[Vision2020] Animal Rights, Pigs & "Pigs On The Wing!!!!!!!"

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Wed Sep 6 12:58:56 PDT 2006


Degrees of "sentience," "emotional sophistication"
and/or "intelligence," are often factors that meat eaters
and "vegetarians" alike consider when killing another living being for
food.  Many meat eaters are aware of the well documented and publicised
intelligence and emotional sophistication of primates, and thus would choose
not to slaughter and eat monkey or gorilla for food, and I don't mean
because of concern for endangered species/species extinction, which is based
on a separate argument than the argument based on avoiding cruelty and

The line between what sort of life will be "killed" or not for food, based
on the definition of these qualities and to what degree the life form we are
killing possesses these qualities, is a difficult line to draw sharply.  I
can't count the number of times I have debated "vegetarianism" with someone
who pointed out the hypocrisy of vegetarians killing the plant organisms
that vegetarians eat.  It can be argued that plants have primitive
"emotions" and a degree of "sentience."  Imagine the "horror" those alfalfa
spouts "experience" as you crush them mercilessly while alive in your
avocado tomato sandwich!  This may sound like a joke, but if we are going to
show respect for all living beings...

Also, it is quite possible to kill and eat an animal and have no "cruelty"
involved, except that the animal you are eating had their life cut short,
and the death of the animal may impact other living animals, animals who
have profound emotional and behavioral reactions to the death of other
members of their species, a consideration that is not trivial with some very
social animals.

The venison served at the famed CIA (Culinary Institute of America) comes
from venison farms where the animals are shot by marksman from a distance to
avoid inducing any fear, fight or flight reactions in the animal, reactions
that induce chemical changes the reduce the quality of the meat.  The
animals literally die without knowing what hit them, not necessarily for
kindness, but for culinary perfection.  An ethical hunter who aims to kill a
wild deer or elk, etc. instantly with one clean shot before the animal has a
chance to notice them, is also killing an animal with minimal cruelty,
probably less so than many animals raised and kept for food.

I suspect there probably is some cruelty involved in the raising and
slaughtering of the animals for the meats the Moscow CO-OP offers, though
the CO-OP should be applauded for addressing the animal cruelty issue, and
to some extent mitigating the suffering of food animals.  Animals raised for
food are often not living a high quality of life (crowed feet lots, cramped
conditions, etc.) based on the needs of their instinctive behavior and
social/mating patterns, even if they exit this plane of existence not
knowing what "hit" them.

The idea we can kill and eat animals for food, and avoid the slippery slope
of justifying cruelty to animals, is very problematic... Just as the
argument we now must suffer, do to the appalling darkness we appear to be
descending into in our culture, that justifying torture of other human
beings in some cases is acceptable, also involves a very problematic
slippery slope.

Are Vision2020 readers aware that a common pattern among sadists is to start
with cruelty to animals, behavior that some do not find too objectionable,
then move on to human beings?  An ethical slippery slope lubricated by human
beings disregard for cruelty to animals!  Megan's comments I post below
about the connection between animal rights and human rights have a solid
psychological basis that is not trivial!

Megan wrote:

...most animal cruelty is so hidden and ingrained
into our culture that people simply don't know or don't see what
really goes on. There are many issues that tie into animal rights as
well, most notably human rights, the environment, wildlife and
habitat conservation, and world hunger.
And on the subject of "ingrained animal cruelty..."

Pigs are intelligent animals, as much or more so than dogs and cats.  If we
don't serve dog or cat at the local meat counter, animal foods accepted in
other cultures, why do we slaughter and eat pig?  Is it merely cultural
prejudice to view dogs and cats as deserving of all this respect, to not
serve their kind on the dinner table, while pigs, an equally or more
intelligent animal, are slaughtered and eaten often with little regard for
their suffering?

I think this is sentimental and irrational hypocrisy (or ignorance and/or
blindness) on the part of meat eaters, based on human emotional attachment
to "pets," who will support slaughtering and eating pig without a thought
for the suffering of these intelligent animals, while they will recoil in
horror at the very idea of serving dog or cat on a plate, and judge other
cultures who kill and eat dog or cat as being somehow "barbaric."

"Barbaric?"  The way we treat pigs in the USA is barbaric!

However, these "pigs on the wing," referenced in the musical album "Animals"
by Pink Floyd, an album that has political and social commentary even more
applicable to our current situation than it did in 1977, when first
released, are a different species, resembling human beings in some

>From the album:

Pigs on the Wing (Part One) (Waters) 1:24

If you didn't care what happened to me,
And I didn't care for you,
We would zig zag our way through the boredom and pain
Occasionally glancing up through the rain.
Wondering which of the buggars to blame
And watching for pigs on the wing.


Pigs (Three Different Ones) (Waters) 11:26

Big man, pig man, ha ha charade you are.
You well heeled big wheel, ha ha charade you are.
And when your hand is on your heart,
You're nearly a good laugh,
Almost a joker,
With your head down in the pig bin,
Saying "Keep on digging."
Pig stain on your fat chin.
What do you hope to find.
When you're down in the pig mine.
You're nearly a laugh,
You're nearly a laugh
But you're really a cry.

Bus stop rat bag, ha ha charade you are.
You fucked up old hag, ha ha charade you are.
You radiate cold shafts of broken glass.
You're nearly a good laugh,
Almost worth a quick grin.
You like the feel of steel,
You're hot stuff with a hatpin,
And good fun with a hand gun.
You're nearly a laugh,
You're nearly a laugh
But you're really a cry.

Hey you, Whitehouse,
Ha ha charade you are.
You house proud town mouse,
Ha ha charade you are
You're trying to keep our feelings off the street.
You're nearly a real treat,
All tight lips and cold feet
And do you feel abused?
.....! .....! .....! .....!
You gotta stem the evil tide,
And keep it all on the inside.
Mary you're nearly a treat,
Mary you're nearly a treat
But you're really a cry.

Pigs on the Wing (Part Two) (Waters) 1:27

You know that I care what happens to you,
And I know that you care for me.
So I don't feel alone,
Or the weight of the stone,
Now that I've found somewhere safe
To bury my bone.
And any fool knows a dog needs a home,
A shelter from pigs on the wing.


Vision2020 Post: Ted Moffett

On 9/5/06, keely emerinemix <kjajmix1 at msn.com> wrote:
> Megan,
> Thank you for irenic and insightful comments.  I can see how my
> characterization of PETA was too stark, and I apologize for unnecessarily
> offending you.  I was trying to make a point of logic:  that if all animal
> life is equally valuable, there is -- logically, at least -- no reason to
> necessarily save the child over the dog.  In real life, of course, I would
> like to think that anyone would try to save both in a fire, and if that
> weren't possible, do what they could to save the child.  And I'm sure that
> would happen, but the presumption of a choice for the child over the dog
> isn't, to me, obvious at all when the would-be rescuer argues as
> vehemently
> as PETA members often do for the equal value of all animal life.  In
> trying
> to make a point of logic, I neglected what would likely happen in real
> life.
> I'm glad for the opportunity to clarify the point I intended to make.
> And, as someone who doesn't believe in spanking children, doesn't own a
> firearm, is opposed to  capital punishment, values fetal and post-natal
> life, and abhors my country's involvement in an immoral and unjust war, I
> would be terribly inconsistent if I didn't see animal cruelty as a moral
> wrong.  I do.  I think that, as Ghandi said, the greatness of a nation may
> well be evidenced by its treatment of its animals (among other things),
> and
> I am utterly enamored of my precious Duffy, and my three cats, Louie,
> Rugby,
> and Finley Gunderson.  I don't relate well to people who aren't into pets,
> and I've confronted people before when I've seen them treat their animals
> harshly.  All life -- plants, mammals, reptiles, birds, humans -- reflect
> the beauty of their Creator, and all bear His imprint.  He cares for them,
> and so my caring for my own is a secondary argument, at best.
> That said, I recognize that not all moral wrongs are equal in
> effect.  Just
> as spanking a child is, I believe, morally wrong,  raping one is even more
> so.  In the same way,  I believe that cruelty to human beings is worse
> than
> cruelty to animals.  Since I eat meat, I am responsible for some of this
> cruelty, although even more bothersome to me is the effect of meat-eating
> on
> the environment.  If I were single and never offered meat by people for
> whom
> a slab of steak is the best they can offer, a love gift of sorts -- like
> when I visit my Mexican friends back in Washington -- I would be a
> vegetarian.  But I cook for an Idaho-born guy and two ravenous teenage
> sons
> who like their beef, their chicken, their fish and shrimp and
> sausage.  For
> now, I eat meat as infrequently as I can, and I'm glad it's not an
> entirely
> comfortable practice to me.  (Note to hearty, carniverous men of chest:
> Notice the "to me" part.  My choice, my conscience; you all are free to
> chow
> down on anything you want within New Testament guidelines for conscience
> and
> offense).
> Megan, you have contributed some really valuable stuff to Vision in a very
> short time.  I hope to meet you sometime, and I do appreciate your
> comments.
> keely
> From: Megan Prusynski < megan at meganpru.com>
> To: vision2020 at moscow.com
> Subject: Re: [Vision2020] Co-op meat, animal rights, etc.
> Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2006 19:32:08 -0700
> Donovan-
> Perhaps you'd like to present your findings to the Co-op (might want
> to make sure your sources are legit and up to date of course) and see
> if they are willing to look into the issue more. They are usually
> open to feedback and concerns, and I'm sure they'd want to know about
> their suppliers. Maybe they'd even be willing to switch suppliers if
> you found some that were more humane.
> But, as Keely pointed out, most animal rights activists don't support
> meat production at all, but certain meats can be argued to be a
> necessity, so it is difficult to attack every restaurant or store
> selling meat, and often we must pick our battles. If this is
> something you're concerned about, by all means, address the Co-op
> about it, they're the ones who ought to know your findings.
> Keely,
> I must admit I find your stereotyping of PETA supporters a bit
> offensive. Personally, I have experience as a day care manager, and I
> believe all members of a species have a natural inclination to hold
> their own species as special and important, so honestly I would save
> a child AND a puppy in a disaster situation. If I couldn't save both,
> I'd certainly save the child first. I have heard the misconception
> that animal rights activists put animals before humans or that they
> care about animals but not people, but this is simply not true. Maybe
> a few people think this way, but it's not mainstream in the animal
> rights movement. Humans are animals, and injustice and cruelty are
> injustice and cruelty, no matter what kind of sentient being they are
> leveled against. Many animal rights activists such as myself choose
> to focus on speaking up for animals simply because they cannot speak
> up for themselves, and most animal cruelty is so hidden and ingrained
> into our culture that people simply don't know or don't see what
> really goes on. There are many issues that tie into animal rights as
> well, most notably human rights, the environment, wildlife and
> habitat conservation, and world hunger. The people at PETA that I
> have met are the most compassionate people I've ever known, for all
> life and not just animals. The organization is simply trying to get
> people to open their circles of compassion up a little more and
> educate them about what really goes into their food and animal
> products. There are a lot of misconceptions and myths floating around
> about the movement and about PETA, perhaps you could listen to the
> interview Kelsey & I did on KUOI a few weeks ago, we had a great
> discussion about some of the myths surrounding PETA and dispelled
> quite a few rumors.
> Have a lovely evening. :)
> ~megan
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> ------------------
> Donovan, I wonder if it's occurred to you that vegetarian, vegan, and
> more
> extreme animal-rights groups like PETA find the use of animals for human
> consumption inhumane and morally wrong regardless of the circumstances?
> PETA, for example, is opposed to eating meat, using animal products in
> clothes, using animals in science, and even calling my beloved dog,
> Duffy, a
> "pet" -- she is a "companion," because, evidently, "pet" is demeaning
> and
> has an "owner-owned" connotation that PETA finds offensive.  That vegan
> groups like PETA find even the most humane examples of animal
> processing for
> food to be unwarranted and immoral isn't at all shocking, regardless of
> whether or not you agree with them.
> Consuming animal flesh is an act that occurs only after the death of the
> animal.  Since animals don't commit suicide, and none are processed
> in the
> US after dying natural, peaceful deaths, we can assume that the violent
> death of an animal provides my dinner.  Perhaps none of us should eat
> meat.
> As I've said before, it's something I wrestle with.  But when we do eat
> meat, we should be encouraged to seek out the most humanely-processed
> animal
> products we can.  It may be a perceived need, the eating of animal
> flesh; no
> legitimate need is satisfied, however, by wantonly and gratuitously
> cruel
> methods of slaughter and processing.
> I applaud the Co-Op for working to find humane, clean processors of
> animal
> products, and for the life of me I can't see why they should be
> harrassed.
> I think PETA does a disservice to any group or individual it lends its
> support to, and I'm beginning to feel that Donovan does the same.  I
> find
> PETA's inability to grasp that humankind has a value that exceeds
> that of
> any other created being more than a little maddening; paraphrasing
> another
> pundit, if a PETA member were staying with your child and your Lhasa
> Apso
> when a fire broke out, you'd be relieved for the puppy but concerned
> for the
> kid.  Further, I'm puzzled by Donovan's inability to trust that
> others may
> also hold pure motives and practice their professions honorably, and
> until I
> go completely vegan, I'll withhold criticism of groups that do their
> best to
> conduct business ethically.
> keely
> keely
>       The Co-Op and Mad Cow
>                   Mr. London, last week attempted to tell everyone
> that the
> Moscow Co-Op doesn't use suppliers that ever mistreat and abuse animals.
> "The Co-op has a clear commitment to selling only meat that
> has been raised in a humane fashion."
> http://mailman.fsr.com/pipermail/vision2020/2006-September/034975.html
>        I took the liberty of looking at just two regular suppliers
> of the Co-Op to demonstrate the invalidity his claims.
>                      The first company I looked at was Northwest Premium
> Meats,  LLC. Located in Nampa, Idaho. No website I could find.
>               The second company I looked at was The Diesel Family
> Ranch,
> located in Sonora,  CA. www.diestelturkey.com
>                    Northwest Premium Meat LLC, which is a current  meat
> supplier for the Co-Op, has been targeted and listed on vegetarian and
> animals rights websites like this one;
> http://www.vegsource.com/talk/madcow/messages/1000556.html
>                        In fact,  this supplier for the Co-Op was
> suspended
> for a period of time last year by the  USDA for violations related to
> 9 CFR
> Part 500.3, http://www.fsis.usda.gov/fact_sheets/fsis_food_recalls/
> index.asp
>     as reported in the FSIS Quarterly Report;
>             "On 7/26/05, a  suspension action concerning Bovine
> Spongiform
> Encephalopathy and Specified  Risk Material was taken in accordance
> with 9
> CFR Part 500.3."
>         http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/QER_Q4_FY2005.pdf
>                   Bovine Spongiform  Encephalopathy is also more
> commonly
> known as Mad Cow Disease http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~comm/bsefaq.html  .
> Setting aside the huge potential health issues here had FSIS not come
> to the
>    rescue, this does directly relate to the mistreatment of animals.
> Animal
> rights  activists have made a big issue of this practice for a long
> time,
> especially  since the recent outbreaks of Mad Cow in the United
> States that
> have been hushed  up and the government has cut funding to find and
> stop.
> http://organicconsumers.org/madcow.htm
>             The Diesel  Family Ranch, www.diestelturkey.com  which
> supplies
> the Co-Op with poultry products and boasts a great view and open
> space for
> its turkeys, has also had a run in with animal rights groups for
> snapping
> off the turkey's beaks. In fact, in Sonora, California,  where the
> ranch is
> located, it is illegal to clip off the beaks of birds unless  the
> animal is
> going to going to be processed for consumption, which these  animals are
> going to be. However, that doesn't mean the animals don't suffer  the
> same
> consequences for a clipped beak just because they are not called
> someone's
> pet. Those that have has birds know beaks are a vital tool for
> animals for
> cleaning, health, preening, straightening feathers, and preening  other
> birds to build needed social relationships.
> http://www.metroactive.com/papers/sonoma/11.21.02/thanksgiving-0247.htm
>           My point here is not to pick on the Co-Op as being an animal
> abuser. My point is that Mr. London is obviously unaware of some of the
> suppliers the Co-Op has and what they do, or is not aware of what
> constitutes animal's  abuse or cruelty. If Mr. London believes chopping
> beaks off birds or buying  from suppliers that have gotten federal
> suspensions for not controlling Mad Cow  is not violating animal
> rights and
> a "clear commitment to selling only meat that has been raised in a
> humane
> fashion,"  he has the right to  adopt that personal use definition.
>          However, according the definitions of animal rights groups
> like
> PETA www.peta.org ,  environmental groups like the Organic Consumers
> Association http://organicconsumers.org/madcow.htm   , and the Federal
> Government http://www.fsis.usda.gov/PDF/QER_Q4_FY2005.pdf  ,  at
> least some
> of the suppliers for the  Co-Op are not being humane toward the
> animals they
> are raising.
>             Bovine Appetite,
>             _DJA
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