Ben & Jerry are pissed. The FDA approved meat and dairy from cloned animals and they aren't having any of it. It's the cloned part that annoys them, not the animals slaughtered for human pleasure part. "We're beside ourselves, twice over," they say on their website, the playful pun tempering the indignation, reminding anyone with power or money who might happen to stop by their site that at heart Ben & Jerry are still a couple of fun loving sixties goofballs, so nobody should take their rant too seriously and take it out on the wildly successful businessman part of them. Never mind that. It's not the issue here. Everyone knows the story of Ben & Jerry. They made a name for themselves as countercultural stoners who made good. They're known for retaining their Chomskian views and their hemp wallets. They created the Caring Dairy initiative to convert farms to green energy. They use fair trade ingredients. They treat their workers well. I've been to their factory in Vermont. It's the biggest tourist attraction in the state. I've seen the busloads of tourists limping out of busses and up the steps on their canes to get free ice cream to supplement their obesity ... stupid wine that I'm drinking, that's not the point either. Ben & Jerry's outrage over cloned cows appears genuine, not like the statements about animal welfare on, say, the Hormel website, written by flak #478 in cubicle #4524. Ben & Jerry's "intends to tell consumers exactly what's in our ice cream and other products through truthful labels..." Truthful labels, they say. I say, hmmm. I don't want to trash Ben & Jerry. I've probably gotten stoned to the same music they have, though it's more of a retro stoned. I still spend a lot of time in Vermont. But really now, Ben, Jerry. You must know the fate of the cows that produce your ice cream. The rest of the do good philosophy plays well in the press. Brand image, as we used to say in my advertising days of hypocrisy and rationalization. But doing good has to have boundaries, doesn't it? And the thick, uncrossable boundary for Ben and Jerry is what happens to those ice cream producing cows after their ice cream days are over. If they really want labels of truth on their ice cream, they could tell people the fate of the original source of Cherry Garcia and Chunky Monkey when she stops being productive after a few years. And maybe a separate label to tell people what happens to her male offspring, how it ends up in a veal crate. You're always looking for new flavors, aren't you, Ben & Jerry? How about "Veal-nilla?" And how about one named after the dairy cows that get artificially inseminated on the rape rack? Raspberry Rape Rack. It's alliterative, just like a lot of the Ben & Jerry flavors, so it should be popular, though maybe not in the Cherry Garcia, strawberry cheesecake universe of hyper-popularity. Okay, back to the rant on their website. "Ben & Jerry's still believes every cow has a right to be herself." Up until we milk her dry and slaughter her the same way we slaughtered her son ... No, Ben & Jerry didn't say that part. That was me, rearing my editorial head. Ben & Jerry say ... ah, screw it. I'm tired and a little buzzed. I'm going to bed. But you should take a break from your rant about cloning, Ben & Jerry, and check out what happens to those ice cream producing cows of yours afterwards. If you can't make it to your local slaughterhouse, there's plenty of videos online.
Two New Essays on Open Democracy
1 month ago