[Vision2020] Animal Rights and Pigs

Donovan Arnold donovanjarnold2005 at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 6 19:34:12 PDT 2006

 Thanks for your insightful comments. I think there is  another factor however, regarding why humans don't torture or agree  with unnecessary cruelty and harm to animals. That reason being that it  is lessens human compassion to other humans. The number one sign, in  most children and adults with behavioral and emotional issues is  mistreatment of animals. Boys that torture neighborhood pets like dogs,  and creatures like squirrels almost always have behavioral issues and  trouble relating to others when they  grow up.  
 I  oppose animal torture, primarily, not for the right of the animal, but  to maintain the humanity of humans. The closer someone gets to  torturing an animal closer to them genetically, the closer they get to  doing harm to other humans. 
 Plants, with RNA, and bacterium  are not at all like us, so that is a far cry from becoming insensitive  to animals and other humans. Go up the chain to flies, insects, you are  still a far cry from people. Next, it is actually harder to kill  amphibians, birds, and fish. They have eyes, bleed, and we can see  their philological reactions to outside stimulus, mainly fear and pain.  Then we move up to the next level of killing, which is larger mammals  that are closer to us, deer, cows, elk, bears, etc. There are very  clear anatomical and genetic similarities to these animals and us.  Next, there is killing animals we connect to on a much more closer  level, that would include, pigs, cats, dogs, chimps, apes, etc. 
  Finally, there is the killing of other humans. 
  I think  vegetarians are  people that  draw the line at  a different  place then meat-eaters. I  for one don't like  eating  pig, because I think 97% genetically identical to humans  is just too close for me. I also think the squealing of a pig sounds  eerily like the squealing of a human.  I also know that they  comprehend  and fear death and pain.  Other animals,  like  fish,  birds, and cattle don't comprehend death, and  are far enough different for me to be able to draw a distinction   between them and another human. 
 I don't agree with the  "Theory of Mind" of vegetarians. I don't think fish,  birds,   and cows  think, "Oh sh*t! I am going die, someone please help  me!", Or "Please get me out of this pen, it is too small, I need some  fresh air out in the countryside."  I don't think they have that  level of comprehension or self actualization. I think vegetarians think  that they do. Most animals only feel pain and fear for the purposes of  survival, they don't think about it, or comprehend its intent, comfort  other beings that experience it, or attempt to deal with the situation.  They run, swim, fly, hop, jump, slither, purely out of instinct. 
  Vegetarians, I think are simply drawing the line at a further distance  from them then meat-eaters. Some draw it at fish, some below that line.  Some do it for health reasons, and some do it for ecological reasons,  both those reasons I agree with. Where someone draws the line of what  is too close to a human being to kill I think is entirely up to the  individual, and their comfort level. If someone enjoys torturing  animals for enjoyment, they are psychologically unstable. But I think  their is a difference between killing animals for food, killing for  sport, and killing for the pleasure. 
Ted Moffett <starbliss at gmail.com> wrote:  All-
  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 suffering. 
  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 respects:  
  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   

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.


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 

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.

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. :)

Donovan, I wonder if it's occurred to you that vegetarian, vegan, and
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  
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 
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  
products we can.  It may be a perceived need, the eating of animal 
flesh; no
legitimate need is satisfied, however, by wantonly and gratuitously
methods of slaughter and processing.

  I applaud the Co-Op for working to find humane, clean processors of
products, and for the life of me I can't see why they should be
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 
PETA's inability to grasp that humankind has a value that exceeds
that of
any other created being more than a little maddening; paraphrasing  
pundit, if a PETA member were staying with your child and your Lhasa 
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.



      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."

       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
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;
                        In fact,  this supplier for the Co-Op was 
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/
    as reported in the FSIS Quarterly Report;

            "On  7/26/05, a  suspension action concerning Bovine 
Encephalopathy and Specified  Risk Material was taken in accordance  
with 9
CFR Part 500.3."
                  Bovine  Spongiform  Encephalopathy is also more
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.
rights  activists have made a big issue of this practice for a long  
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

            The Diesel  Family Ranch, www.diestelturkey.com    which
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 
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  
consequences for a clipped beak just because they are not called
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.

          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
fashion,"  he has the right to  adopt that personal use definition.
         However, according the definitions of animal rights groups   
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,

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