Wednesday, January 16, 2008

How Can They Even Sell Hamburgers!

Here's a public service announcement from the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine:

Nice, huh?

Changing the subject a bit, it occurred to me after watching this how I never walk through the animal flesh section of the grocery store anymore (sometimes it's unavoidable depending on what store I'm at, but I never slow down to look at the carcasses and severed bone and muscle). It's almost like the whole meat section doesn't exist.

I think about Anna. She goes to the store with me on occasion. When we get groceries we are confronted with the exact thing we oppose: animal exploitation. I'm not sure how I'm going to deal with it as she gets older. I'll try to make a lesson out of it, I guess. But depending on how emotional she is and her ability to empathize, I could see some seriously difficult moments at the grocery store. Four aisles of dead animals. Damn.

Anyway, there's the reality that a lot of stuff you find in the grocery store is just crap. It's bad for you, it's bad for the environment it's bad for the animals who eventually became those nuggets people buy or suffered to produce the milk people drink. Not everything vegan is good for you (or the environment). I'm not suggesting that. But non-vegan stuff is almost always waaaaay worse.


Tracy said...

I find that in some stores the animal-flesh section (I like that you call it that) smells disgusting.

Al said...

Oh, tell me about it. Especially Whole Foods, that whole place smells like fish and rotting flesh.

And really, when you think about it, all stores that sell animal flesh should smell like that, but most don't because the meat is all hermetically sealed. But the deli in the big huge grocery store close to us doesn't smell, and I suspect that it has to do with the age and type of flesh. It's probably pumped with more preservatives (salt, I would think) than the flesh at Whole Foods (if I'm wrong about this, someone please correct me). Doesn't make Whole Foods any better (flesh is flesh), just makes it smell nasty.

Peace, Love and Veganism said...

Hoo boy! You described my dilemma completely! I am forced to walk through an aisle of bloody, creepy meat products every time I go to our regular grocery store, and then I wonder how I'm going to talk about it with my future children. I also teach Kindergarten, and I find the kids are so horrified when I read a story about animals getting hurt or killed (like in stories about the 'past'), but they don't make the connect between the food and the animals quite yet. I know I can't make a big deal out of it because of my job, but I do talk a lot about how healthy veggies and fruit are for you and how much I love them! I had one veggie girl in all my years. It is also creepy to hear them talk about meat, especially at Thanksgiving, when they say, "I love turkey, yum, yum!" and all I can think of is how blood-thirsty they sound! Plus, the picture books about farms are so fake and glossy with healthy, happy animals running around in the grass - it makes me sick! Sigh.... sorry for the negativity! BTW- I heard your comments on Vegan Freak Radio and love your blog!

Al said...

PL&V, congratulations on being a Kindergarten teacher. There needs to be more vegan Kindergarten teachers out there.

And yeah, it's frightening to see the cognitive dissonance even in 5 year olds. We go to an Early Childhood Education program and I see it in the older kids too. I hate that I visualize cruelty when I a this cute little kid talking about how they love eating this animal or that. I mean, it's not their fault they eat it. I just wonder, will my daughter want to be friends with meat eaters? I sort of hope so, otherwise she may not have many friends.

I'm rambling. I should save this stuff for a post anyway.

Britta Trygstad said...

Al, you forget you are friends with meat eaters. It is inevitable that Anna will eventually be friends with kids who eat meat too.

And, by the way, people who choose to eat animal products aren't evil, at least I hope not.

Al said...

Yeah, you're right. Anna will have cousins and faux-cousins who eat animals. I know she'll be friends with them. And she'll probably make friends with other people who eat animals, too. Fine by me. In fact, I'd be a little concerned if she only hung out with vegans.

She'll know from an early age why she doesn't eat animals. We'll spare her the more gruesome details, but she'll know.

The case is different with me being friends with animal eaters, because I used to be one. I lived 20-some years of my life as a full fledged animal eater. I guess part of me worries that Anna, who probably won't be an animal eater, may have a much different outlook than I do (part of me also hopes this).

I use my edit button all the time. But I wonder if that's because I used to eat animals. I wasn't a bad person when I ate animals (that's not to say that I don't think I'm a better person now). I don't think the people I know who eat animals are bad people. Do I wish they would stop eating animals? You betcha. But are they evil? I wouldn't say so. Sorry if I made it sound like I thought they (you) were.

But I think that the larger social construct of animal exploitation is, for lack of a better word, evil (there has to be a better word, I'm just drawing a blank right now). People can participate in an accepted action which causes the suffering of sentient beings without fully understanding or being fully responsible for it. Slave-owners weren't evil. The people who tried to keep women from voting weren't evil. The people who used to commit the generally accepted practice of shooting stray dogs or drowning them in rivers weren't evil. In some countries, eating dogs isn't evil. In others, female genital mutilation isn't evil.

These acts were/are all accepted in the cultures they exist within. The structure of society is one in which the immoral act is not recognized as such until a large enough minority takes the majority kicking and screaming into a more compassionate, less-bloodied approach to life (civil rights, suffrage, animal cruelty laws).

Not that I'm comparing animal eaters to those people. I'm just ... well, OK, fine, I guess I'm comparing. But I'm not comparing the deed, I'm just saying that well intentioned people have subjugated...

Meh. You get the point. I love you and your husband and all of my friends. I think you're great people. I just don't get behind your choice to eat animals.