I was at a Ducks game recently, when the loudspeaker announced that if Oregon scored 40 points, every attendee would receive a free Burger King hamburger. A cheer went up.
Not from me. Let’s be clear; the deal was – college kids on a field had something to do with how many animals would die and be casually eaten. I found the correlation offensive.
How cheaply we buy and sell their lives!
I’m in that position a lot. When I hear children whine who don’t want to finish their “McNuggets,” just to have parents dump the food as if it had no connection to anything that ever lived – I’m bothered.
I grew up on a farm, and though a lot of people who do say they got inurned to the idea of killing animals, it didn’t go that way for me.
Somehow, seeing animals react to each other, seeing them move, listen and play, made it very clear they felt things intensely.
It’s not so easy to kill something like that.
Or, it shouldn’t be.
Yet, during the holidays, when we ask what someone’s “having” for dinner, we mean meat more than anything else. And we are not embarrassed by it.
Earlier this year, I dined with good friends who spent the meal expressing outrage about a local animal abuse case, dogs kept in close kennels without room to turn around.
Well! I had never heard such moral outrage! Discussing the abuser, my friends said, “they should throw away the key for her,” and, “I guess I like animals better than people, because I’d like to punch her in the face.”
The table was mounded with plates of Mongolian Beef and Pork Fried Rice. Only one of us was not eating an animal.
Pigs have been shown by legitimate research to be as intelligent as 3-year old humans, second only to chimpanzees. They are certainly much smarter than dogs, and any dog owner can tell you the acute suffering a dog can feel.
“Pigs are known to dream, recognize their own names… and lead social lives of a complexity previously observed only in primates,” according to the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
If you’re amused to read this, and ready to discount it – I’m not surprised. But it is certain misery for a pig to be “farmed” in today’s industrial livestock hell.
So, when you see that “Turducken” rolled out for Christmas dinner – that grotesque assemblage that makes special mockery of the bodies of animals – and when the company you’re with laughs and cheers – and when you remember that “produced” poultry is kept in cages in which they cannot turn around their whole lives – think of me.
I don’t expect to change your mind, but I do hope you feel the stirring of sorrow.
Marydee Epstein is related to a Salem Weekly staff writer. She doesn’t “do” the internet, but can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org.