Thursday, October 30, 2008
The headline of an opinion piece by Bonnie Erbe in US News & World Report says, "California cruelty could be cured by Prop 2." Just like all the "progressive" bloggers I read, she thinks Prop 2 is a great and enlightened thing. "It's one of the most important social issues of our time," she says breathlessly. I think I see her point. When progressives socialize, they eat. When they eat, they talk. When they talk, they showcase their social consciences. But it's hard to showcase your social conscience while eating the flesh of a chicken who spent its brief miserable existence jammed in a tiny cage, its beak cut off with a hot blade, just so you could enjoy a hearty dinner. So what's a good progressive to do? They could swear from that moment forth to give up consuming the flesh of chicken and all other animals. But chicken tastes so darn good. And, besides, how can anyone be expected to punctuate a bon mot or a withering political observation with a bite of tempeh? No. Progressives need their chicken. So they move on to option number two. Make the cages bigger. That's it. Write a proposition and put it on the ballot. We demand bigger cages for the chickens. We demand that they have a few extra feet to move around in before their necks are slit open for our benefit. Now that the righteous indignation of the progressives has been codified in a proposition and the proposition's been put on the ballot, they need a good enemy. How about the malevolent corporations? These greedy money grubbers dare to keep the cages the same size? First Haliburton and now this! The righteous fury of the progressives is turned on full blast. They write op-ed columns. They denounce with fury. They sign petitions. They comment on blogs. The progressives will never rest until the chickens can take three more steps before smacking into the side of the cage during their still-brief, still-horrific life before the slaughter. Bonnie Erbe notes in her article that Prop 2 is passing by a margin of 7 to 1. "It's enough to restore one's faith in humanity," she says. No doubt she made that very same observation to a table full of fellow progressives while enjoying the most fabulous chicken cordon bleu imaginable. And then the progressives all proceeded as one to raise their glasses of merlot in a toast to the animals.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Is this thing on? How you all doing tonight? Got a nice, juicy bacon cheeseburger? Good. I'm the guy responsible for the bacon part of it. So the other day, one of those animal rights activists asked me if I saw the undercover videos of what goes on in our factory farms, you know, the ones where the hogs keep getting shoved alive into boiling water. Yeah, I told her, I saw those videos. I see 'em every day after work. The entire staff gets together with a bowl of popcorn. Hormel's funniest hog videos. Beats the heck out of a water skiing squirrel, that's for sure. Ha ha ha! Thank you! So, anyway, the activist starts yapping about how cruel it is to confine a hog in a crate so small he can't even turn around. What are you talking about, sister, I says to her, if the hog had space to turn around he'd see the other hogs getting their throats sliced open and that would traumatize the poor hog. We're very sensitive people at Hormel. We don't to upset the poor little hog before we slaughter it! Thank you, you guys are great! Anyway, then this activist starts talking some more about the hog getting dumped in boiling water while it's still alive. I says, that again? You sure like to beat a dead hog, i mean horse. H But seriously. All this fuss about a few hogs. The activist tells me hogs feel pain and they're smart too. She's right, hogs are smart. It's the hog loving people who are stupid. We tell these people we adhere to animal welfare guidelines. But who sets those guidelines? The Pork Council. That's us, numbnuts. We're the ones who dip them in boiling water and you trust us to set our own animal welfare guidelines? You're right, compared to people, these hogs are a bunch of Einsteins. Thank you! Thank you very much. I'll be appearing live -- which is more than I can say for the hogs, ha ha ha -- I'll be appearing live at Taco Bell next week. Thank you, I love you!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Some animal welfare organizations claim victory when they pressure companies like McDonald's into agreeing to adhere to animal welfare guidelines. They herald the victory with big, splashy mailers accompanied by solicitations for money to help them keep fighting the good fight. The animal welfare guidelines they pressure companies into complying with are obviously set by well-respected animal advocacy organizations that have the animals' best interest at heart, right? Let's see. How about Jack-in-the-Box restaurants. They say on their website:
Animal welfare guidelines and protocol for pork and beef suppliers established by the National Pork Board and the American Meat Institute.Animal welfare guidelines and protocol for the poultry industry established by the National Chicken Council, the National Turkey Federation and the United Egg Producers.Animal welfare guidelines and protocol for dairy cattle established by the International Dairy Foods Association and the National Milk Producers Federation.
The only groups missing from this honor roll of animal advocacy organizations are the Association of Malfunctioning Throat Cutting Machines, the Institute of Sadistic Factory Farm Workers who Shove Still-living Hogs in Boiling Water for Pleasure and the Federation of Captive Bolt Stunners.
It's good to know that the National Milk Producers, the International Dairy Foods Association, the United Egg Producers, the National Turkey Federation, the National Chicken Council, the National Pork Board and the American Meat Institute are out there on the front lines, fighting to protect animals from the savagery of factory farms. How can I contribute money to the cause?
My friend who lives in Michigan told me her neighbor Dave asked if her her cat could come over and kill a chipmunk that's been bugging him. Bugging him? Bugging him how? Cursing at him? Calling him names? Telling lame jokes? Playing its music late and loud the way Dave does? No, apparently this chipmunk's been "digging holes." And these holes are "eyesores." So a guy who keeps a rusted lawn mower in his back yard and leaves his garbage cans on the street most of the week so the trash blows out and gets snagged by his neighbors' shrubs says a little chipmunk hole is an eyesore. And he wants that chipmunk killed because of it. He's an avid deer hunter so he'd probably do it himself if it weren't beneath him to kill anything he can't mount on his wall. But what's the big surprise here anyway? We're people, they're just animals -- ours to consume, test products on, kill for sport and kill because they "bug us."
Saturday, October 25, 2008
There's a musician who has a website with an encyclopedic list of oxymorons. He thought he had them all covered, from the George Carlin-made-famous military intelligence and jumbo shrimp to more obscure ones like job security and double solitaire. But his list was incomplete. He'd overlooked one created by a mind-numbingly twisted world that's set aside a place where living beings are herded and shoved into cages and starved and abused until, with eyes as full of terror and comprehension as any self-deifying human could ever be when confronted with the final moment, their lives are torn away from them. It's this dark and cursed place, the factory farm, that provides us with an oxymoron which i passed along to the musician with the website. He said it was a new one and added it to his list. Humane slaughter.
Friday, October 24, 2008
According to Franchise Pundit...
KFC is shifting its design strategy to go more upscale ... hard plastic seating, bright primary colors and old menu boards have been replaced with high, open ceilings, glazed tile floors, padded booth seating, upscale tables and chairs -- all in a Tuscan color scheme of gold, rust, blue and brick red.
KFC is also concerned about the comfort and well-being of the chickens on their way to slaughter, so they've added a new set of poultry welfare guidelines:
KFC recommends that there be no crate damage that would allow injury to birds ... transport crates should not be over-filled and enough space should be provided to allow all birds to lie down.
KFC wants to be sure the birds are not only injury-free, but also well-rested, a peaceful little utopia in a crate, before they get electrically stunned and slaughtered. Are the crates KFC uses to transport the well-rested chickens also done up in a Tuscan color scheme of gold, rust, blue and brick red? The KFC poultry welfare guidelines don't specify. But back to the exciting new interiors of the KFC restaurants.
With inflation, we're asking people to spend more money on food and we want to give them the environment they want. We want it to be a nice experience for them.
As a committed advocate of the humane treatment of animals, KFC has also enhanced the experience of the chickens.
Our suppliers' stunning equipment should be maintained to confirm that birds are insensible prior to slaughter, and the time between stunning and slaughter should be limited to minimize any likelihood that a bird may regain consciousness prior to slaughter.
Nicer, more upscale restaurants, state-of-the-art stunning equipment, a color revamped menu board above the service counter, properly maintained slaughter equipment to confirm the birds are slaughtered quickly. Looks like the colonel is working overtime to improve the KFC experience for everyone! Life really does taste better at KFC!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
I was reading through a popular "progressive" blog. There was a post on the campaigns for and against prop 2. One of the commenters wrote...
Dude, you should put warnings on those videos. That's upsetting stuff. Also, is there a link to where you can donate to the Prop 2 campaign?
Dude sees the upsetting Prop 2 videos, dude wants to take action, so dude donates money to support prop 2, which, dude, will only give the animals you saw in the video a couple extra feet to move around in. Their lives will still be the same as in the video and worse, a thousand times worse, dude, because people who make prop 2 videos know a dude can only stomach so much bad shit. Dude, screaming, blood, slow death, bad shit like that, dude, and for what, dude, so you and other dudes can chow down. So, dude, if that video upsets you, don't donate money to prop 2, it does nothing. Stop eating meat, stop eating dairy. Today, dude, today. Otherwise, Dude, you're not watching what happens to those animals you saw in the video, you're doing it to them.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Corporations are notoriously cautious about doing or saying anything that could be construed as controversial, so you might think fast food restaurants would want to steer clear of commercials that made a connection between their food and the slaughter of animals. Guess again. Chik-fil-a has turned animal slaughter into a gag by creating cartoon cows that try to save themselves from the slaughterhouse by going around and encouraging people to eat "chikin" instead of beef. The campaign uses Holstein dairy cows instead of steer because, in the company's words, Hosteins are "more lovable than other cows." These lovable, goofball cows have one madcap adventure after another. In one commercial, a cow jumps onto a passing minivan and steals the occupants' bags of burgers. In another, the cows parachute into a college football game and attack the hamburger vendor. That chik-fil-a is willing to treat animal slaughter as a comic premise for their advertising shows that they think there's very little public sensitivity to the cruelty of factory farms. Sadly, they're probably right. The cows have been turned into plush toys, mouse pads, jackets, etc. They even won an award for favorite icon of 2007.
Monday, October 20, 2008
There was an article today about a team of Japanese adventurers who took photos of what they claim are the footprints of a yeti. Here's the perfect opportunity for Sarah Palin to re-claim her hold over the country. An American politician's popularity is directly proportional to the size of animal they shoot. So why claim she's a mere moose hunter? It's time for the McCain campaign to start circulating photos of Sarah Palin posing in front of the bloody carcass of a yeti. Americans would swoon. And if they really want to re-ignite the campaign, they can embellish the story even more. After Sarah Palin brought down the yeti with a single shot, her husband, Todd, strapped the carcass to the hood of his snowmobile and they sped across hundreds of miles of Alaskan wilderness, stopping periodically to drill for oil and make sure no Russian planes were crossing into American air space, and still made it back home to Wasilla in time to ban a few books from the library and cook up a big family dinner. How could America possibly keep someone like that out of the White House?
Sunday, October 19, 2008
You can't watch a Sunday football game on TV without them at some point cutting to the obligatory shot of pre-game tailgaters while John Madden orgiastically salivates over the seared, fat-dripping globs of meat and tells us when bratwurst is cooking up on the grill, all is right with the world. I wish just once they'd find a group of vegan tailgaters cooking up boca burgers and veggie does, tofurkey beerbrats and kielbasa. John Madden would be struck dumb. The network would field furious calls from attorneys representing the pork council, Jimmy Dean would cancel their advertising buy and lot of viewers would think the long-awaited apocalypse had finally arrived. But what if they did find some vegan tailgaters and the announcers said something like, "Check out that tofurkey foot long veggie dog. Mmm, I wish I were down there with those folks." "You have the foot long veggie dog, me, I'm gong for the Boca burger. In fact, make it two." "You've got plenty of room for two." "Alright, folks, enjoy the game and keep eating vegan, you're saving a lot of animals' lives." "Right you are, Bob, if everyone stopped consuming animal products, do you know how much less suffering there'd be in the world?" That would be a pretty cool tailgating party to see.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
"No, silly, we ducks are too small to get shackled and hoisted upside-down before our necks are slit like you cows. Let me explain how it works. First off, we're stunned electrically. After our throats are cut and we're bled, we're scalded to facilitate removal of our large feathers. To remove our pinfeathers, we're dipped in paraffin wax. Down and feathers, which humans consider a very valuable by-product of the duck and goose industry, are sorted at another facility. Does all that make sense? Wow, it's such a nice day. Do you think the photographer's getting the poses he wants from us?"
Some more happy cows here.
Friday, October 17, 2008
The final draft:
Beef and pork suppliersTransporting and unloadingAnimals should be transported in a manner that promotes good health and condition, including adequate protection from inclement weather and sufficient area for movement.Trailers should be cleaned regularly.Animals should be allowed to rest following unloading, and the unloading area must be in good condition, free of broken gates, sharp edges or other impairments that could cause injury.
The rough draft:
These piece of crap lawmakers who don't care about these animals any more than we do need some animal welfare policy to show off to all the grandmas with kitties in their district so they forced us into this p.r. bullshit about so-called humane treatment we all know we have no intention of following. These god forsaken animals caused this headache in the first place, so take it out on them. I mean sure you probably want to smack the lawmakers or the old ladies with kitties, but that's not feasible so just smack the animals around a little extra. Don't worry if some of them don't make it, we've already accounted for that. Oh, check it out when it gets really hot outside. The animals have a hard time breathing. The way they snort for breath, it's so cool, it sounds like a giant fart! So enjoy the ride, guys. Oh, almost forgot the unloading policy. Following unloading, the unloading area, if possible, must be filled with broken gates, sharp edges or other impairments that could cause injury. Use the impairments to poke or prod, whack over the head or abuse in any way that you see fit.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
"Animals are my friends and I don't eat my friends."
--George Bernard Shaw, playwright
"The soul is the same in all living creatures, although the body of each is different."
"Pork producers are the best ambassadors for animal welfare in the United States. They set the standard and do everything they can to make sure their animals have the best animal welfare."
---Daryl Olson, Swine Veterenarian, Hormel Foods
(Hormel literature, not normally given to satire or irony, says Daryl "loves animals and takes pride in producing top quality, healthy hogs.")
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Humane Society Public Health Director supports Prop 2 because it improves health of people who eat animals
Dr. Michael Gerger, Director of Public Health and Agriculture for the Humane Society, wrote an op-ed piece in support of Prop 2 for the Santa Barbara New-Press bursting with righteous indignation. Agribusiness should be hanging its head in shame, he says, because they're propagating false claims that put peoples' health at risk. A meat plant in Chino was "routinely risking the health of children by torturing potentially ill downed cows to try to get animals who couldn't even stand or walk on their own in the National School Lunch Program." Apparently, torturing downed cows is a bad thing to do if it affects human health. He goes on to say "people who ate eggs from caged hens were 250 percent more likely to be poisoned by salmonella." It seems to me if there's any health being put at risk, it's the health of animals packed into suffocating train cars then stuck in a tiny cage until it's time to get bolt stunned and hoisted upside-down so they can have their necks sliced open or, in the case of hens, ground up in machines while they're still alive. Does the Humane Society public health director have any righteous indignation left over for them? Yes, he does. He believes they should have some extra room to stretch their legs before they're slaughtered. So while we're on the subject of people hanging their heads in shame, how about the people whose desire for meat created agri-business in the first place?
Monday, October 13, 2008
Your double flesh from carcass of brutalized animal with cheese is ready. Please pull up to the window
If only there were a law requiring restaurants to be a little more descriptive about their menu items.
"Can I take your order?"
"Yeah, gimme a bacon double cheeseburger."
"That would be two gouged out chunks of seared flesh from the carcass of a steer that was jammed into a train car filled with starving, terrified animals and taken to the place where he was shackled, bolt stunned, hoisted upside-down and had his throat cut while he was still living, topped with plump, juicy tomatoes, two strips of flesh from a pig that was similarly brutalized and a slice of real American cheese that came from a cow injected with hormones than slaughtered the moment her milk production became less efficient, all on a toasted bun. Please pull up to the window."
Sunday, October 12, 2008
The king has bad dreams at night. Animals screaming. Blood. The king doesn't like feeling bad. He likes feeling good. Does the king creep you out? He creeps himself out too. The king manipulates people into buying his things but the king is fine with that. It's those dreams. The king doesn't like those dreams. The king doesn't want to know what happens at factory farms. PETA sent the king a nasty letter. The king doesn't like nasty letters. He likes cool letters. From cool people who eat his food. The nasty letter accused Burger King of not agreeing to abide by McDonald's animal welfare guidelines. Animal welfare guidelines? McConald's? The king knows irony when he sees it. The king is ironic himself. That's how the king gets people to buy his things. By being ironic. And cool. But now the king has dreams. Bad ones. And he doesn't know what to do about it.
Saturday, October 11, 2008
I looked at the Whole Foods website where they talk about the meats they offer:
We offer organic meats, raised humanely and processed with a measure of compassion, custom cut to your specification when you want it ... it's all about quality and freshness and caring -- farmers and ranchers caring about the welfare of the animal, processors caring about the quality of the product, and our butchers caring about you.
"A measure of compassion." They realize the act of brutally killing a young animal doesn't fit the standard dictionary definition of compassion, so they hedge and claim, not actual compassion, but partial compassion, a measure of compassion, in their words. Next up, they talk about the "farmers and ranchers caring about the welfare of the animal." What are we supposed to make of this? Maybe Whole Foods is saying, "Hey, we just got through acknowledging there's only a measure of compassion in the way we treat animals, what more do you want from us?" Maybe they think that little bit of forthrightness earned them the right to go back to the preposterous untruths they offered up in the previous sentence when they claimed animals were "raised humanely." Another possibility is they meant the farmers and ranchers care about the welfare of the animal in the sense that they know if they take steps to make it appear that they treat the animal well, pre-slaughter, i.e. meet the standards of "free range," they can charge a premium. Or maybe the farmers and ranchers care that animal welfare has become more of an issue and videos of their animal abuse end up on Youtube. Final possibility: maybe it was just a typo. Whole Foods wrote "caring" when they meant to write "carrying," as in carrying the terrified animal to the place of slaughter.
Whole Foods. Selling the highest quality natuaral and organic products.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Back in my days of hypocrisy and rationalization when I worked on several different major fast food accounts, advertising people periodically presented commercials to the client that ridiculed vegetarians. I'm not sure why. Maybe they thought that was a good way of getting on the good side of the client who, presumably, despised everyone who rejected their products, doubly so if they rejected them for moral reasons. A typical TV script would be about a meeting of the vegetarian society, whose members were usually dressed up like stock characters from a sixties love-in. They'd sit in a circle and the fast food spokesman would enter the room, carrying a basket overflowing with alfalfa sprouts and say something like, "Greetings, my folk singing, far out and famished vegetarian brothers and sisters." The vegetarians' eyes would light up and they'd make room for the spokesman in their circle. Little would they know, hidden under the forest of alfalfa sprouts was a load of burgers, enough for everyone. "Tune in, turn on, chow down," the spokesman would say, which really made no sense because very few people in the current fast food demographic would catch the Timothy Leary reference. The initially horrified vegetarians couldn't resist the smell. They'd become instant converts, ripping the wrappers off and chowing down like a bunch of drunken frat brothers. They'd want more. "The drive-thru lane is still open," a Joan Baez look-alike would say and they'd all pile into a VW van. One of them would rip the "Don't eat animals, love them" bumper sticker off the back while another replaced it with a styrofoam antenna ball from the fast food restaurant. "Cool," one of them would say, "It's not recyclable." Usually a spot like this would be good for a few guffaws and the client would move on to other spots, but every so often one of them would get produced.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
"I'm a creationist. I believe the world was created in seven days. Boy, that Mathuselah -- even at age nine hundred sixty he didn't look a day over two hundred."
"Okay, I respect your belief."
"Not only is Elvis still alive, he's working on a new album. I heard one of the songs playing in my dental fillings."
"I suppose that's possible."
"I was abducted by aliens. They were playing a game of pick-up football on the planet Zeltron and they were short a man. I scored the winning touchdown and they poured a bucket of Tooka Juice, which is the Zeltronian version of Gatorade, over my head in celebration."
"Stranger things have happened."
"I'm a vegan. I don't consume any animal products."
"Are you insane? What a whacko nut job!"
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
As governor, Sarah Palin sued the Interior Department on Alaska's behalf to get polar bears taken off the endangered species list, claiming it cripples oil and gas development in sensitive areas. In her VP debate, she grudgingly acknowledged that global warming exists but said she didn't know what causes it. All she needs to do now is complete the circle. Blame global warming on the polar bears. Her supporters will eat it up. Those selfish, wasteful polar bears. It's bad enough that their presence keeps us from heeding Sarah Palin's calls to "drill, baby, drill." Now it turns out, on top of that, they're responsible for a crisis that threatens the future of the planet? And we're protecting them? They'll be scatched off the endangered species list in less time than it takes Sarah Palin to construct a complete sentence. Then she can tell the people she encourages to shoot wolves from airplanes to bag a few polar bears while they're at it. And once the polar bears are gone, there won't be any more excuses not to drill, baby, drill.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Tolstoy, one of the most clear-eyed observers of humanity ever, once wrote that mankind is
"passing more and more from carnivorous habits to vegetable food, and is also deliberately following the same path in a movement which shows evident strength, and which is growing larger and larger -- viz. vegetarianism. That movement has during the last ten years advanced more and more rapidly. More and more books and periodicals on this subject appear every year; one meets more and more people who have given up meat..."
Da Vinci also predicted a moral progression.
"The time will come when men such as I shall look upon the murder of animals as they know look upon the murder of men."
Two of the great geniuses of history both believed, over time, the moral evolution of man would eventually lead to the renunciation of slaughtering animals for human consumption and pleasure. But it hasn't gotten any better for animals since Tolstoy and Da Vinci recorded their hopes. Today, people still unthinkingly, sometimes eagerly, inflict unimaginable pain on living creatures just so they can enjoy a tasty meal, a bathroom drawer full of personal hygiene products or, in the case of hunting, an amusing pastime. What led Tolstoy and Da Vinci to think things would improve for animals? Maybe they were so horrified by their contemporaries' mistreatment of animals that their only recourse was to imagine a slow but inevitable moral progression. Or maybe they were deluded by the awareness of their own genius. They knew they were far ahead of their time artistically, intellectually and, it stood to reason, morally, too. The truth about the evil of killing animals was self-evident to them, and they assumed it would one day be just as self-evident to all of mankind. Unfortunately, it hasn't worked out that way.
Monday, October 6, 2008
Why does Sarah Palin enthusiastically support the shooting of wolves from airplanes? Because wolves kill moose and caribou to survive. Which deprives people like Sarah Palin of the pleasure of killing them for sport.
Sunday, October 5, 2008
When supporters of Governor Sarah Palin talk about the things they find so refreshing about her, moose hunter is at the top of their lists. They're charmed that here is a woman who doesn't merely kill run-of-the-mill animals like deer, but exotic animals like moose and wolves. What a breath of fresh air! My imaginary interview with a Republican pollster helped me better understand her appeal.
RFFM: Sarah Palin's numbers might be tailing off now, but when she was first introduced to the country, people were really taken with the idea of a moose hunter from Alaska. We all saw the photo of her standing over the moose she just killed.
POLLSTER: Well, if there'd been a picture of her posing over a more commonplace animal carcass it wouldn't have been that big of a deal. I've found the bounce in the polls is directly proportional to the kind of animal you kill. If she'd shot a little rodent, you wouldn't have seen much of a bounce at all. It actually might have harmed the McCain/Palin ticket. Deer -- that's good for a couple points a best, since deer hunting is very common and Americans are thirsting for a change this election. Birds are harder to asses. They're smaller, true, but oftentimes it takes more skill to bring one down. But big mammals like wolf and caribou means you get a big bounce in the polls.
RFFM: But there must be some people out there turned off by the idea of someone killing a moose for sport.
POLLSTER: Oh, you're talking about the jealousy factor -- people who, through no fault of their own, never get a chance to bring down a moose or wolf. It's true, Americans are egalitarians. We like an even playing field. Most of us never get a chance to kill an exotic animal like a moose. And on top of that, she gets to kill wolves from an airplane, whereas most of us have to do our killing from the ground. But what you have to realize is Americans are a very forgiving people. We accept that not everybody has the same opportunities and we don't hold her good fortune against her.
RFFM: I meant some people would be turned off that someone would derive pleasure from inflicting horrible pain to an innocent animal, any innocent animal.
POLLSTER: Sorry, I'm not following.
RFFM: Why kill the moose? Why kill the wolves?
POLLSTER: Why do you think God put them on earth? It's all written down in the Bible. It's also in the second amendment, which God handed down to Moses while he was out shooting desert fox.