Happy meat on cover of this month’s "Good"

So, the magazine is called Good. The whole thing smells bad to me. I saw this cover at the checkout stand while at Whole Foods (fine purveyors of happy meats… I understand the meat is so happy it jumps up and dances for you if you light up a disco ball).
 
 
As you can see, this month’s cover features a picture of a cow being “pampered” (including food, a nice brushing, and a radio playing music) below the headline, “Happy Meal,” which is revolting in and of itself (can you imagine a human being depicted similarly?). In case you can’t read the low quality, slightly-blurry iPhone pic I snapped, the caption reads: “Why pampered cows make tastier steaks.” Forgetting that it probably ought to have said “make for tastier steaks” (do the cows come up tableside and make steaks for people, a la Douglas Adams?), the only thing more disgusting than this cover was the article itself, which I quickly scanned through before leaving. 
 
I’m telling you, this article sells the happy meat but good. This is where welfarist activism is taking us, folks. Not that this will surprise some of you, but even a former PETA-supporting vegan talks to the writer about the benefits of”humanely raised” beef, calling the transition from activist for the animals to someone who cares for then kills her own animals a transformative experience, in so many words. If you want to really get your blood boiling, take a look, but please don’t support the magazine by purchasing. 
 
I put the copy I was browsing back on the rack… backward. Wooo, passive-aggressive activism (passivism?).
  

By the way, also at the Good website, here is the article’s dedicated page (though, no text), along with some unhappy comments. There’s a video promoting the issue featured here as well, which is hosted at YouTube (from factory farms to family farms, in a nutshell). Interesting comments under that, as well, including something we’re going to be hearing more and more as happy cows become the new “reality”:  “They don’t know they’re on death row.”

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18 comments

  1. The full article is posted on their site. When I searched for the article (keyword “meat”) there was a link to a story on the recent beef recall, which ended with, “We know they’re not all pampered animals [cut to the happy meat article] but this is a really bad scene.” What gets me is these happy meat aficionados fail realize that no matter how “humane” animals are “raised” they all end up at the slaughterhouse.

  2. When I saw that on a newsstand I thought my head would explode. I especially loved the quote from someone who said basically “Once you taste this [heirloom, organic, whatever] meat, you’ll know that they were made to be eaten!” Like, it’s so tasty, obviously GOD MADE THEM JUST FOR OUR TASTE BUDS. Augh.

  3. I saw this magazine at Whole Foods yesterday. “Why pampered cows make tastier steaks.” Ugh! I was so disgusted I didn’t want to pick it up to read the article inside.The animal welfarist ideology is plaguing the animal rights movement. Our movement is being co-opted by the industry and the bloated welfarist groups like HSUS. Let us stand for justice for animals. Justice does not demand reform, it demands abolition!

  4. It is disgusting for sure. I see it as a reaction to the tension between the public’s growing concern for animals and their psycho-sociological addiction and habituation to meat. It’s a retreat, or a compromise with conscience – “but what if we treat the animals better” – that I think is bound to happen regardless of our animal activism strategies. Two of the early defenses when coming to grips with one’s habitual, horrid wrongdoing are denial and self-protective though non-reality-based deal-making with one’s self. I see both of these dynamics in this article, and in many people who have made incremental but insufficient changes in their diets.That said, it is of course vital that we point out there’s nothing happy, or moral, about creating animals just to kill them for pleasure. And that one can have a deeply satisfying and diverse vegan diet.Let’s leverage people’s stunted yet emerging concern for farmed animals so that they think about the deeper issues, and learn that no farm animals are pampered and that they’re all killed against their will, and that there is an easy way to completely divest from participating in that cruelty and violence.Let’s help them along this process by showing them that a) there is only integrity, no shame in admitting one’s complicty in wrongdoing, b) the only win-win deal – the one that fosters peace and gives true peace of mind – is to stop manipulating, exploiting, and killing animals for pleasure.

  5. This brings up some things I’ve been doing wrong.When asked why my hubby and I are veg, we used to say “Because we think it’s wrong to take the life of a sentient being just because we think they taste good.” But that resulted in blank stares, so we just told them that we abhor factory farming conditions. So now people think all we care about is the animal being treated well, which leads to this line of thought. Apparently if animals are treated better before slaughter then it’s a-okay to still slaughter them.Now I know I need to step up to the plate and give my real reason for being veg.

  6. Krista,I’m heartened to see your comment. I think if you find a less dry way to state your reasons for being vegan, i.e., something other than “Because we think it’s wrong to take the life of a sentient being just because we think they taste good,” that might help. You give a very good reason, but it’s hard for people connect to it. Sometimes drawing parallels works for people (“I wouldn’t eat a pig or cow any more than I’d eat a cat or dog. There’s no moral difference.” If they get into the eggs and dairy, then you have an opportunity to educate them more about how, because animals are considered property, they are treated as resources, or only as well as is profitable.Thanks for letting me know you’re stepping back up to the plate!

  7. <>If you want to really get your blood boiling, take a look, but please don’t support the magazine by purchasing. I put the copy I was browsing back on the rack… backward. Wooo, passive-aggressive activism (passivism?).<>Maybe, but it’s a kind I practice regularly. I guess I got in the habit when my children were younger and I didn’t want to have to go through the line with them staring at Rolling Stone or whatever and asking “why is she doing that?” I would just move one magazine over in front of the cover and let the staff worry about re-displaying it.Now I do this with any covers promoting meat or animal entertainment. I’m certain I’ve done this with the cover you’re pointing out. So go ahead and do it without shame, dude.A tip, though: The staff (or a customer) will see the turned-around cover and put it right almost instantly compared to another forward-facing magazine. And something that only occurred to me recently is to get a mag from a different aisle – one that’s not represented in the one you’re in. That way there won’t be an obvious visual cue of two covers of the same magazine in the same section.

  8. I’ve been a vegetarian for almost 6 years and I’ve focused more on the treatment of the animals then necessarily their deaths. Mostly because death is a natural thing, and the animals will die no matter what we do.So why are we against animals dying when its an inevitability?

  9. Robert,You seem deeply confused. I have to wonder why you are even vegetarian. Do you have any clue as to the suffering that occurs in the dairy and egg industries? Why don’t you eat “happy meat” if you are so certain that it’s acceptable to eat animals if they are going to die anyway (though, of course would not exist if we did not selectively breed them for our own benefit). If you read my site for any period of time, you will see the problem I have with your mindset. It accepts that animals are ours to use as we please, which is oppressive and unjust, particularly when animals have interests that deserve equal consideration where they are similar to ours. This basically leads to veganism, since the only way to ensure equal consideration is to protect animals with rights and to release them from enslavement as human property.Finally, just to put a fine point on all this, why are we against eating humans when their dying is an inevitability as well? Any morally responsible answer demonstrates how illogical your thinking on this matter is.

  10. First of all I don’t consider animals here for our use at all. I’m not sure how you got that mindset out of what I said, the worst part about online forums is the words that other people put in other people’s mouthes.Yes, I am quite aware of the suffering that occurs in the dairy and egg industries. I have read Peter Singer. And I don’t remember saying I was certain that its ok to eat animals if they are going to die anyways.The suffering and treatment of animals adds quite a bit more to the net suffering of the world as a whole. More than the actual death of the animal, which in fact lessens the net suffering, as that animal is no longer suffering. Utilitarian-wise, which Peter Singer is a utilitarian, we should focus more on the treatment of the animals than necessarily their deaths.Plus, once again, you are putting words in my mouth, as I said I’m a vegetarian, so I am obviously against my consumption of meat. So the inevitability of death does not mean that we should eat what died.I am a vegetarian because I believe that my enjoyment of the taste of meat is far outweighed by the treatment the animals are suffering on factory farms. I also do not eat free range meat, because a plant based diet is healthier than a meat based diet.So back to my original point, being how can you be against something that is inevitable? Something that can only be delayed, not eliminated.

  11. Oh, Robert. Your most recent comment only proves how confused you are. I don’t even know where to begin with you. I simply don’t have the time and the space to be your teacher on this subject, and so many books have already been written. I will try to respond to your message in brief, but that is all I have time for right now. Apologies in advance if I am less than thorough.First, I am not surprised about your confusion, seeing as how you still eat eggs and dairy (that tends to be understood when people use the term vegetarian instead of vegan anymore) and you also seem not to fully comprehend Singer of the implications of his work. I suggested that you believe animals are here for us to use <>because<> you eat eggs and dairy products. If you do not, then please clarify that. The evolution of the word vegetarian to mean ovo-lacto-vegetarian has been quite confusing.As far as you saying that its ok to eat animals if they are going to die anyways, that is implied by your question, asked twice now. And, for the record, this is not about being against death in general, as it is as much a part of life as birth. It is about humans exploiting sentient beings without justification. Killing a nonhuman animal is wrong because it is immoral for us to do so. Even Singer recognized that fact, at least certainly in most cases, most of the time (mainly animals we know for sure are self-conscious beings, including most mammals, if not all). Singer has not come out in favor of rights for sentient beings and is, as you point out, a utilitarian, while this site argues for animals’ rights. So, know that you are missing the boat entirely on what AAFL is about. This site promotes animal rights from the standpoint that animals have similar interests to us that deserve protection from our trivial interests and that they will always suffer and be treated poorly, harmed, or otherwise have their interests treated as subservient to ours until they receive the right not to be our property.You can spin your wheels for centuries (the humane movement already has) and you will not see this change. Animals will continue to be used as long as they are dominated by humans. They will continue to be harmed, and no amount of welfare reform will ever end this harm, because it is physically impossible to find a point at which humans can eat the animals that they want in the quantities they want without causing suffering in the process, and killing animals for our own benefit is harm in and of itself. It is wrong not because death is avoidable in the long run, but because we are moral beings with the capability of choosing life or death for other beings, and we ought to know that it causes harms to beings to kill them, so we shouldn’t do it. And, frankly, the point is moot because humans are violating the rights of other sentient beings simply by treating them as the means to their ends anyway. You really ought to read more about the rights view, particularly Introduction to Animal Rights, Your Child or the Dog, by Gary L. Francione.<>I am a vegetarian because I believe that my enjoyment of the taste of meat is far outweighed by the treatment the animals are suffering on factory farms.<>What about the treatment of animals exploited for eggs and dairy products? If you eat these items, you must be completely ignorant about that part of the industry, because it may well be fair to say that there is more suffering in a glass of milk than in a steak. Again, exploiting the animals at all is a violation of their moral rights, but on your own terms it is wrong to use eggs and dairy products, and even your own model Singer recognizes this!<>I also do not eat free range meat, because a plant based diet is healthier than a meat based diet.<>This implies that you accept that it is permissible to breed and kill animals for our pleasure as long as they are treated well (a position rejected by rightists–is it okay to breed and kill humans for our own pleasure as long as they are treated well?) Do you know where this free range “meat” goes after it is time to leave the grass? Steers are transported hundreds, if not thousands of miles, to feedlots at factory farms. They are carried through hot and freezing climates with no food, and usually no water. They are crammed in together and forced on and off trucks, frequently with the “assistance” of handlers who use any means they can to get the animals moving. They are crammed into CAFO/factory farm conditions for the last weeks of their lives, where they are “finished” before slaughter. Then, of course, they are sent into slaughterhouses, where they are terrified by the death around them, then killed. All for no good reason, seeing as how we do not need to eat animal products to be healthy. Surely it is better to avoid eating the flesh of animals because it is unnecessary and wrong than because a plant-based diet (not necessarily vegan) can be healthier than a meat-based diet.<>So back to my original point, being how can you be against something that is inevitable? Something that can only be delayed, not eliminated.<> Death can be eliminated by not bringing animals unwillingly into the universe <>in the first place<> (you cannot kill animals that do not exist) simply so that we can treat them as property to serve our own cultural preferences, which necessarily denies their most basic interests. We should be leaving animals alone altogether.

  12. I agree with a number of your points. However, some of them I feel the need to call into question.First of all, you say we know for sure some animals are self-conscious, which includes most mammals. How do we know this for sure?And if we are moral creatures that know the right and wrong of harm, so therefore we should know better than to cause harm implies that animals are not moral creatures, so they are not bound to the same responsibilities that we have. What about humans that have no moral thoughts? Small children who haven’t developed morals yet, adults that are mentally ill and do not have the capacity for right and wrong? Do they have the ability to kill if they are not moral creatures? And since we are moral creatures and can make that decision for them, then why don’t we make the decision for other non moral creatures?How can we leave animals alone altogether? Animals live around us constantly. Animals are killed in the harvesting of food by huge combines, pesticides are not only aimed at insects, but also at other pests, such as rats and other small mammals. How do we protect their rights?

  13. Robert,You barely even understand Singer. Seriously, have you read Practical Ethics? I apologize for how impatient I may sound here and in previous posts, but this ground has been covered before, and many years ago.I mean, I don’t recommend stopping at Singer and utilitarianism, but at least know what you’re talking about if you are going to go that route. Please read Gary Francione as well, and try to think of rights as a human construct for protecting interests. If we agree that humans have interests that merit protection, then it necessarily follows that those same interests must be protected when it comes to nonhumans. Veganism means embracing those principles and seeking to abolish as much as possible one’s own contribution to the daily infraction of their rights. I am going to stop replying now, as I barely have time to write one entry a week here lately, much less try to engage in a wide-ranging, thorough discussion of your questions. I wish I had that kind of time, but I save it for local study groups, like the one I have started up in Boston through my group, the Boston Vegan Association. Once you’ve done some more reading on the matter, I think a lot of your questions will be answered.Hopefully others will jump in here to steer you a little further as well. I apologize if it seems I’m avoiding your most recent questions, but you are sort of missing the point. You are also asking a lot of questions, covering a lot of ground… This format is simply not conducive to addressing your issues efficiently. I do hope you find clarity on these issues and, most importantly, that you go vegan.

  14. Robert, I came across a FAQ at one of my other websites, and it reminded me of your comment. If you happen to return, you might find this useful:<>First of all, killing isn’t in and of itself “wrong.” For instance, euthanasia is sometimes the least inhumane way to end the suffering of another being.But humans seek to prevent moral patients of our own species (e.g., children, clinically insane people) from harming others, so, as moral agents, why shouldn’t we do the same for nonhuman moral patients? If anything, the duty to do so might be considered rather serious because predation results in death.Quite simply, predators must kill to survive; to stop them from killing is, in effect, to kill them. Beyond this, massive intervention by humans to stop predation–if it were even possible–would destroy the ecosystems upon which the biosphere depends, harming all life on earth. Animal rights theory calls for protections of animals that would actually restore the balance that we are already impacting through habitat encroachment and other human-related endangerment and extinctions.Even if we did accept that we should prevent predation, it does not follow that, because we fail to do so, we are therefore justified in exploiting moral patients ourselves. When we fail to stop the wholesale slaughter of human beings in foreign countries, this does not condone ourselves participating in such a slaughter in our our own sphere of influence. Likewise, our failure to prevent predation cannot be taken as justification for our exploitation of nonhuman animals.<>

  15. In fairness to Robert, he could have read a lot of Singer and still be confused. That’s because Singer himself advocates eating eggs and dairy in some situations (apparently ones in which Singer has found himself and needed to rationalize). Utilitarianism is an insufficient philosophy for determining moral baselines, especially because the concept of “greater good” is just that, a concept, which is subject to the whims of interpretation by those who may have an interest in interpreting it to their benefit.

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