cut off.
+ Burger King is ranked as the dirtiest of all the fast food chains.
+ Real food is perishable and in time it will decay – beef will rot and bread will mold. If you were to visit your local McDonalds branch today and buy a hamburger, bring it home and leave it on your bedside table, then that same burger will look equally as ‘fresh’ this time next year.
+ On average, after eating a large burger meal from either McDonalds, Burger King or KFC you would have to walk around five hours straight to burn off the calories.
+ The processed fat in McDonald’s food (and other fast food) promotes enthothelial dysfunction for up to five hours after eating the meal. Endothelial tissue is what lines the inside of blood vessels.
+ Erectile dysfunction is connected to endothelial dysfunction. The more fast food you eat, the more problems you’ll encounter getting it up.
The Shock Factor
The only way to grab the attention of the vast majority of meat eaters is by [practically] forcing them to see something in plain black and white, no camaraderie but just to-the-point writing, along with cold hard statistics, pictures and videos. Because if you offer a meat eater an ounce of room then they’ll wriggle away and insist on not hearing it for the worry that you’ll go and spoil their dinner. It’s almost as if you’re forced to shock them into submission.
There are tens of thousands of animal charities worldwide, with many campaigning for the better treatment of animals and trying their best to reduce the measure of killing. But with meat and other materials that animals can be used for in such high demand, it’s almost as if these charities are pissing in the wind, for want of a better phrase. Old-school David v Goliath.
PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are a charity who have on several occasions applied the shock factor to their remonstrations. Last March outside of a San Francisco steak house a number of PETA members lay almost naked inside trays covered in clear plastic, their aim was to demonstrate that just like animals, humans are made of blood, flesh and bone, and so when you eat meat you are eating a corpse [see photo above].
This is exactly what campaigners ought to be doing more of, because these really are the lengths that they are forced to go to even stand a remote chance of catching the attention of ignorant hard line meat eaters who are completely nonchalant to how much their diet does have an impact on not just the animal kingdom but the planet earth as a whole.
The media must also take resposibility. Instead of printing off and screening copious amounts of bullshit that for whatever reason this generation has accustomed itself to – and perhaps even embraced – they must instead focus further on educating people on important matters like this. Only then will people give additional meaningful thought.
‘Did you know? A vegetarian diet could cut one’s risk of heart disease by as much a 32%.
The Knock-On Effect
The amount of meat that you consume has a domino effect that encroaches on various subjects – which Andy covered superbly in his article a couple of weeks ago. Within that piece Andy talks about how devouring meat on such a scale as we do today is about more than just the animals, and that there are further consequences; our environment and wildlife are suffering too.
I wholeheartedly agree with Andy’s comments that as human beings we should focus on providing for those less fortunate among us within our own species first and foremost by directly giving them the grain and water that they so desperately need to survive rather than using it to fatten animals for us first-world folk to scoff. We’d still survive – perhaps even longer – as studies show that vegetarians and vegans are much less likely to be taken ill.
Tonight [Monday 18th February 2013] there are two programmes that I would recommend you watch. At 8pm on Channel Four, Dispatches investigates the ongoing Horse Meat scandal, who is to blame, and what impact it will have on your health and your eating habits. And then if you flick-over to BBC One at 8.30pm Panorama has its own probe on the same scandal.
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