A while back, I published a piece called Something Almost Primal, which discussed a disturbing trend in animal product marketing. This industry double-speak describes animal products as being ‘ethical’ and ‘humane’, even though they are, by their nature, the result of physical and emotional violence.
This is, by no means, a new issue, and thankfully, the discussion about these misleading terms is growing louder all the time. The truth is that there can be no ethical options in an industry that commodifies and exploits sentient beings.
The message of the ‘humane’ animal farming propaganda can be simplified as follows:
1. Modern life has put us out of touch with the origins of our food.
2. Industrialized methods of meat, dairy and egg production are unethical not because animal use is wrong in and of itself, but because animals are crowded in factories and treated like machines.
3. The solution is to return to methods of the past, including raising animals in a more ‘natural’ way.
4. The most ethical way to obtain meat and other animal products is to be as closely involved with its production as possible.
5. Ideally, if consumers eat meat, they should kill and butcher the animal themselves, or at least witness the act being done.
Having been a vegan advocate for more than ten years, I know how adamantly people resist being exposed to the details of animal slaughter and butchery. Purchasing or consuming animal products does not, by any stretch, make a person willing to think about the methods by which a living, breathing animal is turned into pieces of ‘meat’ – a word we use to describe flesh when we intend to turn it into food.
And yet somehow, even those who aren’t willing to do the killing themselves continue to contribute to the demand for animal slaughter with their purchases, from pieces of an animal’s body to the eggs, milk, wool and leather that come from those bodies either before or after they are killed.
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