Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Hormel: 2008 food processor of the year

The old cliche about people looking like their dogs seems to have taken a morbid twist:  the two executives on either end resemble the many millions of hogs they've butchered.   

Senior VP at far left  -- Beefy hand at side barely uclenches in time for the photo.  It may have sounded like drink-propelled friendly banter floating over from the Tyson Chicken table, all that talk about how they could process a dozen chickens in the time it took the slowpokes from Hormel to process a single hog, but, ha, the words "the award goes to Hormel" wiped the smug grins off the faces of those punk ass chicken processors pretty fast.

Senior VP, second from left --   He gives powerpoints to full auditoriums every week so why tonight of all nights did he have to freeze like a mummified corpse?  He sneaks a sidelong glance at his flush faced compatriot at the far end grinning and leering like receiving an award like this is second nature to him.  He knows this guy will be full of drunken bluster at all the after-hours parties, claiming more than his share of the credit

Senior VP, center right.  Scholarly glasses, pasty fluorescent light complexion, aw shucks smile.  A portrait of modesty and deference but don't believe it for a second.  He's got both hands on the trophy and he doesn't plan on letting go.  He's the one who burned the midnight oil making sure those incidents at the suppliers' farms got buried in the press and weren't legally actionable.

Senior VP, far right.  Cheeks flushed hog blood red from all the pre-ceremony booze.  Mussed up hair from the group bear hug after the award was announced.  Doing his best to suppress the full-throated victory howl.  Spots the waiter at the table putting down a fresh gin and tonic.  Good man.  slip him a fiver on the way out.  Dreaming up sexually charged quips for the gals at the post award show parties.

How about the trophy itself?  Is it a replica of the blade that slits the necks?  No, it seems to be a Q for Quality.

Hormel's Austin plant alone slaughters 19,000 hogs per day.  Processes.  Not slaughters, processes.  Slaughter connotes judgment and we don't want to judge these jubilant executives on their big night.  It wasn't just the numbers that earned Hormel this award.  The year was filled with product innovations.  The new Natural Choice line of sandwich and deli meats was so successful it left Hormel executives grasping wildly for the appropriate sports metaphors.  CEO Jeffrey Ettinger called it his "rookie of the year."

Hormel deserves this award.  They really do.  Look at the faces of these four executives and you won't see the tiniest hint of self-doubt or remorse.  It's no small feat, this total absence of compassion for the suffering of fellow creatures, even after the video documentation of the unimaginable abuse these hogs endure in their brief, terrible lives.  Some people, when confronted with their complicity in this horror, would fall to their knees begging forgiveness, but Hormel blithely states on their website
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.
This ability to completely repress compassion for the suffering of others is surely a rare achievement.  Each and every Hormel employee deserves to share in the award.  And they will.  The trophy held up in the photo by the proud executives is by now resting securely in Hormel headquarters, encased in glass in some place of honor, where the thousands of Hormel employees can walk by it and share in the thrill of achievement.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Fresh, ethically slaughtered chicken, aisle three!

The image greeting us on the Good Earth Natural Foods website is three hands supporting a globe.  Black hands and white hands, touching.  This is not your father's racist, oppressive corporation.
You won't find us listed on the New York Stock Exchange, nor are we going to open a store in neighborhoods all over the planet.
Not because those punks at Whole Foods beat them to the punch and became the health food darling of Wall Street and sucked up all the good real estate.  No, it's because Good Earth Natural Foods wants it that way.  They're not about expansion and profits.  Unlike all those companies ruled by greed and cruelty and the unrelenting pursuit of profit, Good Earth Natural Foods lives by higher principles...
We simply want to sell our customers food grown and processed using the radical but ancient concept, care.
Some of that food, e.g. chicken and turkey, is grown and processed using the radical but ancient concept of attaching so little value to another life that you can justify killing it so you can have a tasty meal or make money selling it to others who want a tasty meal.  Stop.  It is SO divisive to point out such tiny inconsistencies.  So much negative energy and Good Earth Natural Foods is all about positive energy.  Anyway they didn't specify what they meant by care.  They didn't say they cared about the lives of non-human animals.  Maybe they meant they cared about cultivating the image of the caring store, which is a very profitable brand positioning, just ask Whole Foods, those bastards, with their ticker symbol (WFM) and stores all over the planet, a planet they don't care about a fraction as much as Good Earth Natural Foods.  Shit.  Here I go projecting my cynical, divisive thoughts onto Good Earth Natural Foods.  Back to their website then...
Often care takes a backseat to the pursuit of the almighty dollar.  We feel that is wrong and shortsighted ... We always endeavor to remember that food contains spirit.
Huh?  What kind of scented candle smoke were you guys inhaling when you came up with that one?  We always endeavor to remember that food contains spirit?  Okay, well endeavor to remember this:  some of that food was a combination of body and spirit until you slaughtered the body part.  But I guess the gentle folks at Good Earth Natural Foods are okay with this.  Using the radical but ancient concept known as hypocrisy, they're able to slaughter animals while at the same time pontificating about "fresh, ethical products" and care never taking a backseat to the almighty dollar.

BTW, there's a help wanted section on their site.  Good Earth Natural Foods is looking for a fish and poultry worker.
to provide customers with fantastic service ... while ensuring that they receive a fresh, ethical product.  Our fish is ethically harvested and not farm raised.
This is kind of a head scratcher.  Maybe they mean it's unethical to kill fish raised for human consumption but kill them in their natural habitat and everything's cool.  And what are we to make of fresh, ethical turkey and chicken products?  I've read a fair amount of ethics.  Maybe I was always distracted just when I got to the part about the perfectibility of the soul through slaughter.  But forget that.  Their audacity wipes away all their sins.  Hormel, Tyson and the other big boys lie about the humane treatment of their animals prior to slaughter, but even with entire PR agencies at their disposal, they never go so far as to claim the act of slaughter itself is an ethical act.  The HOrmel PR people would bow down at the feet of Good Earth Natural Foods.  Teach us, oh masters, our lies are unworthy.  Impart your wisdom to us, your imperfect servants.

The help wanted ad continues...
We do not sell fresh red meat but we do provide organic, hormone-free and anti biotic-free chicken and turkey products.
i.e., we are too ethical to serve red meat.  But chicken and turkeys, screw 'em.  We only got room for so much ethics.  What do you want from us?  Didn't you see our photo on our website of black hands and white hands holding up the globe?  That's multi-culturalism and environmentalism in one fell swoop, pal!  We have recipes for entrees like Zen Stew in our healthy living section.  We even have a wellness center on the premises.  (human wellness, not chicken or turkey wellness)  So don't go talking to us about our little ethical lapses just because we take a short break from boasting about our refined ethics to slaughter a few turkeys and chickens.

It's a very strange ethical system they got going on at Good Earth Natural Foods.  Kill some animals but not others.  Take credit for the ones you don't kill.  The ones you do kill, take credit for not pumping them full of hormones and anti-biotics before you kill them then make the wild claim that this killing somehow results in an "ethical product."

All I can say is you guys at Good Earth Natural Foods are the coolest kind of hypocrites.  Anybody can violate their stated principles.  But not many are brazen enough to claim the violation of those principles is an ethical act in itself.

Monday, December 22, 2008

The "Animal Compassionate Standards" of Whole Foods

Every company that sells animal products now has a section on their website about their commitment to the humane treatment of the soon-to-be slaughtered animals.  At companies like Hormel, at least, these statements are tempered by the subtext of teeth gritted as they feign concern for the well-being of the animals, laughter suppressed as they wonder how anyone could possibly fall for their trumped up indignation over the undercover videos of hog abuse at their suppliers' farms.  All their talk about humane treatment is a PR necessity forced upon them, and it's pretty evident they want to lash out and strike the people responsible for making them do it.

But then you've got companies like Wild Oats and Whole Foods, who actually seem to believe what they're saying.  When they talk about humane treatment, you can practically see the conviction glittering in their eyes.
We have also been working on species specific Animal Compassionate Standards which require environments and conditions that support the animals' physical, emotional and behavioral needs to an even higher level.
"to an even higher level," implication being the level was already pretty darn high to begin with.  I'm still not quite grasping the concept of how slaughter meets the animals' physical, emotional and behavioral needs, though I do see how it meets the pecuniary needs of Whole Foods executives and shareholders.  Now we get to the kicker.
Although no producers have met these standards yet, many are exploring the opportunity.
Say what?  I believe "exploring the opportunity" is PR speak for although no producers have met these standards yet, many have told us, fuck no, are you fucking nuts?  Hog farmers exploring the opportunity to treat the hogs with compassion?  What's next, PR executives exploring the opportunity of telling the truth?

So how about the piglets?  What does the Whole Foods Animal Compassionate Standards have to offer them?
Although at this time there are few alternatives to blunt trauma for piglets, there is research being conducted to develop more humane euthanasia possibilities.  Whole Foods will stay abreast of these developments and when there are viable alternatives, investigate them to determine whether they should be added to our Animal Compassionate Standards.
Few alternatives to blunt trauma (stun bolt to cranium) for piglets?  Here's one alternative:  no blunt trauma.  No captive bolt stun guns, no shackling and hoisting, no blades.  Sending them to a farm sanctuary.  Now that would be animal compassionate. Well, that's just being ornery.  I know what they meant.  Few alternatives within the more narrow confines of slaughter methodology.   When an alternative method of acceptable slaughter is finally discovered, you'd think maybe that proverbial light would go on over their heads.  Did we maybe choose an inappropriate name for our standards?  Compassion and slaughter seem kind of, I don't know, like total opposites.  Should we go back to PR and have them do another brainstorming session?  Tell them to come up with something more believable, like our animal savagery standards or our horrific butcheries standards?

You guys at Whole Foods have no animal compassionate standards.  You subject animals to a life of misery and then you kill them.  If your strict adherence to your corporate brand image as good global citizen forces you to feign concern for the animals you slaughter, at least have the integrity to follow the lead of the people at Hormel and Tyson and tell us your PR lies through gritted teeth, with fists clenched and nostrils flaring.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A mentoring conversation in the marketing department of Whole Foods

-- So people are really falling for this whole humane treatment thing?
-- Four words.  Sales through the roof.
-- How come my personal lies never work this well?  Tell my wife I'm working late, busted.  Tell friends I can't come to their party because I'm out of town, busted.
-- Because your personal lies never benefit anyone but you.  Our humane treatment lie benefits us and our customers.
-- Explain.
-- People like thinking of themselves as morally superior to the people around them.  At Whole Foods, we tend to attract politically progressive customers who think what makes them morally superior is their concern for the planet and the less fortunate, which of course includes animals.  They despise people like the tailgating gluttons at football games, howling and waving their slabs of meat at the camera, because these tailgating gluttons couldn't care less about the suffering of the animals they eat.
-- But aren't the animals the progressives eat brutalized and slaughtered just like the animals eaten by the tailgating gluttons?
-- Exactly.  So the progressives try convincing themselves that unlike those tailgating gluttons, they feel guilty about causing animals to suffer and die.  But for some progressives this sense of guilt alone isn't enough.  They still can't in good conscience feel morally superior to the tailgating gluttons.
-- And that's where humane treatment comes in?
-- Precisely.  Our progressive shoppers can tell themselves they're willing to buy humanely treated free range chicken from Whole Foods for double the price.  Only someone with a highly developed sense of justice and sympathy for the plight of the weak would spend so much more than they had to to make sure the chicken had a happy, carefree pre-slaughter life.  Now these progressives can legitimately despise the tailgating glutton who buys his discount pack of Tyson drumsticks from Von's.  The beautiful thing about this particular type of moral superiority is that it has a dual benefit:  not only does it enable the progressive to look down his nose and make sly and sardonic comments about the tailgating gluttons.  It also eliminates any post-dinner guilt the progressive might have felt when he contemplated the suffering of the animal he just consumed.
-- So when we run our deceptive advertisements...
-- Deceptive?
-- Our blatant lies?
-- That's better.
-- When we run our blatantly lying advertisements about humanely treated chicken, we're not really selling chicken.  We're selling a sense of moral superiority.  We're helping our valued progressive customers to delude themselves into feeling a sense of self-righteousness that overpowers the guilt they might otherwise have felt over the suffering they caused?
-- You'll go far.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The editor of National Provisioner warns her readers about animal-rights activists

From the editor's journal of National Provisioner magazine:

They claim to be animal-rights advocates, but I see them as animal-rights criminals with absolutely no compunction about playing fast and loose with my civil rights -- and yours.  The growing threat of radical animal-rights activism is on the minds of members of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA).  ... The danger of activists advancing their cause through the Federal Government is greater than ever and live stock producers must take a more aggressive stand to protect their industry.
A renewed clarion call in the making.  Those of us fed up with cowering before these terrorists must join forces, draw a line in the sand and prepare to reclaim our civil liberties.  There is no stronger weapon than unity.

It's about time someone had the courage to speak the truth.  When will the oppression of livestock producers and agribusiness executives end?  Everywhere you look, livestock producers are living with the fear of bad PR and reduced profits.  Those greedy vegans by refusing to consume animal products are taking money out of the paychecks of deserving agribusiness executives, forcing them to downgrade to inferior country clubs, to drive less prestigious models of luxury cars.

When you encounter the fear and suffering of an agribusiness executive doomed to receive a smaller Christmas bonus, it's enough to bring tears to your eyes.  Courageous undercover activists have made videos of terrified agribusiness executives in unimaginably horrific office conditions.  These videos are not for the squeamish.  It's pretty graphic stuff.  One video showing a harried executive forced to work overtime to write a PR release defending his company's skinning a hog while it was still alive is especially heart-rending.  This executive had worked long hours all week and now he has to suffer the pain and humiliation of defending his company from a perfectly sensible business practice?  When will the madness end?

These greedy, heartless animal rights advocates want to deprive livestock producers of their god given right to earn vast sums of money and to slaughter animals as we see fit.  They slander our good name.  We must put a stop to the barbaric treatment of livestock producers and agribusiness executives today.  It's a moral struggle we all must join.  We must take our message to the world.  We must follow the lead of courageous organizations out on the front lines of the struggle like the Texas Cattle Feeders Association (TCFA). Our advocacy programs will help get the message out there.  Anything you can do will help.  Speak at schools.  Protest outside vegan restaurants.  Spend a day handing out leaflets explaining the plight of agribusiness executives and how people can help ease their suffering by increasing their consumption of meat and dairy products.  Every little bit helps.   We don't live in the dark ages, though it sometimes seems that way.  We can accept nothing less than the abolition of the mistreatment and abuse of agribusiness executives and livestock producers.

Friday, December 12, 2008

You kill the hogs, we kill the germs!

Presenting the all-new slaughterhouse edition Meritech hand and boot washing system!

Customer testimonials:

"Our employees' boots got so caked with hog innards that they became too heavy to kick the hogs, which forced our employees to whack them over the head with palettes to keep them from moving around too much.  This quickly tired out our employees' arms, making them less efficient with the blade and thus forcing us to double the size of each shift.  Your boot cleaner changed all that.  Now our employees can kick the hogs as much as they want without getting tired.  Thank you!"

-- D.T., Hormel Foods

"After a long day disposing of the male chicks born to our laying hens by stomping on them, many of our employees complained of leaving work with little pieces of beak still stuck to the treads of their boots.  So we installed your automated hand and boot washing system.  Now the only thing our employees take home with them at the end of the day is the proud feeling of a job well done."

-- R.S., Tyson Foods

You've tried scrubbing and scraping and still you can't get the paste of hog innards off your hands and boots.  Those days are gone, thanks to the new Meritech automated hand and boot washing system!  Constructed of heavy-duty stainless steel, this unit utilizes a series of horizontal brushes to scrape away the remnants of hog tissue and even those stubborn chunks of vital organs that get lodged underneath your fingernails.  The state-of-the-art walkthrough boot scrubber gets rid of hard-to-clean hog innards in just seconds, so you're ready to head back to the line.  Because there's another stockcar full of hogs pulling up outside the processing plant and you don't have time to waste!  Some of the biggest hog butchers in the world count on us.  So why risk using one of those discount hand and boot washing systems and going home and tracking hog entrails all over your brand new carpet!  That'll never happen with Meritech.    But don't take our word for it.  Try it out for a free 30-hog trial.   Take 30 of your fattest hogs and get out your stun bolt gun and blade and get to work!  Wait until your hands and boots are nice and drenched with blood and offal and other hard-to-clean hog innards.  Now stick your hands and boots in the new Meritech and watch that hog blood vanish in just seconds.  Heck, we're so confident you'll love your new Meritech, we offer an unconditional guarantee.  If you're not completely satisfied your hands and boots are 100% hog entrail free, we'll cheerfully refund your money.  So what are you waiting for?  Install Meritech in your slaughterhouse today.  You'll be glad you did.

After the slaughter, don't count on just water.  Meritech.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Ben & Jerry sneak the word "slaughter" into the AVMA passage on animal well-being

I was down.  I wanted to be uplifted.  So I headed over to the Ben & Jerry's site for talk about peace and goodwill in multi-colored fonts.  I navigated my way to their statement on animal husbandry and, guess what, those sneaky ex-burnouts are pulling a fast one on us.  They got us mesmerized by the lava lamp of their progressive vision so we wouldn't notice what they were really saying.  They start out by quoting an American Veterinary Medical Association statement about humans being responsible for all aspects of animal well-being, including slaughter.  Say what?  Slaughter part of well-being?  Isn't that irony a little much, even for them?

I went to the AVMA site and read the passage:

Ensuring animal welfare is a human responsibility that includes consideration for all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, nutrition, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling and, when necessary, humane euthanasia.

Animal welfare is defined by the American Veterinary Medical Association as the human responsibility that encompasses all aspects of animal well-being, including proper housing, management, nutrition, disease prevention and treatment, responsible care, humane handling, slaughter, and, when necessary, humane euthanasia.

Check the links.  Do you see slaughter in the AVMA passage?  No.  Ben & Jerry added that part about slaughter.  Dudes of peace and goodwill, what were you thinking? Did you think our eyes would be so overflowing with tears of fellowship after we read about your 50 ways to promote peace that we'd overlook your little addition?  Or that we'd miss it because we were chuckling so hard at all your ice cream-themed puns, like the one about licking global warming?  Or maybe you thought after reading all your talk about your progressive values we'd be in such a rush to go outside and do our part, I don't know, maybe by taking support Ben & Jerry's petitions door to door, that we'd turn off our computers before we noticed you added the word slaughter.

Look, nobody's saying the AVMA statement isn't filled with its own kind of hypocrisy.  All their talk about humane treatment is a PR cover for the abuses of the self-proclaimed pig loving people at Hormel, like swine veterinarian Darly Olson.  But they didn't include the word slaughter as one of the components of animal well-being.  You did, Ben & Jerry.

Why?  Maybe it has something to do with Ben & Jerry's 50 ways to promote peace.  Adding the word slaughter to the passage on animal well-being was how they could generate peace and goodwill and overall good vibes with the local Vermont manufacturers of stun bolt guns and other slaughtering equipment. 

Of course, no Ben & Jerry's post would be complete without a few new flavors:

Stun Bolt Berry Blast
Awful Offal and Cream
Slaughtermint Swirl

More Ben & Jerry's here.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What was that Prius doing in the Burger King drive-thru lane last night?

Dude, what about those carbon footprints you're always talking about?  I mean the Prius is great and all and we know you signed two petitions for cleaner waterways at the open market on Saturday, but that Double Whopper you're ordering, come on, you've read the articles.  You know how the head of the nobel-sharing Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said we can reduce greenhouse emissions by as much as 18% just by eating less meat.  Okay, fine, you're going to pput the double whopper wrappers in the recycling bin instead of the trash.  I guess that makes up for it.  Please drive through.

We love talking about reducing our carbon footprints.  Just not the carbon footprints leading to the meat section of our local Whole Foods.  We shop with canvass shopping bags with cute drawings of earths and catchy recycling slogans on them, but what about the slabs of beef we put in those canvass shopping bags?  If we really and truly care about the environment why not give up meat?  Or if we insist on eating meat, why not stop saying we care about the environment?  Because we like the idea of caring about the future of the planet.  It's cool to have an altruistic mission outside our own selfish pursuits.  Calling ourselves an environmentalist does wonders for our self image.

But that's cynical.  Way too cynical.  A lot of environmentalists really genuinely care about the future of the planet.  But.  There's always this but.  We know eating meat does far more damage to the environment than using non-rechargeable batteries and keeping appliances plugged into their sockets.  So how come we keep eating meat?  How come?  Wait, I can feel a rationalization coming on, here it comes, here it is.  We take lunch breaks from work, right?  So why can't we take a lunch break from our beliefs?  Why can't we take a lunch break from being an environmentalist?  Not a long lunch break.  We'll scarf down our burgers so fast you'll barely notice we're gone.  Then we'll hop back in our Prius and go home where we compost and read with compact flourescent lightbulbs, where we've bookmarked tree hugger and sign every electronic petition that comes our way.  Here, we'll even up the ante.  We'll pee at least five times before we flush.  Five!  But right now we're on our lunch break, so ease up.

Look, seriously, we understand cows and methane gas and all the energy it takes to clear fields for grazing.  We understand all that.  If we stopped eating meat, it would reduce emissions.  But here's the problem.  If we stopped eating meat, we wouldn't get to eat meat and that would suck.  Big time.  Almost finished.  A few more minutes and our lunch break will be over and we'll go back to being an environmentalist.  We'll even make amends for eating this Whopper, okay?  We'll flip off two Hummers on the way home.  Finished.  Lunch break's over.  Let's go find a Hummer and give it a piece of our mind!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The final two hours of a life

Yesterday, I saw something small and dark moving over the grass.  It was a rat, pulling itself with just its forelegs.  It was shivering violently, from the cold I thought at first.  My neighbor and I put it in a box and under a heat lamp.  The tremors got more violent.  It turns out it was poisoned by the neighbor on the other side of the street.

Aisle three is where you'll find the stuff in the Lawn & Garden section of Ace Hardware.  "Just one bite" mouse and rat bait.  For indoor and outdoor rodent control.  Kills Norway rats, roof rats, house mice, even wafarin resistant Norway rats.  Someone's buying a container of it right now, exchanging pleasantries with the clerk.  Not a moment of doubt or hesitation complicates the transaction.

Everyone agrees the neighbor who put out the poison is good people.  If he's driving and there's a car approaching in the narrow street, he'll pull over to the side to let the other driver pass, and he'll always smile and wave as the driver goes by.  He snowblows the sidewalks of the elderly on the street.  He asks you how you're doing and he cares about the answer.

The rat pushed its head into the corner of the box.  Its eyes remained wide open.  Its body throbbed so hard it seemed like its hide might burst open.  It took the rat at least two hours to die.

I have a friend who's a psychiatrist.  His wife is a teacher.  They are both tolerant of what they consider aberrant behavior -- like, say, not consuming animal products.  They see it as, not weird exactly, more of an eccentricity.  And they're both fond of eccentrics.  It interests them, this idea of not consuming any animal products.  The teacher asked me once how far it goes.  She said, would you kill a rat, as if that were the true threshold.  If you wouldn't kill a rat, you were off the charts, you just crossed the line from endearing eccentric to she doesn't know what.

She and the Ace shopper and the Ace clerk and the neighbor who snowblows the sidewalks of the elderly would all agree on one thing:  it was just a rat.  Do you know how many diseases those things carry?  They caused the Black Plague, for god's sake.  So if it has to drag its useless rear legs across the lawn and it shakes with tremors from the internal hemorrhaging from the wafer the friendly Ace clerk sold the friendly Ace shopper, then so be it.

The psychiatrist is the person to ask.  I ask him over drinks.  If a person comprehends the abstract idea of pain and also understands that a rat is a mammal fully capable of suffering pain, if without even blinking this person decides the rat should die and the way it should die is two hours of its innards eaten up by bromodilone, could we maybe call the behavior of this person pathological?  The psychiatrist and the teacher laugh, but a little uncomfortably, due to their fear that the joke I just made wasn't really a joke after all.  Maybe it's the wine, they think.  yes, that's it, the wine.  I wouldn't have said that if I didn't have the wine.  Here, let's all have another glass, the psychiatrist says.

A rat.  A dirty, filthy disease bearing rat, source of plagues and the willies.  You do one thing and one thing only to a rat.  You kill it.  That's what you do.  Life is filled with so many gray areas, enough moral ambiguities to drive a person nuts.  So those few certainties there to grab hold of, we grab hold.  One of those certainties is this:  the life of a rat has no value.  The pain a rat suffers is of no consequence.  If you ever doubt this truth, just go to the lawn and garden section of your local Ace Hardware and see how the clerk with the little red vest beams with good will when you ask him to explain how Just one Bite works.