First of all, let me be perfectly clear about something. I am a confirmed carnivore. Sure, I enjoy vegetables, too… provided they’re to one side of a nice juicy steak. I like chicken and fish, too, but to be honest, I barely consider them to be meat. Meat is red, and generally comes from a creature larger than me. Pork and beef are my preferred poison.
I used to raise our own beef and slaughter one or two every year. I’ve done more than a fair amount of hunting, and butchered deer, wild boar, turkeys and even one bear. Aside from one childhood incident where I killed a squirrel just because I could (the shame of which I was immediately made to feel by my father, and which has stayed with me to this day), I have never killed any animal that didn’t find its way to my table. And I have never killed in order to hang a trophy on my wall.
I’ve slaughtered hogs, goats, and various fowl, cleaned and gutted enough fish to feed a small town for a month and I have NEVER failed to exercise compassion when doing so. When “doctoring” my animals (translation: castration, de-horning, or treating serious wounds), I always used anesthetic and antibiotics, and the most humane method I could.
I consider animals to be creatures that deserve at least as much compassion and respect as living beings as I do, even if they are headed for my table.
I’ve been a meat-eater all my life, and I have no intention of changing that now.
HOWEVER… I do know that industrialization of the meat industry has given rise to many barbaric practices in order to increase productivity (and of course, profits). I don’t know if all of those practices can be eradicated, while maintaining the necessary productivity. But I do believe we have to TRY!
The video below is not for the weak of heart or stomach. If you have a weak stomach, you probably won’t be able to watch it. I do, though, encourage you to at least listen to it. Punch the play button, and listen while you check your email or something, and you may find you’ll be enlightened.
I am certainly not trying to convince anyone to give up meat and become a vegan… I won’t be, I assure you. I simply encourage you to be aware of how hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of animals are deliberately and viciously treated every single month in this country. I encourage you to stay away from genetically modified food of all kinds, because nobody really knows what the long-term effects of ingesting such food may be.
And most of all, I encourage you to do anything you can to teach your children, nephews and nieces or grandchildren how important it is for them to remain humane when dealing with other creatures.
Don’t say I didn’t give you fair warning. This video is graphic. It’s appalling. It’s shameful. It’s something we all need to change.
Edit: 5/16/11 I see that this video has been removed. I’ll try to locate it elsewhere and put it back up.
Edit: 5/21/11 I couldn’t locate another copy of that video anywhere, unfortunately. However, I did find another one that is somewhat related and should be of interest to many of you. Food, Inc. can’t be embedded here, but here’s a link to the first of seven parts on YouTube. The remaining parts are present on the same channel.