Tag Archives: Meat

A Deluge of Body Parts

I have returned to rant a mini-rant. It begins with a news article: “Chicken Parts and Sewage Flood Local Businesses, Owners Say.” From there it devolves into an image from Stephen King’s IT

We all float down here

…and to be honest, I’m not sure if we can come back from that.

To summarize: Business owners reported “a deluge of chicken body parts” floating around the workplace.

I don’t see how you can glance over this tidbit of news and not do a double-take. How is this not a big deal? By what dark magic has this been normalized? How are we sleeping at night? (I mean, morally, not literally. I’m sure your mattress is comfy.)

Dear North Carolinians: I think something might be amiss. There seem to be dismembered body parts flooding into your businesses. Have you noticed? Can we talk about this? It bothers me a little. I’m worried about what it says about us as a whole.

“There were eyeballs, gizzards, ground-up feet, bills, all kinds of feathers, intestines, skin – like the whole skin of chickens was coming through.”

Distraught customers: “Oh, no, I can’t order my pizza covered in dead animal parts because of all the dead animal parts floating around.”

I’m just speculating with the last quotation, because I can’t remember/imagine what goes on in someone’s head when they read this, but otherwise have no problem with the consumption of these BODY PARTS. Personally, I find it kind of, sort of, really fucking disgusting, nauseating, and disturbing on an I Saw the Devil level (minus the cool revenge factor, but hey, maybe someday?). If you don’t feel the same (and you aren’t a sociopath), then your brain is working overtime, pushing all the disturbing images and (even more disturbing) empathy the fuck out. I did the same for decades: every time I bit into a vein while eating [a] chicken and spat it out, feeling sickened; every time I fed watermelon to the cows in our backyard, feeling joy, and then promptly forgot their individuality when it came time for my dinner; every time I saw “food” when I should have been seeing “flesh.”

I guess to say that I can’t remember/imagine isn’t exactly accurate, and it may be hypocritical for me to be so flippant about cognitive dissonance I battled with for so long myself. (Sorry not sorry for Pennywise’s beautiful mug.) However, now that I find myself on the other side of it, and obvious horror is obvious (THERE ARE BODY PARTS FLOATING), I’m having a little trouble. It just isn’t easy to balance and disguise the visceral emotions that surface when you stop pushing reality out. Empathy for such mass-scale suffering elicits an urgency that sometimes makes it feel nearly impossible not to grab the person nearest to you and shake the fuck out of them. That’s a scary feeling. (Touching people? Eww.) I’d love to say being vegan is all cupcakes and Instagram pics, but there are days it carries such a heavy emotional weight, and the people you love cannot help you shoulder it because they aren’t ready to acknowledge it.

I’ve been on both sides and harming animals is the heavier weight, in my experience, but the burden is shared with so many defense mechanisms, societal institutions, and cultural traditions, that I can see how it would be preferable to many to stay in the comfort of societal norms, and just hope all the body parts stay at the slaughterhouse until they’re sanitized and packaged into happy, happy meals.

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What Will You Do?

“Perhaps in the back of our minds we already understand, without all the science I’ve discussed, that something terribly wrong is happening. Our sustenance now comes from misery. We know that if someone offers to show us a film on how our meat is produced, it will be a horror film. We perhaps know more than we care to admit, keeping it down in the dark places of our memory– disavowed. When we eat factory-farmed meat we live, literally, on tortured flesh. Increasingly, that tortured flesh is becoming our own.”

– Jonathan Safran Foer.

New Undercover Footage at Tyson

You can’t determine if something is morally acceptable unless you know what it is you’re supporting. If you aren’t vegan, this is what you’re supporting.

Feel free to watch and summarize this video for me, because I’m just not doing it. Go vegan and get a free pass: never have to watch horrifying farm animal abuse videos again.

When you buy from Tyson, you are literally supporting this exact cruelty. You are more likely than not doing just the same when buying from other brands. Factory farms account for 99% of the meat sold in this country. Don’t fool yourself into thinking what you buy is any different or more humane.

I’m only speaking very generally because–as previously stated–I am not watching this video. I imagine it features some of the more egregious examples of cruelty–the types of cruelty we all hope are isolated incidents even when they aren’t. It’s easier to sleep at night when we think that this is the exception and not the rule. People can’t really be this horrible. But I remember being sixteen, very much not a vegan or vegetarian, and dating someone who worked for a local hog farm. He enjoyed telling me in graphic detail about finding rotting pig corpses that had been overlooked because there were too few people to manage the number of animals being held captive. He enjoyed making me uncomfortable. Surprisingly (considering what a sociopath he turned out to be), he didn’t enjoy telling me about the piglets he slammed against the concrete or smashed with wooden boards just because they were the runts of their broken family units.

He told me because it weighed on him emotionally and he couldn’t keep it to himself. I told him I didn’t want to hear about it. I’m going to ask that you do as I say and not as I did: Don’t turn a blind eye to suffering when you are contributing to its demand.

If this video–if even the idea of it–disturbs you, then please engage the problem. Don’t look away. It may hurt, emotionally, but you need only glimpse it. You aren’t the one living it. Please watch. Please employ every ounce of empathy at your disposal for these individuals and their plight. Know that you don’t have to be a part of this. Know that there are alternatives and that they are not out of your reach. Take the first step: ORDER A FREE VEGAN STARTER GUIDE.

“We can’t plead ignorance, only indifference. Those alive today are the generations that came to know better. We have the burden and the opportunity of living in the moment when the critique of factory farming broke into the popular consciousness. We are the ones of whom it will be fairly asked, What did you do when you learned the truth about eating animals?”

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