animal cruelty

Yes, dairy cows are slaughtered for their meat

The main thing I find shocking about this Washington Post article on cruelty at a California slaughterhouse is that some people still think cows are not harmed in dairy production. Everything else about the story is only a surprise to people who aren’t paying attention (like those people who ask why you’re vegan and then, after a brief pause, say, “Nevermind, I don’t want to know.”)

Putting aside for a moment that so many of us have been brainwashed into believing we need to imbibe the mammary secretions of another species in order to be healthy (secretions intended for calves, not humans, mind you), there are some who justify consuming cheese and so forth because they think you don’t have to kill cows to produce milk or other dairy products.

Putting aside also that the theft of calves’ milk from their mothers is generally a very cruel and horrific experience to behold in its own right, and that the abduction of calves from their mothers after less than 72 hours is traumatizing to both parties (especially the calf, who is typically treated worse than his mother for an even shorter period of time before being killed and sold as veal)…

Putting all that aside, after a cow’s “productivity” decreases to the point that she is no longer a valued profit center (at 4-5 years, well short of her total lifespan), she is crammed into a transport truck with other cows and shipped hundreds and hundreds of miles to a place like this (video), where she is killed and chopped up into products like hamburger, so that the “producer” can squeeze every last cent out of her. When you treat living beings as things–as commodities–cruelty is not only inevitable, it is inseparable. The only way to avoid contributing to this suffering is to take the exploitation out of your own choices by going vegan.

There are, as in many cases these days, comments below the article. There you can read with incomprehension the sheer inhumanity with which some people regard nonhuman animals and, should you choose to register, weigh in with your own thoughts as to the remedy for this appalling human activity.

Update: Workers fired, plant suspended, no one questions whether it’s acceptable to exploit animals in the first place.

Do I hear an echo?

Today we’ve got no less than two opinion pieces pointing out the “moral schizophrenia” or hypocrisy of condemning Michael Vick for dog fighting while continuing to eat the flesh and other products derived from animals. The first linked below is from an avowed meat-eater, while the other is from vegan animal rights advocate Gary L. Francione: Animal Cruelty Isn’t Judged on a Level Playing Field We’re all Michael Vick

Of course, Courtland Milloy treads water, briefly touching on this conflict, teetering on an epiphany, but ultimately preferring to ponder why Michael Vick is being hit so hard with these charges, which seems kind of backward to me, especially given public sentiment. At least we can count on Gary Francione to expose the connection between cruelty to dogs and cruelty to animals typically considered food (which, lest we forget, includes dogs in certain other countries, as well as horses and so on, further highlighting the arbitrary absurdity).

Two opinions in major city papers drawing attention to this connection in one day. That’s what I call a nice day.