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Torturing pigs
Chessie
come_to_think
I have eaten meat all my life, and am not about to stop.  However, I am respectful of (some) vegetarians and try to keep up with their arguments and evidence.

Evidence, for me, is more important.  For example, I rather doubt if the chickens in egg factories are unhappy because they are not scratching in henyards.  For all I know, they are in hen heaven (they are, after all, our creations, and we did not breed them for activity).  On the other hand, I have no trouble believing that a calf spending its life in a crate with continuous diarrhea is miserable.  Calves are different from humans, but not that different.  On those grounds, for many years I have abstained from veal, which I never liked much anyway.  (If there were a decent German restaurant I could get to without a car, I might be tempted by Wienerschnitzel, but I suppose I could   resist the temptation.  I keep connected to my German roots by preparing red cabbage at home from time to time.)

I am not squeamish about butchery.  In highschool I chopped off some turkeys' heads for Thanksgiving, and they did not seem to mind much.  In the commune I lived in in the '70s, I never got to do meat processing, but I heard the shot in the barn & saw a dog playing with a steer's skull as preambles to having hamburger for dinner.  Some Christians invited a friend of mine to Easter dinner a while ago, and he got to cut the lamb's throat; that sounded kind of interesting.

Now a video is making the rounds about a piggery in Iowa.  Do not view it too close to mealtime or bedtime:
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/26757660/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/undercover-video-shows-workers-abusing-pigs/#.Uc-KKC53x8E.
(As I first saw it, it included the scene described in the text, in which workers are training each other in cruelty.  I have not been able to find that complete version in subsequent searches.)  Such sporadic viciousness is clear evidence of the power of such work to attract bad people & make them worse -- and of management's neglect of its plain duty to get rid of them.  Many of the other, less spectacular torments are direct results of policy, and are (it seems) legal.

And what is the industry doing about it?  In a remarkably impudent display of bad faith, it is lobbying the state legislature to make it illegal to take pictures without the owner's permission!  I hope that these revelations will shame the legislature, but one never knows.  On the contrary, it is clearly in the public interest to encourage such amateur whistleblowing.  It is far more effective than occasional government inspections, and cheaper too.  I would not favor giving regulatory power over the managers to fanatics, but (after they have purged themselves of psychopaths) they might find it in them to hire someone like Temple Grandin to give them temperate advice.

I am not very dependent on pig products.  I have an occasional porkchop.  What I will miss most is having bacon with pancakes & using the bacon fat for the pancakes; but I have plenty of other fats for that purpose.  (There is such a thing as turkey bacon, but it doesn't have enough fat.)

I expect someday there will be a technological fix.  I would not object in the least if my porkchop were sliced off a cylinder extruded from a vat of pig muscle cancer, or if my chicken wings were budded as teratomata on a bone in a nutrient tank.  I dare say most people would object, but perhaps enough videos of slaughterhouses will change most people's minds.
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I'm a lifelong meat eater myself, but an uneasy one. There are many irrefutably sound health, ethics, environmental, and karmic reasons not to eat meat (or not to eat red meat, or not to eat factory-farmed meat, or not to eat non-organic meat, or not to eat non-local meat). I feel like I would stop—or at least cut way back—but I can't see a way to do it. I feel like the guy on the billboard: "I know I should stop smoking. Don't tell me why, tell me how!".

As for PETA, I'm thoroughly conflicted for reasons nothing to do with their smarmy billboards and misdirected shock tactics. On the one hand, they expose hideous abuses such as this what you've linked. On the other hand, this.

Well, as to _that_, I don't think animals have a right to live either, tho, as Orwell remarks in "Shooting an Elephant", "Somehow it always seems worse to kill a _large_ animal". It may well be that in killing those strays, PETA is doing the best it can.

It's not a right-to-life issue for me, it's a lying-thru-the-teeth issue with what looks like a large side dish of cruelty.

Edited at 2013-07-06 10:48 pm (UTC)

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