What makes some animals better than others? Or better yet, why do we eat certain animals while it is a crime to eat others? It is questions like these that many people would hope to ignore forever or rather avoid. But as humans, these are the type of questions which define us as better beings and often challenge us to think and act in a way that’s worthy of our better capabilities, intellect, conscience, and hearts.
If only an animal would ever speak or rise up the way many human rights activist did in the past in defense of human equality regardless of race or skin color. Surely we would have massive protests and riots from pigs, cows, lambs, goats, and many other animals whose rights are just completely ignore by the vast majority. It is sad to see that these rights are only applied in favor of a handful of animals, while others are locked away and confined to feedlots where the powerful meat industry obliterates their rights and turn their lives into profitable pieces of meat.
Though it is legal by law, culture, and trade, the maltreatment and killing of these animals to feed the inhumane and greedy meat for profit industry must stop not only because it violates animal rights, but also because it promotes an agenda of animal abuse, exploitation, and unhealthy human nutrition for generations to come. Instead, the Government should partner up with animal rights activist groups and launch a national animal cruelty awareness campaign, impose a feedlot tax to discourage this industry, and create incentives for businesses and individuals in an effort to encourage us all to become vegetarian.
Forcing animals out of their natural habitat and into industrialized secluded lots only to be fed, grow, slaughter, and then turned into pieces of meat for profit is the most obvious form of animal abuse ever. Many people can argue that the owners and companies can do whatever they want with their animals and having them in feedlot is not much different when compare to their idle lives in closed barns. However, remarks like this can only remind us of our own past struggles in dealing with the sad reality of slavery.
As Mr. Peter Singer once said “If possessing a higher degree of intelligence does not entitle one human to use another for his or her own ends, how can it entitle humans to exploit non-humans for the same purpose? ” (Pollan 307) How would anyone feel if someone in my family ever decided to grab my puppy dog and slaughter her, crush her bones while cutting her into pieces, peel off her skin, cook her, and gather everyone at the table to serve her for dinner.
Just the thought of it would have upset anyone’s stomach, because it’s not only gross, it’s also criminal and whoever does anything remotely close to that would end up in jail right away. -Why is that? Well, it is simply because my dog has rights. So we must ask ourselves, what ever happened to the rights of so many cows, bulls, heifers, steers, pigs, goats, or the lambs, Just to name a few? Who decided they are not animals alike or don’t have the same rights as my dog? As Mrs.
Sue Coe refers to on Mr. Steven Heller’s article “Witness to slaughters” (2012), all the workers involved and who are witnesses to all these kinds of vicious crimes inflicted to these poor animals are brainwashed by the government backed meat industry propagandas. They feel they can do whatever they want with these animals as they are no longer considered animals anymore, but merely property. However, they ignore that they themselves are looked upon the same way by the same industry. (pg. ) As sad as it might sound, According to “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” these feedlots are government approved Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations where the giant corn and meat industries meet to unleash their profit ambitions in the most gruesome animal exploitation ever imagined. Here is where the excess of all of the nation’s cheap corn is chucked down the throats of these animals without regards to their health and in order to fast forward their growth to generate fast and massive profits at the time of their slaughter and meat partitioning. (Pollan, pg. 7) Critics might argue that these animals don’t have a conscience and force feeding them fast or slow, with grass or grain, really doesn’t make any difference as long as they are being fed. However, if this is the case, then it should be ok as well to do the same to our dogs at home – right? I’m hoping nobody ever agrees with that. This is why on his book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” Mr. Pollan felt the need to remind us all that “Half the dogs in America will receive Christmas presents this year, yet few of us ever pause to consider the life of the pig—an animal easily as intelligent as a dog—that becomes he Christmas ham. ” (Pollan 306) Also, “Most people don’t know it, but the central claim in Professor Peter Singer’s revolutionary book “Animal Liberation” is that, because animals suffer, they are owed moral consideration. The sort of moral consideration that requires us humans to eliminate any unnecessary suffering and reduce as much as possible the suffering justified by the greater good. ” (As cited by Cannold L. 2008) Coe S. Second Millennium, 1998.
Coe S. Second Millennium, 1998. As if it is not bad enough that these industries and workers, as well as the government itself are determined to make the most profit out of inflicting pain and death to these farm animals, we as consumers continue to be more than willing to enable this cruel reality by not only continuing to purchase and consume meat, but also by shutting out our conscience and looking the other way in order not to feel guilty.
However, “It can be legitimately argued that discussion of these issues brings to the attention of consumers that their food had a mother who was torn away from them, food who felt pain in a tiny cage, food whose leg was torn out when they were dragged from that cage, food who suffocated to death in a net or on a hook. ” (Coe, 2012) According to the book “The omnivore’s Dilemma” pg. 75, Mr. Pollan indicates that the maltreatment, extraneous living conditions, and forceful feeding techniques applied to these animals often produce bacteria which caused them to get sick.
While these sicknesses are mitigated by injecting these animals with many antibiotics, the bio-mass produced and turned into the meat which ends up served in our plates are already loaded with all these antibiotics. This meat is also loaded with calories and fat from all the second class corn already ingested prior to these animals been slaughter and reaching our table, therefore, it often contributes to an unhealthy diet as all that calories and fat is past down to us. According to Mr. Pollan, “A growing body of research suggests that many of the health problems associated with eating beef are really problems with corn-fed beef.
Modern-day hunter-gatherers who subsist on wild meat don’t have our rates of heart diseases. ” (Pollan. Pg. 75) Some would also say that many centuries and generations of eating meat should be sufficient to proof there is nothing wrong with eating meat. However, it is good to know that in a food safety fact sheet released by the U. S. D. A in 2010 Dr. Rostagno said “Stress in farm animals can also have detrimental effects on the quality of food products (meat, egg, and milk). The gastrointestinal tract is the primary habitat of a variety of bacteria, including foodborne pathogens.
Colonization of farm animals by pathogens such as E. coli O157:H7, Salmonella, and Campylobacter, and their subsequent distribution along the human food chain are a major public health and economic concern for the food industries. ” (Dr. Rostagno M. 2010) Though there are many animal rights activist groups and foundations putting up the fight against the exploitation and cruelty inflicted on so many of these farm animals, our Government officials must create a collision to join forces with these activist groups and publicly denounce such barbaric animal treatments. According to the U. S. D. A. he meat industry equivalent retail value in 2012 was $79 billion. (USDA. ORG 2012) Though this industry is considered a strong hold on the U. S. economic drive, Government officials most no longer stay quiet in order to keep generating tax profits from this inhumane industry. It is very obvious that if the head of any household ever see one of his/her children kicking or beating the house dog or cat and decides to ignore it, stay quiet, and do nothing about it, that parent not only becomes an accomplice to that criminal act, it also sends the wrong message to that child who will eventually grow up pretending that is ok to do such thing.
Well, that’s exactly what our government has been doing for many years. By acting as if the maltreatments of all these farm animals is ok and by not taking a stand against the gruesome reality they live day after day, our government officials have been accomplices to the meat industry and have help made the public feel like it is perfectly ok. According to Mrs. Coe in the article “Witness to Slaughter”, though the “movement” is growing, she insisted that the groups in favor of animals’ rights are deeply troubled because their vision it’s only being embraced and considered by a hand full of people.
They insist that the only way their struggles and efforts are going to work is if elected officials begin to have serious discussions and take serious actions against the issues affecting these animals. (Page 2, pa. 2) These traditional practices of cruelty which have only gotten worst due to the massive industrialization of these farm animals, can begin to stop now if our government elected officials act responsibly, become a strong voice against it, and work hard towards launching a nationwide public animal cruelty awareness campaign.
Secondly, the government must send a strong message by encouraging bipartisan legislation that would impose a higher feedlot tax, like the one imposed on cigarettes and sugary drinks, in order to slow down its demand and begin to discourage these animals exploitation by the meat for profit industry. It is a fact that imposing a higher tax on certain product would force companies to raise product prices and stop over production. Also, it would discourage people and businesses as they would have to pay more for meat products. According to an U. S. A Today article “Taxes are the sledge hammer of anti-smoking efforts.
The federal tax hike helped push tobacco use down to 18. 9% in 2011, the lowest level on record, according to the CDC surveys, even smokers who don’t quit light up less. In the 1990s, one of every 20 high school students smoked 10 or more cigarettes a day. Today, one out of 71 students smoke that much. ” (U. S. A. Today. 2012) This higher tax might not stop the meat for profit industry, but, it will certainly deal a blow to its ever fast and greedy production of meat as the strong demand for cheap meat will have no other choice but to slow down.
Slowing down this industry will mean that the abusive feeding techniques on these animals eventually won’t be necessary and animals can begin to go back to a more natural way of living. This additional tax revenue can be used to fund animal cruelty prevention programs, better industry supervision, and environment waste and pollution control. This higher tax initiative together with a nationwide animal cruelty awareness campaign will eventually allow people to think responsibly and consider other alternatives to meat as their diet.
Lastly, in order to stop the unhealthy meat nutrition as a result of these animals’ cruelty and exploitations, government officials should act as responsible parents and set an example by creating incentives to reward businesses and individuals who opt to become vegetarian. Tax breaks for businesses which do not serve meats or meat related products at their restaurants will encourage managers to look for better and healthier alternatives like chicken, seafood, and vegetables parties to serve their customers.
Grants for new culinary innovations which move away from meat eating will spark a competitive race for better alternatives and food preparations. A statement released by the “Physicians for Social Responsibility” in 2009 said “In the U. S. we are faced with an unprecedented amount of diet related disease including obesity, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. There are many different contributing factors to these illnesses and over consumption of meat produced in unsustainable manners is certainly one of them.
Diets high in red and processed meat have been found to be associated with greater mortality from cardiovascular disease and cancer. Additionally, such a diet is connected to higher rates of Type 2 Diabetes. Red meats are often high in saturated fats which increase cholesterol levels leading to greater risk of heart disease and stroke. ” (P. S. R. 2009) These additional tax revenues should also be used by the government to create program partnerships with local community’s health or diet clinics to fund, educate, encourage healthy eating, monitor, and evaluate patients.
Clinics in exchange will provide an end of year meat free diet report to individuals which they can claim as a tax credit when they file taxes. These types of incentives will put the reality of what’s behind the meat production and consumption on the spot light and allow individuals to seriously consider better alternatives, while saving a lot of these animals’ lives. The sad reality of animal cruelty and exploitations behind the meat industry closed doors and the potential unhealthy nutrition in our meat consumption is a clear message that killing these innocent animals is not worth it and it must stop.
It is clear that the Government must play a major role in providing the public with better animal cruelty awareness, one which includes these farm animals, imposing sanctions through tax hikes in order to slow down this inhumane industry, and creating incentives to encourage alternatives healthy foods. However, it is up to humans in general to honestly consider that the same humane reason as to why we don’t eat dogs is the same reason we should not eat any other animal.