In our culture it’s generally accepted that animal cruelty is not cool. In fact, the extensive coverage of the Michael Vick case (quaterback sentenced to 21 months in prison after pleading guilty to dog fighting in 2007) and the social repercussions he faced as a result prove the public finds it outrages in fact. And this is how it should be for the most part, for above and beyond the atrocity of inflicting pain on a helpless creature, someone who abuses animals doesn’t bode well for the rest of us. After all, this seems to be how all the sicko serial killers get their start. But what about you and me? We’d never torture an animal –right? Well, maybe not for fun, but for something even more base you probably already have –money. That’s right, in our current culture we’ve been content to support the torture animals in order to save a few bucks at the grocery store. And this, my friends, is the real atrocity.
Girls in our culture cry over the ‘big bad hunters’ who kill ‘Bambi,’ but gobble down a tortured version of ‘Chicken Little’ (cold and dead on their pretty little Caesar Salads) noon and night. I wasn’t aware of the way chickens, cows and other species of our American diet were treated when I was a young girl, but I did have an aversion to such hypocrisy.
My next-door neighbor and ‘bestie’ at the time was quite a little activist. And being an avid animal lover myself (I even raised Netherland Dwarfs (rabbits)), she easily roped me into starting a club with the sole purpose of stopping animal cruelty. So in my parent’s little spare room up stairs, we poured over articles about animal testing for cosmetics and the tortured life of a Veal Cow. We made buttons and brochures and told everyone we knew not to eat Veal, but that was about it. At the time I seriously considered being a vegetarian but didn’t want to be a hypocrite. I thought: ‘if I stop eating meat because I love animals, I will also have to stop wearing leather sneakers and somehow avoid animal bi-products in all food and cosmetics.’ I thought that would be nearly impossible so I settled for avoiding Veal; something my family never ate anyway. But as an adult I’m revisiting the problem of animal cruelty with new action steps.
A couple years ago I read the book “Serve God, Save the Planet” by Dr. Sleeth and was inspired. It not only renewed my pursuit of the happiness that only comes through simplicity, but it also reminded me of the importance of ethical consideration of my neighbors around the world and all of God’s creatures. Now I don’t feel bad about eating meat, because for one thing other animals do it too. However, I am no longer alright with supporting needless animal cruelty. As a human on this planet I am not okay with mistreating any creature or paying others to do it for me. This may sound a bit dramatic to you so let me explain a bit of what goes on.
The following article excerpt describes the needless abuse of chickens by workers of a typical supplier; something I believe to simply be a by product of the larger unethical practices of chicken suppliers who genetically engineer the birds so they can’t stand, cram them into unsanitary and painful environments with no natural light and no rest for the entirety of their sad little lives, all in an effort to feed our demand for cheap/fat chicken breast by the way:
the results of an investigation into a KFC-supplying slaughterhouse in Moorefield, West Virginia, where workers were caught on video stomping on chickens, kicking them, and violently slamming them against floors and walls. Workers also ripped the animals’ beaks off, twisted their heads off, spat tobacco into their eyes and mouths, spray-painted their faces, and squeezed their bodies so hard that the birds expelled feces—all while the chickens were still alive (PETA, 2012, kentuckyfriedcruelty.com/u-pilgrimspride.asp).
If you are unaware of the atrocities of the chicken industry or of the rest of the food industry for that matter, stop what you’re doing, and watch the documentary “Food Inc.” online. They do a much better job of explaining the problem (and the solution) than I will, so I won’t go into further details about the kind of animal abuse we support everyday when we go to Wal*Mart (actually I avoid it at all costs!). Personally, I know that fearing hypocrisy is no longer excuse enough to do nothing toward stopping animal abuse in our opulent society (so opulent in fact, you’d think we could afford to treat animals better!). What I now do is pay extra for the ‘Cage Free’ eggs and natural meats. As a result I eat less meat and more vegetables as well as fish and hunted game if I can get my hands on it (at least I know the animal lived a good life and that it ended at the hands of a respecting hunter). You can feel free to keep saving a buck (no pun intended ) and in so doing support animal cruelty, but if you do, don’t even think about crying over Bambi because if you do, you just might choke on Chicken Little.