Letter published by WaPo in re: Whole Foods rating system expose article

Nice to get one like this out there in the public eye.

Rating degrees of animal cruelty is the wrong metric

November 29

The Nov. 27 Economy & Business article “Whole Foods turkeys treated inhumanely, animal activists say,” focused on “humane” use of animals as an empirical matter (i.e., can we, practically speaking, provide humane treatment to animal property?), as do many articles on the plight of animals used for human pleasure and convenience. But it failed to question the underlying assumption that it is acceptable to use animals at all. All animals are sentient beings, self-aware and sensate, and so we are obligated to not cause them unnecessary harm. This is the opposite of exploiting them for food, clothing and entertainment, for which any number of harms are routinely inflicted for the sake of “proper” use of the animal, even in the most “humane” operations.

Once we understand that we have no moral justification for putting animals into situations in which the harms we cause them can be graded on a level of severity, we may finally begin to regard animals as members of the moral community and accord them the respect they deserve not to be used as our things in the first place. That starts by going vegan, not by purchasing animal parts highly rated by Whole Foods.

Eric Prescott, Jamaica Plain, Mass.

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.