Friday, December 30, 2011

The slavery analogy

My friend sent me a Mark Bitman article in the NYT about semi-veganism. He asked what I thought even though he already knew. There’s no such thing as semi-veganism or a part-time vegan.

You going to use the slavery analogy again? he asked.

People don’t like the slavery analogy. It offends them. The Atlantic Monthly bans commenters for using it. Maybe it’s because people don’t want what they consider a second or third-tier sin likened to the greatest sin in America’s history. But that’s not why my friend doesn’t like the analogy. He doesn’t like it because it divides people into two groups – those who support the enslavement and slaughter of non-human animals and those who renounce it. My friend wants there to be a group somewhere in the middle, where you can sympathize with the plight of animals and do what you can to reduce their suffering but still eat them from time to time.

The slavery analogy works so well because it’s so stark. If a slaveholder claims to oppose slavery, he must free his slaves. If he adds a few links of chain to the shackles so the slave has more room to roam, he does not oppose slavery. If he vows to whip his slaves less frequently, he does not oppose slavery. People who talk about part-time veganism, bigger cages, free range, grass fed, Michael Pollan, humane slaughter, etc etc etc want to oppose slavery without freeing their slaves. And that’s simply not possible.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Big Ag wants a piece of the grass fed action and Animal Welfare Approved isn’t happy about it.

We’ve seen it a million times in movies. A new dealer moves into an established dealer’s territory and the war is on.

Animal Welfare Approved owns a sweet chunk of the grass fed market. Users are willing to pay good money for the illusion the animals they eat didn’t suffer, and the Animal Welfare Approved label is the highest quality shit, the Kona Gold of humane certification labels.

Animal Welfare Approved does have rival dealers like Certified Humane, but they’ve carved out different territories and learned to co-exist. But now someone else wants a piece of the action. Big Ag.
As the public interest in ethically produced (sic) food continues to flourish … it is perhaps inevitable that food businesses jump on the grassfed bandwagon.
This isn’t some rogue animal welfare advocate. The food industry has big money behind it. Doesn’t mean animal welfare approved is just going to roll over. Drug dealers protect their teritory with guns. Animal Welfare Approved opts for an 18-page Grass fed primer.
While the range of products, labels and brands that make the grassfed claim grows by the day, the sad reality is … some of the so-called grassfed systems out there actually fall well short of our expectations.
In other words, this is our fucking territory, motherfuckers. You come here start pedaling your grass fed shit there’s going to be a fucking war, man. 

Don’t know how this war is going to play out, but it won’t be pretty.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More gift ideas: Old MacDonald had a before-and-after farm.

The sunshine. The green grass. The happy mooing, bleating, clucking animals. The happy farmer and the happy farmer's wife. The stun bolt gun. The dip scalding machine. The skin peeler. The slab conveyor. It's all here in the Old MacDonald had a before-and-after farm animal figurine set.

*Cow, goat, chicken & lamb figurines in carcass and pre-carcass form
*Additional figurines available for purchase:
     Family farmer who names then slaughters animals
     Whole Foods buyer
     Compassionate carnivore picnickers and accessories
*Certified Humane labels not included

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More gift ideas: Michael Pollan hypocrisy-isolating headphones

State-of-the-art headphones designed exclusively for listening to Michael Pollan audio books. Two separate channels for crystal clear playback of Michael Pollan talking out of both sides of his mouth. One channel plays his profound sympathy for the plight of farm animals, the other channel his drooling accounts of watching animals get slaughtered.

Channel one:
The lives of billions of animals on American feedlots and factory farms are horrible to contemplate, an affront to our image of ourselves as humane.
Channel two:
Mike and I drove to the ranch to choose our animal and watch the itinerant butcher slaughter and dress it … Mike cuts a few slivers from the loin and passes them around; a ceremonial tasting of the uncooked animal is, he explains, a butcher’s privilege.
Channel one: 
Broiler chickens spend their lives in cages too small to ever stretch a wing. Every natural instinct is thwarted, leading to a range of behavioral vices that include canablizing her cage mates and rubbing her body against the mesh until it is featherless and bleeding.

Channel two: 
Melissa … has a sure hand with the hacksaw and the butcher knife; within 20 minutes the goat is transformed into considerably more appetizing cuts of meat:  the baron, or hindquarters, and the saddle … two racks of ribs (for tomorrow’s lunch); the shoulders (destined for an overnight braise) and the scraps…
Contradiction-canceling technology reduces ambient hypocrisy by 87.4%
Comes in heifer black and white

Friday, December 16, 2011

What to get the person who’s killed everything?

Who’s there?
It’s Tom from the slaughterhouse.
Come on in, Tom, and don’t forget to wipe your boots on our new Meritech Welcome Mat.

The Meritech Hog Killer's Welcome Mat

Here’s a gift idea for that special pig slaughterer in your life.  The folks at Hormel and Smithfield slaughter thousands per hour without the slightest twinge of remorse, but that doesn’t mean they want entrail stains on their brand new carpet.

Conventional welcome mats clean grass blades and clumps of dirt. They don’t stand a chance against boots caked with pig innards.  But the Meritech Welcome Mat is manufactured using 12 guage 304 stainless steel, so it cleans the soles, sides and tops of your guests' boots.

Those stubborn, wriggling pigs don't want to die right away and that can really dirty up a nice pair of boots. Fortunately, the Meritech welcome mat utilizes a series of horizontal brushes to effectively clean and sanitize so chunks of ground-in flesh on your wooden floor is a thing of the past.

If you’ve got pig slaughterers on your holiday guest list, make sure to replace your old welcome mat with the new Meritech Welcome Mat. Janice K of Bayard, Iowa did.

“It’s been one party after another.  Friends from Smithfield, Hormel, Jimmy Dean. Our living room was starting to resemble a slaughterhouse. That’s when we decided to get rid of our old straw welcome mat and replace it with one from Meritech. Now our guests don’t leave trails of offal to the kitchen and I couldn’t be happier.”

                                                               -- Janice K, Bayard, Iowa

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


A feral cat lived across the alley from my apartment. I called her Swirls because the golden part of her fur curled into patterns like the inside of a shell. She'd sun herself on the roof and watch a world that hadn't done her any favors.
I flattered myself that just as I knew Swirls’ routines, she knew mine. When the sun lights up my roof, he comes out to his balcony with his coffee, she’d think.
At five she'd cross the alley to the apartment of the person who fed her. At ten past five, she'd re-cross the alley to curl up alone in the dark.
Alone -- but that’s me projecting one of my human frailties on her.
Solitude was no enemy to Swirls.
She had another enemy, though she had no way of knowing.
Apparently her transgressions became too much for someone in the apartment building.
What were these transgressions?
Her food attracted raccoons. 
She left paw prints on cars in the carport.
Freshly washed cars.
And for that, someone decided to poison Swirls’ food.
Her death was slow, I’m told.
The person who feeds her found her in the alley.
She lasted the car ride to the vet’s.
Nothing will happen, of course.
Pets are property. Which makes Swirls something less than property.
She was born in the alley, the only survivor of a litter.
She dodged the cars, outsmarted the coyotes.
We feared the coyotes would get her eventually.
But they were merely predators.
The driver who didn’t want smudges on his car, the building manager who wanted to please his tenant, Swirls never had a chance against that.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

How to keep consuming animal products without giving up your progressive credentials.

All you need is a good rationalization. Here's an example: The world's not ready to give up meat. If I were to stop consuming animal products, I'd implicitly be saying my behavior is morally superior to those who do. That's elitism and there's nothing more repellant to the progressive sensibility than elitism. By continuing to consume animal products like everyone else, I'm declaring my solidarity with the rest of the world and only through solidarity can we affect change.

Here’s another one:  The history of social movements proves change can only come gradually.  If I were to stop consuming animal products all at once, I’d be violating this most basic truth. Justice takes time.  Today, I’ll shake my head solemnly at what the poor creature I’m eating had to endure before it wound up on my fork. Tomorrow I’ll sign petitions giving them a few extra feet of cage space and someday in the hopefully not too distant future I’ll stop eating them.

Gradual change also works better for the animals. Animals are creatures of habit. Sudden change to their routine can upset their equilibrium. To go from the horrific treatment of factory farms to not being slaughtered at all would be too big a shock to the system of these poor creatures. They need a transitional phase, half way between factory farms and freedom, where we continue to slaughter them but do it in a more humane way.  After they’ve grown accustomed to this more humane slaughter, only then will be they be prepared for the next step of emancipation.

Those are just few examples.  So if you’re deeply, passionately concerned about the plight of farm animals, but you don’t want to give up the delicious taste of their flesh, don’t worry, there’s so many rationalizations out there. You’re sure to find one that works for you.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The numbers are astonishing

The Whole Foods Farm Animal Welfare site begins…

"The numbers are astonishing..."
 … consider this: in the time it takes to watch a 60-minute television show, 5.8 million chickens are slaughtered for meat. That’s more than 97,000 per minute ... Each one can suffer.
So Whole Foods created their 5-step Animal Welfare Rating System, which enables them to charge a premium for “humanely raised” meat.

And the numbers are astonishing.
Whole Foods Markets quarterly profit rose a larger than expected 35 percent and it raised its full-year profit forecast, fueled by robust sales and snatching market share from other supermarkets.
Whole Foods executives have a deep understanding of the mindset of their self-styled progressive shoppers:

We don’t want animals to suffer, and more importantly, we don’t want to suffer pangs of guilt while we're eating our dinner. We’ll gladly pay extra if you convince us the flesh we’re eating came from a carefree animal who lived a blissful life right up to the moment he was slaughtered with tenderness and compassion.

Yes, Whole Foods will be more than happy to convince their shoppers of this.
By choosing to support higher welfare farmers and ranchers, we can collectively make a significant difference in the lives of billions of animals.
 But for shareholders who need reassurance this isn’t some wooly-headed animal rights thing...
 Higher animal welfare standards are increasingly seen to be a pre-requisite to enhancing business efficiency and profitability...

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Certified Humane. Improving animals’ lives by slaughtering them.

Pretty impressive. And how are they able to improve these 25 million lives each year? By slaughtering the past year’s 25 million. They’re then able to improve the lives of 25 million new animals. Slaughter them and improve the lives of another  25 million. And so on. What do these improved lives consist of? “Chickens are able to flap their wings and dust bathe” before their necks are sliced open. “Pigs have the space to move around and root” before their brains are pierced by a stun bolt.

The improved life part is accurate, no arguing with that. But it’s not the 25 million animals whose lives are improved. It’s the meat producers who get to charge a premium for Certified Humane products.  It’s the compassionate carnivores who like thinking they’re concerned about animal suffering and want to eat those animals without feeling guilty.
Certified Humane. The best way to help farm animals.
The people at American Heritage and Webster’s would know best, but I’ve got to believe this is the first time the word “help” has been used as a synonym for "slaughter" and the word "best" has been used as a synonym for "worst."

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving football games

At least five or six times during the Thanksgiving Day football games, they cut to a shot of the cramped cages of a turkey farm. Sometimes this image provides the backdrop as the announcers give their misty-eyed tribute to friends and family and troops stationed overseas who can’t make it home for the holidays. Other times one of the announcers will use the image of soon-to-be-slaughtered turkeys as the inspiration for a Thanksgiving-themed quip, often something simple as, “gobble gobble.”  Then the announcer’s partner in the booth, and presumably the millions watching from their tables and sofas, chuckle along in goodwill and merriment.  This isn’t some new feature for this year’s games. They’ve cut to these same shots every year – hundreds of frantic turkeys piled on top of each other, unable to move. The football game producers even boost the volume, like they do with commercials, so the viewer gets the full audio effect of the turkeys screeching in fear. Why do these soon-to-be-slaughtered turkeys have such appeal to the producers? Does terror and imminent death somehow enhance the Thanksgiving day experience for their viewers? You’d think people might want to forget their juicy meat in front of them was very recently a living, breathing creature. But apparently not. Apparently seeing animals about to have their necks sliced open so people can enjoy a tasty meal makes Thanksgiving that much more festive.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A new system of taxonomy

Taxonomy is the science of classifying organisms.  Animals are divided into the smaller, more recognizable groups phylum, class, order, family, genus, species.

Another way we could classify animals is by the various ways humans abuse them. Most would fit into one of following phylum: Poisoned by humans.  Clubbed by humans. Captured by humans. Caged by humans. Shackle-hoisted and stun bolted by humans. Hunted by humans. Consumed by humans, though this category would of course overlap with the captured, caged, shackle-hoisted and stun-bolted categories.

Each of the above phylum can be divided into smaller classes.

Poisoned by human can be divided into the sub-categories, poisoned for human comfort and vanity, i.e. cosmetic testing, and poisoned because humans find their presence annoying (e.g., rodents).  Hunted by humans can be divided into the sub-categories, hunted for pleasure, hunted for money, hunted out of fear.  Caged by humans can be divided into the sub-categories, caged for viewing pleasure and caged for consumption.  

Consumed by humans is of course the largest phylum, comprised of billions of farm animals each year. But there’s hardly an animal on the planet that doesn't suffer some form of abuse, usually culminating in torture and death, at the hands of humans. Taxonomists would have to burn the midnight oil getting them all straight.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Slaughtered with dignity. Consumed with gratitude.

The animals grazed placidly, majestically, almost pre-historically…
The more an author rhapsodizes over a grazing animal, the more certain you can be the author will soon be eating that animal for dinner.

This author is describing a buffalo hunt he witnessed.  Like many compassionate carnivores, he takes great pride in his willingness to “see where his meat came from.”  He records the “harvesting” of the buffalo with a weeping pen.  He talks about the other buffalo bowing their heads in grief.
I felt the ache of witnessing death.  I wasn’t alone in my sadness.  As the rancher knelt over the buffalo and hoisted it by chains with the bucket of a loader, the rest of the herd drew in close and lowered their heads. The sight of animals mourning … humbled me to my carnivorous core.
Does "the ache of witnessing death" inspire the author to consider giving up meat?  No, it inspires him to get out his thesaurus and use up every word listed under honor and dignity.

“I slit the animals’s throat because I was fucking craving a big juicy steak” sounds way too profane, so the compassionate carnivore dresses things up with the noblest human impulses.

In Michael Pollan’s 36-hour dinner party “Mike wants to ‘honor the goat’ by wasting as little of it as possible."

Then there’s Katherine Friend’s letter to the lamb.
Tomorrow morning when we load you onto the trailer for your trip to the abattoir, we will be thinking about the life you’ve lived on this farm – running around the pasture at dusk, sleeping in the sun and grazing enthusiastically for the tenderest bit of grass.  We will say aloud, "thank you."
 The compassionate carnivores are always thanking and praising and honoring the animals they kill, as if the animal knew how hungry they were and, in a moment of selflessness, decided to offer up its flesh. 

By making the act of slaughter more than mere slaughter, by transforming it into something ceremonial, the compassionate carnivore is able to convince himself that subjecting animals to the most gruesome fate imaginable is a morally praiseworthy act.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Conscientious, Compassionate, Cash-earning Carnivores.

Let’s see we’ve got Conscientious Carnivores and Compassionate Carnivores.  So don’t want to offend, you know, but it’s hard to keep the two of them straight.  They both shed crocodile tears over the plight of farm animals and chatter endlessly about their personal conflictedness as they chow down on the remains of said animals.  But there must be differences. Is it like belts in martial arts? Does a conscientious carnivore work his way up to becoming a compassionate carnivore?  Who gets first dibs on the shank?  Maybe the compassionate carnivores came first and the conscientious carnivores were an offshoot.  They had doctrinal differences, split off like the Lutherans.  Or maybe it was a naked power-grabbing move.  The conscientious carnivores were sick and tired of being in the shadows while the author of Conscientious Carnivores, Catherine Friend (as in with friends like this animals don’t need enemies), was out doing the talk show circuit, getting reviewed by the NYT, hobnobbing with Michael Pollan.  Michael Pollan could tell them both there’s plenty of money to be made off all those hungry progressives out there, salivating for a juicy steak and a good rationalization.  Why don’t the two of you join me? Michael Pollan would say.  All three of us can be Cash-earning Carnvivores.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Dinner with Trina and Mike, compassionate carnivores

TRINA:  There's an exciting movement out there.
MIKE:  Bigger than organic, bigger than buying local.
TRINA:  Compassionate people concerned about the suffering of farm animals. 
MIKE: Factory farms are hell on earth.  The manifesto of the compassionate carnivore is we reduce animal suffering by only buying our meat from family farms. 
TINA:  Some cynical people out there say to us, if we're so concerned about animal suffering, why don't we stop eating them?  Mike, why don't you set these cynics straight.
MIKE: The thwing aboo compashwon is it’s a tfo we seet.
TRINA: Sorry, it’s hard to understand Mike when he’s got a mouthful of meat.  He said the thing about compassion is it’s a two way street.
MIKE: We’re compassionate to the animals so they need to show us a little compassion in return.
TRINA: The way they do this is by letting us eat them.
MIKE: Believe me, we have so much appreciation for the compassion these kind animals show us. Yummy juicy juicy meat.
TRINA: It’s one big, harmonious circle of compassion.
MIKE: Chew, chomp, yum, chewy, juicy.
TRINA: Mmm, yum, pink, juicy fleshy yummy meat
MIKE: Compassion is all about empathy. Relating to the needs of someone other than yourself.  When these poor farm animals live in a dark crate in a factory farm, it’s like I’m living in a dark crate.
TRINA: You are so compassionate, Mike.
MIKE: So are you, Trina. Yummy delicious flesh.
TRINA: Mmmmm! Chewy, delicious, juicy flesh.
MIKE: We empathize with the animals by not wanting them to suffer more than necessary.
TRINA: And they empathize with us by understanding how much pleasure it gives us to eat their flesh. Mmm, so rare, so pink
MIKE: Delicious blood running down my chin
TRINA:  Put down the napkin, Let me lick it up, oh, tasty, heavenly blood
MIKE: Lick it up, lick it up.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

All slaughter systems must protect against distress or discomfort

For a meat producer to earn the Certified Humane label…
All slaughter systems must be designed to ensure livestock are not caused unnecessary distress or discomfort.
We know a shattered skull and pierced brain don’t constitute unnecessary distress or discomfort to the folks at Certified Humane.  Maybe they mean stepping on the steer’s hoof or something. 
It is required that producers use processors who follow the American Meat Institute guidelines for processing cattle.
 These guidelines were developed by PETA Proggy Award-winning slaughterhouse designer and McDonald’s consultant, Temple Grandin.

Her “Interpretation of the American Meat Institute Animal Handling Guide” details what animal producers must do to pass a welfare audit. Here’s a sample from the FAQ section.  (If the question is frequently asked, safe to say it describes a frequently occurring event.)
Question 12.  A plant employee starts to skin the head of an animal that has blinking eyes.  Is the audit failed?
[Temple Grandin’s] Answer:  This is an automatic audit failure.  The guideline states, there is zero tolerance for beginning any procedure like skinning the head or leg removal on any animal that shows signs of return to sensibility … Animals with eyes that do spontaneous natural blinking are sensible.
She has zero tolerance for head-skinning and leg removal of still-sensible animals. No wonder PETA awarded her the Proggy for innovative and animal-friendly achievements.

But for those meat producers who worry Temple Grandin’s being unfairly rigid, relax, here’s another FAQ.
Question 11. A pig squeals when it is half way into the restrainer or stun box due to an electric prod.  Does this count on the vocalization score? [A high vocalization score can result in audit failure.]
Answer:  No.  The pig’s rear must be past the restrainer entrance to count.
Pig squealing in horror is only half way in the stun box.  Audit passed.  Certified Humane.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Certified Humane. Because Certified Insane was already taken.

They didn’t settle on the name Certified Humane right away.  The first and most obvious choice was Certified Insane.  It was much more descriptive of the people they hoped to appeal to:  people who, without the aid of psychotropic drugs, had such highly developed self-delusional powers they could convince themselves shackle hoisting and a brain-piercing captive stun bolt is “the best way to help farm animals.”  But Certified Insane was overused.  They wanted something more distinctive.  So they went with Certified Humane instead.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Animal Welfare Approved vs. Certified Humane. The new McDonald’s vs. Burger King.

The humane certification market is exploding.  In co-ops and natural food stores across the country, compassionate carnivores are searching for the tastiest conscience-easing meats. This means big opportunity for humane certification labels but also fierce competition.

So who are the big players best poised to reap the bounty of the compassionate carnivores? An analogy is helpful. Animal Welfare Approved is McDonald’s. Certified Humane is Burger King. There’s also the Global Animal Partnership, though they don’t yet have the cachet of the big boys.  They’re more of a Jack in the Box or Sonic – a regional upstart but not one to take to take lightly.

Certified Humane has come out swinging. “Don’t be fooled by similar sounding programs,” they say on their site.  “Certified Humane is the best way you can help animals.”  Animal Welfare Approved plays it more like McDonald’s -- above the fray.  They don’t deign to acknowledge, and thereby legitimize, the competition.  They stick to more quietly confident statements like, “Continuously ranked as the most stringent of all third party certifiers.”

This calm arrogance must drive Certified Humane nuts.  They want to attack!
They should heed the examples of their compatriots in other highly competitive industries. There’s a long history of commercials slamming the Other Guy. 

They could try a side-by-side compassion test, similar to the Pepsi Challenge.  Stop progressive carnivores in the compassionately killed meat section.  Hide the label.  Ask the progressive to sample the meat and guess which one has more compassionate pre-slaughter standards.

Or they could copy the classic Folger’s coffee commercials.
We’ve secretly replaced this Animal Welfare Approved steak with a Certified Humane steak.  Let’s see if people notice.
Hi, Sir, how’s the steak?
Delicious.  And best of all it was slaughtered with compassion.
Did the steer suffer?
No.  Animal Welfare Approved means animals get to “perform natural and instinctive behaviors.”
Surprise!  You’re really eating a Certified Humane steak.
You’re kidding.
Can you sense that extra pre-slaughter compassion? See, only Certified Humane guarantees that all animals are “kept in conditions that allow for freedom of movement” before they’re shackle hoisted and stun bolted.
I had no idea
So what humane label are you going to buy from now on, Sir?
I’m going to buy Certified Humane!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Proof that humanely raised and slaughtered animals are much better off.

You’re looking at what’s left of four steers.  Three came from a factory farm.  One was fortunate enough to be humanely raised and slaughtered by a compassionate family farmer. As you can see, it was much better off than the other three.  You can’t see?  Then you’re not looking closely enough. Look at the three on the right from the factory farm.  Three living, breathing, sentient beings who craved life as much as any person, now nothing but slabs of flesh scraped off a carcass.  Compare them to the fortunate humanely raised and slaughtered steer on the left.  Now you see the difference, right?  No?  Then you’re just being stubborn.  There’s an enormous difference. Otherwise the Animal Welfare Institute and Humane Farming Association wouldn’t give it their seals of approval.  This is getting frustrating.  Look again.  Okay? Yes?  You finally see one is much better off?  About time. Wait, you think the one who’s better off isn’t the steer, but rather the person who gets to enjoy a juicy burger without pangs of guilt?  Wrong again.  Wrong and so deeply cynical.  Will you please look at the humanely raised and slaughtered steer on the left.  Or is it the right?  Or one of two middle ones?  Now you’re getting me confused.  The point is, the free range, humanely raised and slaughtered steer had it much much better and the proof is right in front of you.  How can you not see it?

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Animal Welfare Approved turkey

I can’t believe they picked me for the header of the Animal Welfare Approved site.  Now I can rest assured when I’m all chopped up and wrapped in cellophane and sitting in the refrigerated section of Whole Foods, there’s going to be an Animal Welfare Approved sticker on the other side of that cellophane.  That means the Animal Welfare Institute sent an inspection team to the farm to make sure turkeys like me have the opportunity to “perform natural and instinctive behaviors” before the humans perform their natural and instinctive behavior and slit our throats. I know, I know, I look so serious in this photo.  You can’t tell I’m bursting with pride.  Most of my fellow turkeys only get to fill human bellies.  But I get to do so much more.  I get to give humans a delicious meal and on top of that I get to make them feel a nice warm glow when they tell themselves my slaughter was pleasurable and painless.  What more could a turkey ask for?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Does Michael Pollan belong in the Meat Industry Hall of Fame?

The 2010 class is pictured above. What about this year’s class?  Does Michael Pollan have a chance? Purists will scoff.  He doesn’t have the big numbers like, say, a Hormel executive who slaughters millions of pigs a year. And what about Michael Pollan’s scathing indictment of factory farms?  The true greats of animal slaughter don’t have qualms about what they’re doing.  Hormel executives don’t know what to make of the public outrage over videos documenting sadistic cruelty at supplier farms.  But this is exactly why Michael Pollan belongs in the hall of fame. He does understand that outrage and also the guilt some people feel for continuing to eat meat, and he showed the meat industry how to use this guilt to increase sales in his best-selling book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma. The dilemma in a nutshell is people feel bad about eating food that perpetuates the atrocities in factory farms.  But, damn, meat tastes good. The solution:  eat meat from farms where you can convince yourself the animals lived carefree pre-slaughter lives. Michael Pollan has made conflicted meat eaters feel good about eating meat and for that he deserves to be in the hall of fame.  To use a sports analogy, just as Yao Ming brought millions of Chinese fans to NBA basketball, Michael Pollan has made countless self-styled progressives realize they can profess concern about the suffering of animals and still eat those animals. I say he’d better get busy writing his induction speech.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Why family farms name their animals

“…we’re on first name terms with our cows and their farmers through our sustainable dairy farming program”

“Family farmers give animals such a better life because they use the personal touch like naming them..”

Retailers like Ben & Jerry’s that use Family farm suppliers are always going on about how family farmers name their animals, as if having a name somehow makes getting slaughtered less painless.

Why exactly did the family farms decide to name their animals in the first place…

That dairy cow’s not producing like she used to, get rid of her -- Which one?  -- The black and white one -- They’re all black and white -- The one with the patch on her back -- They all have patches on their back --The one, fuck I don’t know how to describe her, they all look the same -- Hey, I know, why don’t we give ‘em names? -- Fucking A, that way we can tell the slaughter boys which one to kill and it’ll make our progressive customers think we treat these cows just like family members  …. Hey, that dairy cow’s not producing like before, get rid of her -- Which one? -- Wilco -- Come here, Wilco, Wilco...

More on family farms naming animals here.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dairy cow checks out the menu of Ben & Jerry’s flavors.

Let’s see…

Stun Bolt Berry Blast
Slaughtermint Swirl
Rape Rack Raspberry

...hey, someone replaced the real Ben & Jerry’s flavors with this subversive crap.  Where’s the message about happy cows on a first name basis with their local farmers?  Someone scratched it out and wrote how us happy Ben & Jerry’s dairy cows have our calves yanked away and shipped off to veal farms.  We’re artificially impregnated, our calves are taken again.  Four years and our milk production slows.  We’re no longer economically viable so it's time for the slaughterhouse.  Lies!  Slander! I’m happy.  Look at the way they drew me with all these happy bright colors.  They had to.  They couldn’t show the photo of the real me because then people would know the truth … Huh?  Now I’m sounding subversive, too.  What's going on? Ben & Jerry made me part of the team.  They gave me the opportunity to help people enjoy delicious Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. They provided my calves with veal crates. And I turn on them like this? What’s wrong with me? … Hold on, my farmer who’s on a first name basis is calling me.  What?  I’m not efficient enough anymore?   Time for what? At least I’ll get to live on on the Ben & Jerry’s website, helping tell people about their Caring Dairy program.

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Progressive Meat Pounder

Meat producers are thrilled to have discovered a lucrative new target group: people who want to ease the suffering of animals without giving up the delicious taste of their flesh. They fear the torture and slaughter of the animals they consume might be incompatible with their progressive self-image, so they’re willing to pay premium prices for the illusion that these animals lived happy, pain-free lives. Meat producers and their retailers have come up with innovative ways of appealing to these prized customers.  The Whole Foods five step Animal Welfare Rating Standards, Animal-Welfare Approved, Certified Humane Raised & Handled, etc. etc.

The meat producers are so intent on appealing to this progressive target group, they’ve apparently even branded their meat-related accessories as “progressive,” e.g. the progressive meat pounder (pictured).

Other progressive kitchen products include…

The progressive matching knife set and rationalization set. “Free range animals live happy lives.”  “It’s a step in the right direction.”  “The slaughter is quick and painless.”  Store these and all your other rationalizations in one spot for quick and easy access.

“World’s Greatest Self-deluding Chef” apron. Ideal for barbequing up those animal welfare approved ribs.

The progressive mixed messaging bowl.  You want to end animal suffering now.  But you’re craving a juicy steak.  Say what?  The mixed messaging bowl is the ideal way to mix these messages to confuse yourself and others so you can crave justice and that juicy steak without relinquishing your progressive credentials.

Check out the entire catalogue of progressive products.  

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Whole Foods grass fed beef disses on the Burger King Whopper.

GRASS FED:  I pity you.  Raised on some factory farm while I was out in grassy fields.
WHOPPER: You’re a piece of charred flesh now, just like me.
GRASS FED:  It’s every grass fed steer’s dream to someday make it to the refrigerated section of Whole Foods with an Animal Welfare-Approved label on the package.  And I did it! I was purchased by compassionate people who turned me into Pepper Steak with pomegranate sauce.  You? You get wrapped in paper and stuck under a heat lamp ‘til you get scarfed down by a carload of hungry frat dudes who couldn’t care less about your pain and suffering.
WHOPPER: We were both killed way before our time.  We’re both going to be eaten.
GRASS FED:  I’ll be savored with a glass of chardonnay.  You’ll be washed down with 32 oz. coke.
WHOPPER:  What I’m saying is...
GRASS FED:  Not interested in what some low life from the 99 cent super value menu has to say.  I’m grass fed, Animal Welfare Approved. I was purchased by a progressive couple who cared deeply about my well being. You should have heard the two of them discussing how good they felt that I got to graze on the grass...
WHOPPER: ..before the farmer dragged you into the slaughterhouse and shattered your skull with a captive bolt.
GRASS FED:  Must you be so crass?
WHOPPER:  The first bolt missed your brain.  You were writhing on the ground before he got the second bolt to work.
GRASS FED:  Thankfully, the compassionate couple who purchased me aren’t around to hear this.  It would spoil the meal they worked so hard to prepare.
WHOPPER: If your progressive Whole Foods shoppers are so concerned about your suffering, why don’t they stop eating meat?
GRASS FED:  You think you're so smart with your brain teasers and unanswerable riddles.  Go to your frat boys, your Walmart deal hunters.  I'm going to be eaten by refined people who want us steer to get slaughtered ethically and compassionately and you don't even have the gratitude to appreciate it.

Monday, September 19, 2011

A brief message from Temple Grandin's House of Slaughterhouses

Folks, lately some of our competitors have been claiming their seal of humane slaughter will make people feel better about eating animals.  Phooey! Why settle for an Animal Welfare Approved sticker on the package when you can cut out the middleman and get yourself a humane slaughterhouse from temple Grandin’s house of slaughterhouses! Folks, We’re proud to say we’re the only slaughterhouse designer to win PETA’s coveted Proggy Award for making the slaughtering process more profitable and efficient for meat processors, I mean painless and stress-free for animals. We use only the finest captive stun bolts that pierce the animals’ brains so smooth and easy they’ll think they’re getting shiatsu massage. Your animals will swear by it and so will your customers.

"I saw a video about factory farms and it made me sick to think people can treat animals like that. I vowed never to eat steak again. Then a friend told me about meat processed at Temple Grandin’s house of slaughterhouses. Goodbye guilt, hello rib eyed steak!"
-- Kim L., Gardenia, Calfornia

That’s right, folks, so come on in and check out our complete selection of slaughterhouse designs and slaughtering accessories at Temple Grandin’s House of Slaughterhouses, where humane slaughter is our middle name!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

HSUS overcomes HSUS opposition to enriched cages for laying hens

The HSUS and United Egg Producers had a big press conference to announce an "historic agreement." The HSUS agreed to "give up on a push to ban cages entirely in exchange for the opportunity to work for a a single, nationwide standard mandating better conditions."

If passed, the new agreement will...

Require that all egg-laying hens be provided, through the new enriched housing system, with environments ... such as perches, nesting boxes and scratching areas.

Some cynics may claim the HSUS made the agreement because their check-writing, egg-eating donors wanted them to lay off the United Egg Producers. But maybe they genuinely believe "enriched cages" really do improve the hens' pre-slaughter lives. They're opposed to “furnished cages” because...

Furnished cages are typically equipped with a nest box, perch and dustbathing areas … furnished cages provide an unacceptably limited amount of space per bird … furnished cages remain unable to adequately provide and acceptable level of welfare for hens…

These new enriched cages must address all the concerns the HSUS had about furnished cages. Let’s compare…

Enriched cages have perches, nesting boxes and scratching areas. Furnished cages have perches, nesting boxes and dustbathing areas.

That’s it then. The HSUS was playing hardball with the United Egg Producers. Replace the term “dustbathing area” with “scratching area” and the term “Furnished cages” with “enriched cages” and you’ve got yourself a deal.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Diary of a young Hormel PR executive

It’s my first week on the job and I’m a nervous wreck. I wonder if I’m up for it. I mean I’m prepared. I’ve studied the classics. I have a quotation from our VP Julie framed above my desk. It’s from when the video surfaced of pigs being beaten with metal poles and slammed to the cement floor in one of our supplier farms in Iowa. I can recite Julie’s response by heart.
We found the images of the footage from the Iowa farm appalling and they are inconsistent with our standards and industry standards for animal handling. The abuse on the video shows practices that are completely unacceptable.
How did she come up with that? If the press called asking me for a statement, I would have frozen up. I would have said, “well, yeah, we kill them because you eat them. What’s the issue here? How does the way we kill them make any difference?”
But she realized people out there want to think pigs they eat are well-treated so they feel better about eating them. So in a moment of inspiration, she came up with a classic statement of outrage. She almost makes me believe we care about the well-being of the pigs. I can never aspire to that kind of greatness.
Then there’s the Hormel statement on corporate responsibility. Another instant classic.
This is simply about treating animals humanely because it’s the right thing to do … we take our zero tolerance policy for the inhumane treatment of animals very seriously. 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 the animals have the best welfare.
I read things like this and I feel like I’ll never amount to anything. I would have thought slaughter and humane treatment are a contradiction, that people would laugh at me if I made a statement like that. We kill thousands an hour and we believe in treating animals humanely? We’re the best ambassadors for animal cruelty but we call ourselves the best ambassadors for animal welfare? Wow. I never would have come up with that in a million years. I’ve got so much to learn. Well, nose to grindstone. Keep studying, keep learning. I’ll get there.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A simple explanation for the existence of “humane certified” meat

Humane certified meat exists because the people in photo one don’t want to be mistaken for the people in photo two. The people in photo one contribute to public radio, sign petitions for cleaner waterways. They put their Whole Foods meats in reusable shopping bags. The guy in photo two still has his ticket stub from the Slayer concert in his pocket. He chugs beers at tailgate parties. He buys his chicken wings by the 4o lb. box.

The people in photo one read and discuss Michael Pollan books.The guy in photo two thinks Michael Pollan is that actor in "The usual suspects."

The people in photo one are concerned about the suffering of the animals they eat. Not concerned enough to stop eating them. But really really concerned.

The guy in photo two has a tee shirt that says, “I love animals. With ketchup on top.” The people in photo one consider this joke to be in very bad taste. It makes them uncomfortable to think they have the same disregard for the suffering of a fellow creature as the guy in photo two.

How can they demonstrate the difference? They can consume meat approved by the Humane Farming Association and American Welfare Institute. Meat carved from the carcasses of animals treated with kindness and compassion before the stun bolts shatter their skulls. That way the people in photo one can convince themselves that, unlike the savage in photo two, they care deeply about the suffering of the animals they eat.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Our humanely raised beef is more humane than your humanely raised beef.

It all started with people who sought the dual benefit of assuaging their conscience (feeling better about eating flesh from a tortured/slaughtered animal) while at the same time showcasing that refined conscience to others (the vanity boost conferred by the possession of something impressive, similar to driving a luxury automobile). By not only consuming humanely raised meat, but also being willing, even eager, to pay a premium for it, these people of conscience managed to elevate themselves above the uncaring masses who eat meat with complete disregard for the suffering of the animal who provided it.

This dual benefit of an assuaged conscience plus a vanity boost became highly sought after by flesh-eating progressives everywhere. Humanely raised labels and brands proliferated. This posed a problem for the original progressives. They were once again just part of the herd. It was more difficult for others to see and appreciate their refined consciences. So it was only inevitable that they would seek a new way to differentiate/elevate themselves, a way of saying our humanely raised beef is more humane than your humanely raised beef. Soulfood Farm has just what these progressives are looking for. Soulfood Farm turned to the American Welfare Institute to give them a conscience-conferring label that separates them from the other providers of humanely raised animal flesh. From their blog...

To me, the name says it all. It begins with the animals’ welfare, unlike the vague “humanely raised,” that is slowly being eroded…

Now the other “humanely raised” eating progressives are forced to play catch up. Soon they too will seek the more stringent AWI approval and the progressives who want their consciences to stand out will have to find an even more humane form of torture/slaughter and so on and so on, an endless cycle. If these people really want to stand out, wouldn’t it be much easier to just go ahead and splurge on that Lexus?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Cattle Network article on the trendy, youthful phase of veganism

The article talks about Mean Greens in the University of North Texas, the first all-vegan campus cafeteria in the country.

If I were a meat and poultry purveyor, I wouldn’t worry too much about this breaking news … being trendy is what college is all about. Many of the diehard vegetarians roaming the campus will turn much more traditional – in food and politics – once they hit the adult world …

…But just like the massive amounts of information students struggle to absorb in class, then rarely refer to again once college is over, much of passion for the (alleged) value of vegetarianism tends to follow a similar path once the campus rebels of today enter the real world of adulthood tomorrow.

The writer displays admirable journalistic objectivity, just like he was taught at the National Cattleman’s Journalism School.

To summarize the main points of his article:

We should see the University of North Texas students’ temporary experimentation with a vegan diet for what it is: an act of crazy youthful rebellion before they return to the sane world of gestation crates, stun bolt guns, shackle hoists, torture and slaughter. College has always been a time for exploring new boundaries. In the past, kids experienced identity confusion, possibly experimenting with drugs and binge drinking, but they never crossed the dark line and embraced wild ideas like a steer having the right to not feel his flesh ripped from his body while he's still alive. Or the positively anarchic belief that maybe animals shouldn’t spend their brief lives in a dark crate before their skulls are shattered so people can consume their flesh.

It’s hard to know how to account for the inexplicable radicalization of these vegan students. Maybe it’s the fear of entering an uncertain job market. A sense of being cast adrift. How else can we explain them believing hens shouldn’t get de-beaked with a heated blade, sickly piglets shouldn’t get slammed on concrete floors, downed cows shouldn’t be beaten with a metal pole when they can’t stand up?

But we all need to take a deep breath and realize this is just a rite of passage. A mini-bout of temporary insanity. We need to remind ourselves that thinking an animal has the right to not have a bolt driven through her brain is just a nutty phase some college kids go through. These kids will be okay. Soon enough they’ll be ordering up a big juicy sirloin at Applebees, shaking their heads at their wild youthful beliefs. They’ll have entered the sensible world of adulthood, where steers, pigs and chickens only exist so we can enjoy the taste of their seared flesh, just like God and the National Cattleman’s Association intended it.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The rough and final drafts of the KFC statement on animal welfare

The final draft:

KFC is committed to the humane treatment of animals … As a major purchaser of food products, we have the opportunity, and responsibility, to influence the way animals supplied to us are treated. We take that responsibility very seriously. We are monitoring our suppliers on an ongoing basis to determine wither our suppliers are using humane procedures for caring for and handling animals.

The rough draft:

KFC is committed to making people think we care about the humane treatment of animals. We thought there was big money when we came up with dipping sauces. Shit, that’s nothing compared to the PR bonanza of making people think we give two shits about the lives of the little chickies before we off them. It’s a friggin’ gold mine. We’ll kill the buggers any way you want -- gas, knife, metal pole. Just so long as you give us your gold star or your Proggy or whatever you call your animal welfare compliance award. As a major purchaser of food products, we have the opportunity of killing a shitload of these chickens and if one of our suppliers needs to blow off a little steam by stomping on one of them or throwing one against the wall, well, shit, what would you expect? But give us some pub and we’ll pretend we care. It worked for Burger King and McDonald’s and it can work for us too. We take the responsibility of profiting off animal rights concerns very seriously. We’ll write animal welfare statements up the wazoo. We got a whole floor’s worth of PR flaks who can say things like “These actions are completely contrary to all our company’s practices and policies regarding the humane treatment of poultry.” Cha ching! You guys have no idea how much the public concern for animal welfare is gonna make us, cluck, cluck, cluck, here chickie, chickie, let poppa fast food exec kill you kindly so you can make him a rich man, heh heh!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

HSUS: Humane Society of the United Egg Producers

Go to the farm animal campaign on the HSUS site and the donation button says “Let’s phase out battery cages!” They could say, "Let’s phase out consumption which results in the slaughter of millions of chicks and laying hens per year. Even free range hens come from hatcheries where half the chicks born are males who, because they're useless to egg producers, are ground up in machines or suffocated in dumpsters. Laying hens undergo forced molting (starvation up to two weeks) and when their egg production becomes commercially unviable, they’re sent to slaughter. Bigger battery cages won’t help. The only way to end this endless suffering is to stop eating eggs."

Why won’t the HSUS say this? Let’s see how it might go…

HSUS: Let’s phase out our consumption of food which results in slaughter of millions of hens each year.

HSUS donors: Let’s phase out donations.

So the biggest animal advocacy organization in the world can’t advocate a behavioral change which will result in preventing the death of millions of the animals they supposedly exist to help. Instead, they put their money into campaigns for bigger cages. They make videos depicting abuses. This means bad PR for the United Egg Producers. They don’t like bad PR. And HSUS donors don’t like feeling bad about eating their eggs. Maybe it’s time for the HSUS to dial back on their bigger cages campaign.

HUSU: Let’s phase out opposition to the United Egg Producers.

HSUS donors: Let’s phase out donations.

HSUS: Okay, let’s eliminate our opposition to the United Egg Producers in one fell swoop. We’ll hold a big press conference touting the new partnership. We’ll toss out phrases like “better way forward” and “historic agreement” We’ll give them fifteen years to implement their changes. How’s that?

HSUS donors: Where’s my checkbook?

More detailed account of lives of laying hens here.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Meet Kristen, the newest California Happy Cow

America viewed the casting videos and selected Kristen as the newest Happy Cow in the California Milk Board advertising campaign. We're told we can follow Kristen's experiences as a Happy Cow at Really? The milk board really wants its milk drinkers to follow the life of a dairy cow? In the first commercial, we'll see the farmer remove Kristen's calf when he's only a day old and ship him off to become veal. Kristen will be so traumatized the farmer will have a difficult time strapping her into the milking machine. In the next commercial, he'll shoot Kristen full of hormones to increase her milk output. She'll be forced to produce ten times the amount of milk she normally would. When her milk productions lapses, the farmer will artificially inseminate her, remove her calf and repeat the process. We won't be able to follow Kristen much longer at Her life span would normally be around twenty five years, but her milk output will decrease to unacceptable levels after four, so in the final video of Kristen's brief existence, we'll see the farmer apply the stun bolt gun to her head then the commercial will fade to black. It will be time for Real California Milk to audition for a new Happy Cow to replace Kristen. Here's a group shot of all the Happy Cows who produce real California Milk waiting to see who will become the next Happy Cow.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Michael Pollan will be having a carcass signing

Michael Pollan’s website says he’ll be having a book signing October 12 at the Barnes & Noble in Methesda, Maryland. Book signings are so passé. Why doesn’t his publisher organize a publicity event more in keeping with Michael Pollan’s writings and stage a carcass signing instead? It couldn’t take place at a bookstore. They wouldn’t want blood and entrails all over the espresso machine. They could stage it at the farm where Michael Pollan purchased steer 534 so he could witness first hand the raising and slaughter of a steer.

First, he’ll read a quotation from one of his outraged attacks on factory farms..

The lives of billions of animals on American feedlots and factory farms are horrible to contemplate, an affront to our image of ourselves as humane.

Followed by an excerpt from his NYT article on a 36-hour dinner party he hosted...

Mike and I drove to the ranch to choose our animal and watch the itinerant butcher dress and slaughter it.

As he signs copies of the carcasses, he’ll explain how slaughtering animals in factory farms is an "affront to our image of ourselves as humane" while hungrily watching an itinerant butcher slaughter them for a 36 hour dinner party promotes fellowship and goodwill. Is it because the butcher is itinerant while the factory farms exist in a fixed location? Only way to find out is to attend this gala carcass signing for yourself.

But Michael Pollan won't only be signing steer carcasses. No sir. Pick a farm animal, any farm animal, he'll sign them all. He'll sign carcasses of pigs, chickens and goats he consumed at Joel Salatin's Polyface Farm as he reads another excerpt...

In Polyface Farm, chickens live like chickens, his cows like cows, pigs, pigs ... animal happiness is unmistakable. And here I was seeing it in abundance.

He’ll then describe his own unmistakable happiness as he sat back and let his digestive juices go to work on those animals whose happiness he just got through celebrating.

He’ll finish with a final one-two punch of moral outrage and meat-juice-dripping-down-the-chin ecstasy. The outrage...

Broiler chickens spend their lives in cages too small to ever stretch a wing. Every natural instinct is thwarted, leading to a range of behavioral vices that can include canablizing her cage mates and rubbing her body against the mesh until it is featherless and bleeding.

The ecstasy...

Melissa has a sure hand with the hacksaw and the butcher knife; within 20 minutes the goat is transformed into considerably more appetizing cuts of meat ... Mike cuts slivers from the loin and passes them around … the raw meat is surprisingly sweet.

There’s sure to be plenty of talking out of both sides of the mouth for everyone at the Michael Pollan carcass signing. He’ll share some his favorite rationalizations. He'll offer up recipe ideas. He'll explain how condemning the abuse of animals in factory farms while celebrating their slaughter by local farms has made him a best-selling author. So mark your calendar and be sure to bring a knife and fork to the Michael Pollan carcass signing.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Whole Foods must use a really small type size.

The title of the post in the Whole Foods blog says, “Let’s respect farm animals.” But then they switch to a smaller type size for the asterisk that says, “until we kill them and eat them.” So small I can't even see it. But that asterisk has to be there somewhere, doesn't it? Unless Whole Foods is trying to make the point that slaughtering and eating someone is a new way of showing them respect.

Now the type gets nice and big again.

Our meat and poultry standards at Whole Foods ... take into account the comfort, physical safety and health of the animals.

Then the asterisk at the end of the above sentence says, "This may appear at first to be counter-intuitive since shattering skulls with stun bolts, shackle hoisting upside-down, slicing necks, etc. would seem to some to adversely affect the comfort, physical safety and health of animals. But what you’re missing here is our shoppers want to feel good about themselves and their planet citizenship. Nothing ruins a good steak dinner faster than a conscience nagging you about how the animal suffered in order to become the flesh you're so happily chewing. Our shoppers want to delude themselves into thinking the animals they eat lived happy joyful lives right up until the moment they became meat. At first we tried telling them a happy meat fairy waved her wand and turned the animals into meat, but even our shoppers weren’t falling for that one. So we came up with this elaborate fantasy about happy, well cared for animals, grazing in the fields, living in the sunshine, and guess what, our shoppers bought it. If we can help our shoppers accept this wild story by repeating things like 'let's respect farm animals,' and 'we care about the comfort, safety and health of animals,' it means more money for us. Get it? Good. Now get out of our face."

I can't quite make out that asterisk, the type's so small, but it's got to be there somewhere.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

With Whole Foods new 5-step Animal Welfare rating system, there’s a meat for every level of compassion.

So Whole Foods has a new 5-step rating system. A color-coded label tells you exactly how humanely the animal was treated before it became your meat.
Step one, no crates. Step two, enriched environment. Step three enhanced outdoor access. Step four, pasture centered. Step five, animal centered, no physical alterations. Step five plus, animal centered, entire life on farm.
If you’re confused about which level is right for you, simply ask one of their helpful meat department team members.
-- Excuse me, I’m serving pork chops tonight. I didn't know what step you recommended.
-- What level of compassion do you have for the farm animals you consume?
-- I saw a video on the miserable lives of pigs in factory farms. It made me cry. I swore off pork two whole weeks.
-- Do you give a snort of disgust when you see a Costco shopper remove a box of Tyson chicken wings from the frozen section?
-- Yes! It makes me sick. Don’t these savages realize Tyson clips the beaks off their chickens with a hot blade? Tell you what else I believe. Animals deserve to live in the sunshine, romping in the fields, at least while people are in between meals. So what do you think? Do I have level five compassion for farm animals? Do I? Do I?
--Have you ever attended a Michael Pollan book signing?
--I was meaning to but…
--No Michael Pollan book signing, no level five. I’d say level three is appropriate for you.
--Hi, I’m having a dinner party, looking for a side of beef, wondering what step is right for me.
-- Did you support Prop 2 for bigger cages for farm animals, Sir?
-- Sure did. Even talked a guy I worked with into voting for it.
-- Did you put a "Stop Cruelty Now. Support Prop 2" bumper sticker on your car?
-- Uhm, well, I didn’t want to seem like an extremist or anything.
-- Better stick with level one.
-- Can I work my way up?
-- Absolutely, Sir. Go to the Santa Monica open market and sign a petition demanding more humane treatment of animals. Start a Michael Pollan discussion group.
-- Awesome. I’ll have a level five conscience in time for grilling season!