Violent culture devalues animals
Drew Robert Winter
Francisco Jose de Goya taught me something about culture. Visiting his exhibit at the Prado Museum in Madrid last week, I perused the work of a man who acknowledged human legitimization of cruelty. Goya’s paintings and sketches documented the atrocities he witnessed from both sides of the Napoleonic Wars in Spain, as well as human cruelty to other species. Little has changed.
Goya painted and sketched the execution of civilians by the French army and the populations’ vicious revenge. A second exhibit depicted animals after they’ve been killed, but before they’ve been transformed into meat; two hares lay, one on top of the other, sliced open along their bellies. A raw side of ribs is placed next to a pig’s head.
The collection is rounded out with sketches of bullfighting, using various spears and harpoons to slice up the bull’s neck muscles and wound his spine before he is killed.
I mention these works not just because they depict acts of needless cruelty, but because they’re nearly 200 years old. You’d think we’d have learned. Yet it seems no matter how brutal the method, no matter how grandiose the scale, we can find a justification for the most cruel human behavior.
Although the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks were tragic, it is nothing new to the world. It is only new to the U.S., which has trained, armed, and equipped terrorist forces who massacre civilians. East Timor, invaded with the help of the Ford administration, suffered about 200,000 civilian casualties from Indonesia’s attack. The Contra in Nicaragua killed thousands with support from President Reagan to suppress a Democratic election. The list goes on.
Yet regional political interests somehow always manage to sidestep the genocide argument for amorphous long-term benefit, usually only to those in power. Millions have died as a result of efforts to press anti-U.S. factions, and are legitimized by officials simply as “worth it,” to quote former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. Worth, by the way, is generated by deception, recently illustrated by former Bush administration Press Secretary Scott McClellan’s tell-all book about the administration’s press tactics.
Killing animals has only gotten exponentially more gruesome since Goya’s work, with the industrial revolution leading to factory farming — intensive production facilities run with the principle of treating animals like objects.
This method, according to the Worldwatch Institute, produces 74 percent of the world’s poultry, 43 percent of beef, and 68 percent of eggs, with numbers likely much higher in the U.S., a prime culprit. About 59 billion animals are killed annually, after being taken from their families, cramped inside cages, and enduring many forms of physical and mental abuse: Amputation, confinement, chronic respiratory illness, depression and psychosis, to name a few. This suffering is an industry that provides unhealthy, ecologically-disastrous food. Eating animal corpses and animal byproducts are casually brushed off as excusable forms of genocide and tyranny since eating meat is associated with masculinity and American tradition.
Bullfighting, a blatant showcase of torture and death, is considered a cultural standard to be experienced, rather than ritualized sadism at the expense of an innocent conscious being.
Goya understood the inhumanity of humanity — without the usual smoke and mirrors perpetrated by the powerful and perpetuated by their subjects.
The reason for this violent cultural mindset is that violence is a profitable industry, lining the pockets of political players. Hundreds of billions of dollars are spent on air-superiority fighters that were designed to fight the Soviet Union. A submarine program proposed by Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., would grant a multibillion-dollar contract to a company based in Lieberman’s home state. The livestock and dairy industries combined receive billions of dollars in annual subsidies to keep prices artificially low.
Only by thinking critically about our values with a standard of empathy and fairness can we push away the cultural and political justifications for our many acts of barbarism.
Oftentimes doing the right thing, even something as basic as condemning genocide, rocks the boat — something we should be eager to do, rather than become a caricature for the next Goya.
Drew Robert Winter is a State News columnist. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org . He is also the president of Students Promoting Animal Rights, or SPAR.
Published on Thursday, June 19, 2008
06/19/08 @ 7:59pm
Only by thinking critically ..
Can we avoid real work.
06/20/08 @ 6:51am
“A second exhibit depicted animals after they’ve been killed, but before they’ve been transformed into meat; two hares lay, one on top of the other, sliced open along their bellies. A raw side of ribs is placed next to a pig’s head.”
That sounds so tasty, I don’t even know where to begin. Also, the true inhumanity in humanity is why the author is so afraid of some of the more “real” aspects to life. There’s no difference between consuming animals for food portrayed as some sort of conspiracy in this article, and the genetically modifying and intentionally consuming plants on a massive scale. Plants and animals are both alive aren’t they? Some plants we kill in order to gain food.
Eating meat is part of what makes us human, why should you be scared of it? That’s the real question we should ask here.
For all we know according to this article, Goya is nothing more than an older version of today’s Michael Moore plague.
Lastly, does anyone else love the meat lover’s pizza from Pizza Hut?
Bacon is delicious
06/20/08 @ 7:32am
I would pass this article off as just another hippie ranting about people eating meat… but to blatantly misuse the word ‘genocide’ is inexcusable. Genocide refers to the intent to “destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group”. And see- I’m non-discriminatory; I love eating ALL animals. Clearly not genocide.
06/20/08 @ 8:04am
Do you know what they do to those chickens? No, but its delicious.
06/20/08 @ 8:11am
You’ll be happy to know that the price of corn, being raised partly by humanitarians, is actually causing a lot of small scale farmers to have to sell their animal stock because they can’t afford to feed them. What do you think will happen now? The larger scale farms, the “factory farms” that can handle the overhead will grow to handle the DEMAND. Yes the DEMAND to consume pork, beef, and poultry. It’s not going to go away, and you are not going to win.
Doesn’t god want you to respect every plant too? Don’t violently till the bean sprouts, or roughly separate peas or soybeans from their pods (families) and put them in a dark and enclosed (confined) environment. Does that sound ridiculous?
I wish I was a journalism major and I could work at the state news and have the writing skills to rebuke every GD article that you spew about farmers.
06/20/08 @ 8:17am
Equating eating meat with genocide is irresponsible. I wonder how the survivors of the Nazi concentration camps or Pol Pot’s killing fields would feel about your comparing them and their suffering to chickens and cows. Similarly, eating meat is a natural way of life, not just for humans, but all of nature. Are bears committing genocide against the poor salmon too? I challenge you to find a primitive tribe such as the Bushmen of the Kalahari, who have lived the same way for thousands of years, that is vegetarian. It’s not our modern, violent culture that pushes us to eat meat, its nature, deal with it.
06/20/08 @ 8:31am
Wow, you’re vegetarian. Good thing you’re not all self-righteous about it. Maybe comparing genocide victims to chickens a few more times will convince people you’re right. @$$.
I can’t come up with a snarky name
06/20/08 @ 8:38am
‘There’s no difference between consuming animals for food portrayed as some sort of conspiracy in this article, and the genetically modifying and intentionally consuming plants on a massive scale. Plants and animals are both alive aren’t they? Some plants we kill in order to gain food.’
I think that many vegetarians would argue that plants don’t have a nervous system, and are therefore unable to feel or sense the moment that they are killed. Animals endure every second of it.
That being said, I eat meat. Do I feel bad for the animals? Absolutely. I tried being vegetarian in high school. I spent most of my mornings throwing up because my body rejected the whole idea. Meat contains many nutrients that we need as humans. Yes, there are supplements, but if you look into every ingredient in them, you’ll find that most of them contain something derived from some kind of helpless animal. Yes, there are special diets, but humans need variety in their diets to be healthy…and vegetarianism cuts back on that.
To those of you who are able to live a healthy life as a vegetarian…congratulations. But, do not look down on those of us who either can’t be vegetarians and be healthy, or those of us who choose not to be vegetarian.
Moo Moo the Cow
06/20/08 @ 9:03am
Please eat me. I graze all day and eat grass to make myself all meaty and nutritious for you. If you don’t then I have lived my life in vain. Don’t defend me, remember all those other things I do? Like release tons of methane gas which could be linked to climate change? Or chew, swallow, vomit back into my mouth, chew and swallow again?
Eat away, it’s not like I did anything worthwhile like invent the iPhone.
By the way, your bodies need the proteins I provide on a continuous basis because yours cannot store them efficiently.
06/20/08 @ 9:09am
The way I see it, those animals’ (especially from “factory farms”) sole existence is to feed humans. If they were not bred and raised for human consumption, they wouldn’t exist in the first place, and of course, its oh, so delicious.
Those who chose not to eat meat (for whatever reason), its a personal lifestyle choice and I respect that. Just don’t expect to convert me along the way
I have nothing better to say so I’ll bad-mouth the editors
06/20/08 @ 9:16am
“The Contra in Nicaragua killed thousands with support from President Reagan to suppress a Democratic election.”
I do not think Nicaraguans were trying to elect members of the Democratic Party. They were trying to democratically elect people of various parties (mostly Sandinistas). “Democratic” should not be capitalized in this situation.
Please, State News editors, buy an AP Stylebook and use it.
06/20/08 @ 9:44am
Interesting. Not quite sure the genocide = animal farming issue is 100% on, but the conditions in factory farms certainly is a point worth bringing to the publics attention.
06/20/08 @ 11:01am
I think that the extreme bounty of sophomoric and flame-like responses to DR Winter’s articles really illustrate how threatened the meat eaters like J-Money and Bacon is Delicious are to a man
s criticisms, insights, and opinions. What, I ask, is so offensive about pondering the morality of a decision that millions around the world find unacceptable, yet we do unthinkingly in so many facets of our daily lives?
Saying things like “oh that sounds delicious” or “I would love to eat that while plunging a bayonet into literally fields of endangered animals” is merely an attempt to be inflammatory and avoid a rational conversation that many of the people posting after these articles are unable to participate in for a simple lack of premeditated thought on their actions.
That said, there are many omnivores that have rational arguments about animal use and consumption that would be welcome and valid no doubt, who have posted or are yet to, and I would love for them to wash out moronic jibes that others have made here.
To respond to the idea that humans need meat to thrive and be healthy, I would argue that in a modern world we do not. There are a number of practices that we did need historically but have done away with in the modern world or we have deemed unacceptable or immoral etc. We as a society find that marriage is the most acceptable situation in which to mate or at least raise a family. We shun single parentage because of the usual negative effects that children experience etc etc, we all know the studies I think. The point is, humans needed random mating and erotically nomadic males throughout history in order to flourish and grow in number as a species. Without that we would not have come to where we are. But in the modern world, we seem to have decided against this type of world (to a certain degree, university especially aside) and we have done better because of that. If we were to still breed as we have done for millennia, our country would not be so stable and we would have all kinds of growth problems as developing countries do.
To people who have had a hard time doing without meat, I as one feel sorry for you and accept you. As I have seen though it is possible for each person to be a vegan and live a premium lifestyle, but the changes needed to be made may be a touch unrealistic if one is to maintain their way of life unchanged. For the majority of people though, it is very possible. For me, all it has taken is one more stop on the way home from the supermarket to get some vegan products, and ordering a pair of shoes online. I don’t think that is too much to ask to limit the cycle of violence that has only worsened since the industrial revolution.
Additionally, I challenge any one of you to visit a battery farm and not be disgusted and swear off eggs, or pork, or whichever style of animal is mined there.
06/20/08 @ 11:04am
06/20/08 @ 11:04am
Well, I honestly gave up after that first worthless sentance and seeing that the author is part of some vegan world-domination cult (SPAR). Drew has obviously never looked at the price for a nice Porterhouse or Prime Rib – I would hardly call charger $25 for a 16 oz Prime Rib ‘devalued’.
06/20/08 @ 12:11pm
“I think that many vegetarians would argue that plants don’t have a nervous system, and are therefore unable to feel or sense the moment that they are killed. Animals endure every second of it.”
Please read non-PETA information before posting this kind of rubbish. You’ll find, for example, that larger animals are usually stunned with captive bolt devices that render them unconscious before they are killed. Deliberate pain is actively avoided wherever possible during the processing.
Carnivores all over the world eat meat every day. I’d like to see what Drew’s suggestion is for stopping the slaughter of innocent gazelles by lions and tigers every day. Someone think of their families!
Thankfully, eating meat is not illegal. Yet. And yes, J-money, meat-lovers pizza is very tasty.
06/20/08 @ 12:33pm
Have you kicked a wolverine today…
Oops, sorry that is animal cruelty.
06/20/08 @ 12:34pm
I wonder how many of the pro-meateaters would actually know how to kill and process their own meat? I doubt most would know what to do with anything that wasn’t prepackaged in seperate chunks. So the the comparison with lions, etc. just doesn’t really apply. If you don’t eat meat, fine. If you do eat meat, ok. At least have the good grace to not belittle the creatures we are exploiting and have some consciousness that that bag of hamburger at one point was a living, breathing creature. Enjoy.
06/20/08 @ 12:37pm
“I as one feel sorry for you…” Thanks, but I wasn’t looking for your pity and am not impressed by your superiority complex. Eating meat is a part of nature. Human beings are omnivores and have been since their existence. Of the vegans that I have met, which admittedly is not many, many are enivironmentalists and naturalists. Leaving how the animals are processed aside for a moment, carnivores and omnivores are part of nature. condemning that is hardly an environmentalist or naturalist view.
06/20/08 @ 12:41pm
How does not knowing how to kill and process your own meat have any bearing on this debate? We’re debating the moral issue of eating meat, not how to hunt and skin a deer. And how is dying in the jaws of a lion or a shark cause any less pain to an animal than one who is slaughtered on a farm.
06/20/08 @ 12:51pm
I was raised on a Hog farm, what is a “battery farm”? You will be happy to know that the Government has standards on things like: each animal unit needs at least 8 square feet of pen space… Look them up.
However, thank you for feeling sorry for me. I like to think of most vegans are “above me” and bless my existence every day. I have also been asking to be accepted for being one of those “omnivores” that you speak of everyday and now I can die a happy man.
But you aren’t getting the point. People LIKE to eat meat, they like the taste of it. They aren’t going to change their ways even if you find and video tape the worst farming operations in the nation (which you do, and we in the farming community shun them equally for such poor practices). We DON’T LIKE self-righteous vegetarians telling us that we are wrong, or that we are terrible human beings, or that we practice genocide. We DON’T LIKE to listen to you bad mouth an industry that you clearly don’t know enough about, and the efforts and governmental bylaw changes they have to deal with everyday to keep people like you happy. And we DON’T LIKE certain tactics that PETA and ALF use (like arson) to try and make your point. Be happy as vegans and vegetarians, I/we accept you. But you won’t see me as a farmer waste my time telling people to stop being vegetarians or result in illegal acts to get MY POINT across.
06/20/08 @ 1:49pm
I haven’t read every comment but I find it pretty insane that college students are comparing animals to plants. I feel pretty confident saying that if you are at least 3 years old you know there is a difference between slitting a cows throat and cutting your lawn.
Eating meat hurts animals, hurts the environment, hurts the global poor, and hurts your health.
06/20/08 @ 1:51pm
I should have worded my last comment better.
A vegan (or vegetarian) diet doesn’t hurt animals, helps the environment, is the best diet for the global poor, and will help ensure you don’t get heart disease, cancer, or stroke.
I seriously didn’t mean to sound self righteous.
I can’t come up with a snarky name
06/20/08 @ 1:59pm
‘Please read non-PETA information before posting this kind of rubbish.
Please avoid posting unsubstantiated assumptions. I’ve never read a PETA website/book/article etc. in my life. It was my hope that my fellow omnivores would discontinue using an argument that is so quickly dismissed by vegetarians. These kind of continuing arguments lend no help to the situation.
‘I as one feel sorry for you and accept you’
Get off your high horse. I’m not impressed by your self-control or your dedication. I would if it didn’t seem like a way to boost yourself up above the people around you. People can make change in the world while still eating meat…you’re no better than anyone else! And I’m curious…did children in sub-standard Chinese sweatshops make the shoes you order off the internet? Sure hope not.
I also want to say thank you to HAM for pointing out that not ALL farms are keeping animals in horrendous conditions. If people are really concerned about how animals are kept…do some research to find out how different farms treat their animals.
Don’t write off all farmers and accuse meat-eaters as being the next Hitler.
06/20/08 @ 2:43pm
A vegan diet can be just as dangerous to your health as a meat eating diet if not properly regulated. Vegan and meat eating diets can be equally healthy if they are properly monitored. eating meat does hurt animals, but we are still part of the food chain that includes carnivores and omnivores. It does appear to result in global warming, which mayt actually be the best reason anyone has stated here for cutting back on meat consumption. You know what else helps, taking the bus, driving less, recycling, things done and not done by both vegans and meat eaters. The global poor, I don’t quite see that. If you have evidence showing that I’d sincerely be interested in looking at it, but as it stands now I’d rather not tell the kid starving in subsaharan Africa that he cant eat a hamburger because it hurts his relatives living in poverty
06/20/08 @ 2:45pm
Drew Winter: “This suffering is an industry that provides unhealthy … food.”
Phil Letten: “A … vegetarian diet … will help ensure you don’t get heart disease, cancer, or stroke.”
These statements show a recurring theme in Mr. Winter’s animal rights columns and his supporters’ comments with which I disagree. Eating meat is not inherently unhealthy. Nor is vegetarianism necessarily more healthy.
06/20/08 @ 2:47pm
Damn you, Name. You made my argument before I did (and, I might add, you made it better).
06/20/08 @ 3:01pm
This Guy: The statement was included to point out how far removed we are from the animals we consume. The closer you are to the actual process of obtaining meat the less jaded a person might be when commenting on devouring a beast. Like the farmer above, I doubt he makes fun of hogs going to slaughter or oinks when eating bacon, etc. So it has some relation to the overall moral argument. Sorry to have to clarify it to this extent but what I might see as obvious may not be to others.
06/20/08 @ 3:13pm
If God didn’t want us to eat animals, he wouldn’t have made them out of meat.
I can’t come up with a snarky name
06/20/08 @ 3:37pm
…or given us teeth made to tear and grind meat products.
06/20/08 @ 4:04pm
Vegan/vegetarian diets are unnatural, and have been responsible for the suffering of children. I’m not being facetious.
In Scotland a girl has been described as having the spine of an 80 year old The cause? poor nutrition on a vegan diet ruined her chance at growing up normally.
Also a six week old baby died of malnutrition being fed a vegan diet of soy milk and apple juice, instead of healthy breast milk.
Vegan/Vegetarians need to stop this assault upon our children and let them eat a healthy amount of meat and dairy.
06/20/08 @ 4:16pm
As an owner and operator of a family hog farm, I am waiting for Drew Winter to tell me where to sign up for my billion dollar annual subsidy. It would surely help to offset the high cost of the vegetarian feedstuffs my hogs eat!
06/20/08 @ 4:40pm
Im very worried about the “mental abuse” that we’ve caused the animals too.
Drew, reality is right over here buddy.
06/20/08 @ 5:52pm
The reason a vegan diet is best for the global poor is that we are feeding 80-90% of grain and corn to animals rather than straight to people who are starving to death. We breed farm animals, feed them our food, and then eat them, which gives us less food in return. It takes 6 pounds of corn to produce a pound of beef. In countries where people are starving to death they will export their corn to another country to feed animals there.
Sure you can be an unhealthy vegan just like you can be an unhealthy meat eater. It’s just that it’s easier to avoid heart disease, cancer, stroke (the three biggest killers in America) when going vegan. It’s very rare to hear of someone dying because of malnutrition.
Any parent who does not research what to feed their kids in order to ensure their kids are raised healthy is just stupid, vegan or not. You’re an idiot if you just feed your kid whatever you want.
06/20/08 @ 7:46pm
to “Larry”…… WHAT???
to “Zeke”…..mmmmmm bacon.
06/20/08 @ 7:57pm
“It’s just that it’s easier to avoid heart disease, cancer, stroke (the three biggest killers in America) when going vegan.”
06/20/08 @ 8:48pm
All of this inane pro- and anti-vegetarianism bickering is fun, but is anyone going to actually comment on the actual article? For actuality’s sake?
It seems to me that Mr. Winters’ overall point is that the butchering of animals (or the culture in which animals are butchered) inures people to bloodshed and death, which then makes it easier to engage in genocide. The desensitization of humans to the suffering of other humans will then lead to a further decrease in a society’s regard for what Mr. Winter considers the rights of animals (hence the title of the column: “Violent culture devalues animals”). I don’t really think he was trying to directly equate the livestock industry to genocides (I hope not), but I think it is undeniable that violence begets violence. And from Mr. Winter’s perspective (i.e. that of an animal rights activist) the violence of our world manifests itself in the treatment of animals.
Common among many genocides is the agressors’ dehumanization (or animalization) of the victims. To the act of genocide, a reasonable response may be to say “Stop treating humans like animals.” I think Mr. Winter’s column says “Stop treating animals like we do now and it won’t be possible to treat humans like animals.” It is an interesting argument to make, and not one that should be immediately dismissed with comments about how delicious various meats are.
For the record: I do eat meat, I have never met Drew, and that smirky photo of his annoys the hell out of me. But his columns are well-written.
06/20/08 @ 11:08pm
What, precisely, is this article trying to say?
06/21/08 @ 7:56pm
“It’s just that it’s easier to avoid heart disease, cancer, stroke (the three biggest killers in America) when going vegan.”
I offer that a vegan who smokes is 10X more likely to develop cancer than a carnivore who doesn’t smoke.
Diet is a small part of your overall cancer risk, so your claim is very tenuous. As a cancer survivor, I’d be happy to share some data with you if you’d like. Many of my fellow survivors are former vegans as well, and now eat meat as part of a sensible diet because they can’t keep up their strength and iron and RBC counts without it.
06/22/08 @ 12:04pm
What I meant by feeling sorry for you is that I sympathize with not being able to fulfill the desire to get off of animal products, and I still accept that it does happen where certain people can easily be vegan, and for others it poses health problems. Our bodies are very different, and I at least appreciate the desire to stop using animal products when inhumane. But I thank all of you for immediately assuming that I was simply a high-horse vegan a**hole.
I definitely did not mean to patronize anyone as many of you must think I have done. That is simply a misunderstanding.
But the idea that eating meat is justified because it tastes good, or because it is done by other species through the animal kindom is rather silly i think. A lot of things feel good, but are not acceptable. We have decided as a society that certain drugs are unacceptable, many many sex acts are unacceptable,etc. I do not buy the argument that it is right because “it feels good” or tastes good.
I agree with the metacritics of this article-post-reply incident who say that this has degenated into bickering that will not resolve at all anything. In the interest of this, I suggest that people who are going to criticize what is written here actually read in complete the statements others have made and not just assume that what was said is the same stereotypical vegan-vegetarian-omnivore row that has been carried out endlessly for so long. If you did read these statements, HAM especially, you migth realize that we have not been issuing any self-ritous critical lines at all. Obviously we believe we are doing what is right, just as you do, and for us to talk in terms as if either of what we (veg) or others (omniv) think and believe AND live by is perfectly fine and dandy would be to render any dialogue moot.
You say that you do not like to be told you are wrong, but to say that I find eating meat is also accecptable is impossible for me. It is not. This is what being an activist means. Trying to persuade others to your way of thinking and being. However, I agree that the way this has been carried out for such a long time using all kinds of negative campaigns is inexcusable. PETA is definitely guilty of this kind of destructive effort, as are a number of other groups that I am not in any way with associated.
BTW, the shoes I bought are from a company in California that produces them using no animal products and organic practices. I am even more involved in pro-human campaigns against things like sweatshops than I am in animal rights efforts. I spend most of my time involved in Fair Trade actually.
I am sorry Benjy, you are right. DR Winter’s article deserves better response. One thing that always strikes me about non-human animal violence, or even human violence, as it is portrayed in art, is the incredible difference perspective can make. A photograph of a battery pig farm is considered by some journalism, by most a smear involved in activism – but an oil painting wouldg with it philosophical questions about what it means to be an animal as we are I imagine. I just wonder how the canvas and medium make a difference in the mind of the viewer and how we interact with a piece. Are our expectations of painting vs photography valid? Maybe that’s a bit off topic too, sorry.
Sean Cook: SPAR VP
06/22/08 @ 8:51pm
I wish comments on articles would be disallowed. I understand its purpose, but to think that that purpose is actually being served is a joke. If you have questions or comments to make about the article, like Benjy, that’s awesome, and please do make them. If you have further questions or comments about vegetarianism/veganism/animal rights, feel free to email me.
This is not a self-righteous, “I can answer all your questions because I’m so smart” comment. The topic of environmental/animal ethics is just one that is way too important to me to see it reduced to nameless shouting. So, if you want actual answers to your questions, or want an actual conversation, please email me email@example.com. I’m not saying that I know everything, just that I take this issue very seriously and might be able to at least give you answers to your questions or responses to your comments which you may not have thought of. There are also a lot of good books on the topic (Speciesism, for one) as well as information on the internet (which can, at times, be questionable, though).
And lastly, I just want everyone to know that PETA and SPAR are completely separate. If you are enraged about the arson that took place on campus a few years ago (and personally, I am very much), be mad at Rodney Coronado, and maybe even PETA. But please don’t assume that all people involved in animal rights are fire-bombers and radicals. Anyone who risks human lives to save animal lives is missing the point.
06/22/08 @ 8:55pm
P.S. As for Drew’s “smirky” picture, I can tell you personally that he hates that picture.
06/22/08 @ 10:34pm
Sean, how dare you smear my picture’s good name. Mr. Anonymous
06/23/08 @ 6:37am
While I may agree with the author of USA’s foreign policies that are ugly, I still don’t see the point of comparing it to some dumb pig in a factory farm. And I doubt Spain will ever outlaw bullfighting. Is like rodeo for the Americans. Not only that, but bullfighting is more than a “sport”, is an “art” like a Rembrandt or Picasso, is “music” like a Mozart’s symphony. Should it surprises us that Bizet’s opera “Carmen” there is the famous “Toreador song” from the bullfighter? Or bullfighters in Verdi’s ‘La Traviata”? But then, the author Robert Winter is quite ignorant of great works of art.
I learn type too good
06/23/08 @ 7:16am
Calm down and take some time to write your responses, it looks like you riddle off a page-long response in 30 seconds.
06/23/08 @ 8:07am
I am so happy that this kept going over the weekend.
Larry, Like I said earlier, I am the son of a farmer, but many of my friends are vegetarian and vegan. I even dated one. Obviously I have no problem living side-by-side with people that don’t eat meat. I also have no problem with you promoting being a vegetarian, but when you step up to the plate and bash my lifestyle and the bloodline of farmers in my family tree that have gotten me to where I am today – I’m sorry. I am not going to sit here idly. I am done trying to prove my point at the expense of vegetarians, but if you ladies and gentleman want to make a better impact you need to make a new angle. Just look at this article and see the wildfire of comments that was broken out about it. I only stood out because the term “factory farm” was used. Try to make your point but not at the expense of family farmers, which are unquestionably the unspoken lifelines that keep this country alive.
I think these comments are great, Sean. Where else can people read and article and immediately post an opinion about it? Just think that someone read Drew’s column and went down the comments and saw that I was a hick farmer bashing vegans (not that I was) – you probably got more supporters. I would rather share my comments and conversations where I know other people will see them and can create their opinion off of them – like Larry. That is an effective way to share ideas.
SPAR is not PETA. Great. So can I make the assumption that every student in SPAR is not associated with PETA at all? Man, that’d be cool. PETA’s name is tarnished because of their previous activities and if you ever want to make an impression on me you’d better do it in person instead of behind an organization.
On a side note, the last time I got an animal cruelty flier on Well’s hall bridge from what appeared to be a homeless man with black teeth, I stood there right in front of him and went through the whole thing to check the sources and by gum, only 3 of them were from the 70’s!!! You guys are getting better, thumbs up. Now just use information with sources from the last 5-10 years tops.*** (sorry that was just a quick thought I had)
Finally, I am glad to see that Drew Winter appeared here on the Comments. It only took 3 days. If I had written a column I would be here to defend it from day one. But that’s just me.
In closing, Larry, No, I don’t like being told I am wrong. But you can’t tell me I am wrong just because it is “impossible” for you to cope with the fact that people eat meat and they like it. Suppose the world turned vegetarian tonight, what are we doing with the billions of dairy cattle, beef, hogs, chickens, goats, and sheep? Would we have to commit genocide on cows cause of the methane that they burp which (I hear) causes 200% of greenhouse gases (I kid, sorry). Would we slaughter hogs because of the toxic pollution that PETA always brings up from accidental manure spills that took place 15 years ago? Could I still go deer hunting on November 15th? (Now that one I am really serious about.)
Ok, I think I’ve gone on long enough to where no one will want to read my whole comment. And if anyone would like to reach me and communicate with me directly on these issues I would be happy to ignore you until everyone stops reading these comments. 🙂
Joseph “HAM” Blauwiekel
06/23/08 @ 9:38am
Sean, first of all, Drew’s piece is an OPINION column, not an ARTICLE. Therefore, you should expect it to be commented upon…either online or in letters to the editor. (And how many times have we seen days worth of back and forth letters on subjects such as this?)
To the column at hand…Benjy you bring up an interesting point regarding the meaning of it. But as Ham and someone else pointed out, many of the animals we eat were bred for human consumption, so if we didn’t eat nearly as much meat, there wouldn’t be as many of those animals in existence…basic supply and demand. Phil also brings up a good point too. Our love for the beef is having an effect to the poor. But I will counter his point in saying that if people in poorer countries really cared for the well good of their fellow countrymen, they wouldn’t export as much and work to stabilize. And additionally, the US still produces more basic grains than everyone else and is ALWAYS the first one to send food aid regardless of what is happening at home
06/25/08 @ 3:22pm
“Only by thinking critically about our values with a standard of empathy and fairness can we push away the cultural and political justifications for our many acts of barbarism.”
I agree with you on that, but in a society that is so secular and materialistic where “the ends justify the means” in almost every aspect of life I think morality needs to be addressed. I don’t know how to do it on the level of society. For me, I am a Buddhist so the ends don’t justify the means, ever. The issue is not so cut and dry in a society where morals and ethics don’t really seem to matter and when money, power and profit are given more worth more then lives. All we can really do is to live upright moral lives as individuals regardless of whether pop culture or society sees the value of