So B and I have both been reading the new book by Jonathan Safron Foer, "Eating Animals," and by "have been reading" I mean I obsessively poured over every single page in about two days because I just couldn't turn my head away, the same way you sit through those gory horror movies pretending to shield your eyes every time some poor moron gets a cleaver to the jugular but really you just can't stop looking because HOLY SHIT, YA'LL. This shit is DISGUSTING. It puts the lotion in the basket.
Yeah. It was kind of like that. DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU'RE EATING?!
I've been sitting on the post for a few days, skimming over particularly horrendous passages from the book that I wanted to share here. The ones that would turn your stomach. The ones that made B put his head between his knees because he thought he was going to blow chunks all over our living room. The ones that horrified me and made me angry at myself and at all those people who allowed it to get to this point where no one wants to know where their hamburger comes from because they don't care and they're going to eat it anyway thankyouverymuch. Or if you do care, the paragraphs that would make you feel like the biggest asshole on the planet for even considering putting a hotdog in your mouth ever again.
Because I think people need to know. And as someone who writes words that occsionally get read
Throughout the book, Foer also examines the question of eating meat from a practical standpoint. Why would you want to give up something that means so much to you for reasons beyond just "eating?" Thanksgiving turkey at your grandparents. Seven fishes on Christmas Eve. Family barbeques in the backyard. What are those moments without that meat? At what point does eating become more than nourishing yourself?
Because he hopes, and so do I, that by learning about the way these animals live and die before they ever make it to your plate, you will care. Is a life filled with suffering and disease followed by a gruesome, painful death worth more than your ham sandwich?
But these animals -- these cows and chickens and pigs -- are different than our other domesticated animals -- our dogs and cats and horses. They are dumb, you think. They don't know any better, you say. Did you know that pigs are as intelligent as dogs? That they love to play, thrive with mental stimulation, and seek affection?
What would you do if you heard of a factory filled with thousands of caged dogs -- diseased and dying from lack of care; crazed from lack of social interaction and the ability to move, to even turn around in their confinement; with bones that are too brittle to support their weight; covered in painful open sores; never having stepped foot in grass or felt the sun or heard anything besides the buzzing of the artificial lights designed to control their gestation periods, the screaming of their neighbors, and the churning of the fans that, if stopped, would lead to the suffocation of every living creature present within minutes because of the amount of gases and pollution produced from such an environment? And I'm not even gonna get into the damage we've done to the environment.
You must know: This is not necessary to create meat. Humans have nourished themselves with meat for thousands of years. Factory farming however, is relatively new. Our grandparents didn't eat meat from factory farms. Our parents might not have either. But we do. And we have a responsibility because of that.
The price of meat has only slightly increased over the past 50 years (about 30 percent). While the price of everything else -- cars, home, clothes -- have increased by up to 140,000 percent. Because by taking these animals out of the pastures and stacking them in cages so small they cannot turn around; by altering them so significantly that those that survive suffer from horrible birth defects, deformities, and disease; by branding them, pulling out their teeth, chopping off their tails, and pulling off their beaks without anesthetic (because anesthetic costs money and they already spend money on antibiotics to keep the animals alive in such deplorable conditions long enough to kill them), the production of meat is faster and cheaper than ever before.
I'm also not going to get in to exactly how these animals are slaughtered because I just ate my breakfast, yo, and I'd like to keep it in my stomach. You're welcome. But I will say this: It is violent. It is painful. It is often inaccurate, leading to prolonged suffering. And it implores the use of tools and techniques you assumed were thought up by the sick minds that bring you movies about horror and torture. Where do you think these cinematic sickos got their ideas, after all?
One more time for effect: What if you learned a dog had been skinned alive and left on the feces-covered floor to finish dying?
I'm sorry, I had to.
We don't have to stop eating meat. But being as over 99 percent of meat sold today comes from factory farms, it would be hard not too. But there's always free range, right? Actually, when that package of bacon says "free range," it simply means the animals had "access to outdoors," and that in almost all of those cases "access to outdoors" means there was a window in the factory that lead to outside? Tricky bastards, no?
But again, we don't have to stop eating meat. But we can take responsibility and demand better meat. Meat that is actually meat, not cuts that've been injected with so much water and flavoring that it quadruples the actual weight of the flesh. Meat that comes from a real farm, that lived a real life, and that was slaughtered humanely.
Or we can just preheat the oven to 425 degrees and continue doing what we've done for the past 50 years.
I made the decision to not eat meat anymore. I could write a book about why I made this choice, but Jonathon Safron Foer already did. And don't think this will be easy. There's nothing I enjoy more than a juicy cheeseburger with some lettuce, tomato, onion, and extra katchup. So now, I'm just asking you to take responsibility too. To make smart decisions about the food you choose to nourish yourself. To know where it comes from and why. And to decide what that drum stick is worth to you. A moment on the lips, forever on your conscious's hips. Don't have a fat conscious. GET IT?!
Just think about and don't be an asshole, okay? GAD!
WOOF! I feel so much better now that THAT's out there. It was like holding in a fart all week. It was all I could think about and it was getting rul, rul uncomfortable. I'm sorry if it smells, but you're gonna have to live with it now. Enjoy your cheeseburger, you murderous murdering murder assholes!
We now return to our regularly scheduled Yellaphant program: WHO'S GETTIN' SHITTY WITH ME TOMORROW NIGHT?!?! SHOTS ON ME! God, that feels good.Tweet