Sunday, November 10, 2013

Honoring turkeys

Ashley Capps at Free from Harm shares “12 Reasons You May Never Want to Eat Turkey Again.” It’s heartbreaking, but no one should turn away from it. Facing this reality squarely is something we owe to the turkeys and to ourselves.

I was struck hardest by her discussion of “humanely” raised and slaughtered turkeys (#10), which involves two videos from very different “humane” operations. Capps writes,
I don’t know what’s worse: the near pathological indifference to suffering displayed by the “humane” farmer in the previous video, or the sham piety displayed by this farmer, and the fabricated narrative of cosmic inevitability she imposes onto the turkey’s slaughter in order to feel okay about it: “They know — this is what they’re here for, is this amazing feast,” which is to say, Killing this turkey is something that had to be done, of course. Except, of course, that it didn’t. It bears repeating: decades of scientific evidence have irrefutably demonstrated that humans have no biological need to consume meat, milk or eggs. When we have plentiful access to plant-based foods, and a choice between sparing life or taking it — there is nothing remotely “humane” about inflicting violence and death on others just because we like the taste of their flesh and secretions. Notice, too, the disingenuous maternal rhetoric: “I love these turkeys…they’re good babies…I’ll miss them a lot.” This is humane-washing at its best, and willful self delusion at its worst. Watch the video, then answer me this: what kind of person would do that to any creature they truly cared for and loved?
Even before I became a vegetarian (and then vegan), I found this rhetoric about “thanking” the turkey for its alleged sacrifice and the like ridiculous. I don’t believe that anyone genuinely believes what they’re saying when they claim that the animals they’re killing know and accept that’s it’s their purpose to die so humans can eat them - that they’re collaborators in their victimization, offering themselves up to be killed. I don’t believe they really hold that killing and consuming someone is consistent with loving them. I don’t believe they honestly feel they’re honoring animals by cooking or serving them in a certain way or enjoying their consumption. It’s embarrassing that people actually say these things publicly. Such pitiful attempts at justifying violence are unworthy of reasonable and compassionate people. We love, respect, and honor others by refusing to participate in and fighting against their oppression and exploitation.

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