Ok, cue another rant.
If there’s one front-runner in the arguments carnists make to alleviate their guilt about eating meat, dairy and eggs, it’s that old gem “I only choose free-range, humane options”. Now, it can be argued that there is such thing as free-range but let’s be real here, that pretty much only applies to people living near tiny farms who can literally see the animals grazing or roaming. Even then, there are still serious ethical and moral implications. There may be cows grazing in beautiful idyllic pastures, but the fact remains that to get milk out of them you still have do the same as any factory farm would, just on a smaller scale and ok, yes, usually with a little less horror. It still isn’t right. Those piggies frolicking in the field – they still get killed.
The thing that really gets me though, is the term ‘humane meat’. This is one I hear so often and every time I do, it disappoints me, for more than one reason.
I don’t need to point out the glaring oxymoron here. But I do feel the need to point out that it is a plain and simple moron who believes in this term. There is no such thing. There is no “humane” way to kill something that does not want to die. I’ve had every interpretation of this term put to me. I’ve had people tell me they’ve seen videos of cows lying with their heads on some kind human’s lap as they stroke them into a meditative calm state…RIGHT BEFORE THEY BOLT THEM THROUGH THE HEAD. And apparently, that’s OK. I’ve had people tell me they have friends whose sole responsibility is to assure animals are “killed humanely”. But you know what floors me the most? It’s the fact that these people aren’t ignorant. They’re not unintelligent. Yet they still spout this nonsense. They don’t believe it – it’s their way of lessening the burden of guilt about paying people to (completely unnecessarily) take innocent lives to fill their faces, but this cognitive dissonance is just no longer any kind of excuse. Animal welfare issues are in our faces all the time. No one can plead ignorance any more, at least certainly not when it comes to the meat industry.
Get into it, or smile and wave?
I choose the latter these days. I used to try and shine a light on the logic fail but after many (many) instances of irrelevant justification, like, “They don’t have it as bad as fur farm foxes or Yulin Festival dogs” I have stopped trying. For now.
There are degrees of cruelty in the animal agriculture industry, but that is the only distinction I’ll make. And those degrees range from ‘really cruel’ to ‘heinously cruel’. There is no cruelty-free option, but evidently ‘really cruel’ as opposed to ‘heinously cruel’ makes the former acceptable to meat eaters because “it could be worse”. It could be, sure. It could also be much better if you stopped funding murder. But to call any of it ‘humane’ is just not going to wash. Like I said above, I don’t tend to get into it when I know it’s a lost cause but I will often ask (after I’ve had someone tell me how happy a cow was in a field) “So then what happened?”. I just say this to attempt to make people describe the death of the happy animal they were talking about in the hopes it dawns on them how wrong it is. It disappoints me how many respond with “a quick bolt through the head – no suffering”. How desensitised or disconnected do you have to be to think that’s OK?