“Again, if PETA is putting something out, I will always have my doubts - they see things one way and one way only. Theirs. In many ways the activists in this country are terrorists of a kind….” [Excerpt from an email written by a heavily indoctrinated and reactionary US American]
By Jason Miller
Thomas Paine's Corner
For a year now I have been an ethical vegetarian. Last Thanksgiving, I made what I thought was an enlightened moral decision to stop eating meat and to severely restrict my egg and dairy consumption. However, an email recently hit my inbox that presents such a powerful argument justifying the wanton torture and slaughter of animals (so we can please our palates) that my moral sensibilities and capacity to reason have been utterly disarmed. Signed with a cryptic “JC,” this missive pummeled me with points I had not even considered when I made what I now rightly view as my ridiculous decision to go “meatless.”
In fact, rarely a day goes by that I don’t catch scent of the pungent aroma of the famous Kansas City barbeque I still crave—one can barely travel a mile or two in KC without finding oneself in olfactory range of restaurants that prepare extraordinarily delicious servings of non-human animal flesh. I fully admit that I miss devouring tender, succulent sauce-drenched ribs, burnt ends, sliced beef, brisket….As I write this, I’m salivating like one of Pavlov’s dogs tethered to the Cathedral Tower in Limerick on a Sunday morning….
What an extraordinary dilemma JC has created for me. At times I am still consumed by an almost overwhelming temptation to indulge myself in the consumption of one of my fellow animals. Feasting on sentient beings that had endured tortured, miserable existences (existences that were mere warm-ups for the sheer savagery that awaited them in the slaughterhouse) was one of my favorite pastimes.
So the question is, do I continue denying myself the sublime pleasure of dining on animal tissue in order to appease my conscience, or do I embrace JC’s brilliant justification of meat consumption and satiate my hunger with a thick rare burger drowned in Heinz?
Allow me to examine and dissect some of JC’s eloquent and illuminating conclusions:
JC: “I can’t be held responsible for how turkeys or any animals are slaughtered. I’m never going to give up meat or fish or fowl, as our diet does require us to have protein and other nutrients that we receive from these products and I and many others enjoy eating them.”
So forget the notion of the banality of evil. As a consumer, even if I eat meat I am absolved of ALL responsibility for the unimaginable horrors the producers inflict upon factory-farmed animals from “cradle to grave.”
For Christ’s sake! I’ve been subsisting for over a year without said “protein and other nutrients” from meat! I am a miracle of modern science!
And I find it nearly impossible to disagree with JC’s statement that “I and many others enjoy eating them.” (The “them” being animals of course— I would be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy eating meat). As I was growing up my mother frequently confronted me with the question, “If everyone else jumped off a bridge would you do it too?” Obviously the “correct” response was “no.” Sorry, Mom, but JC’s lemming logic is a hell of a lot more enticing than going against the grain and “doing the right thing.” Screw that—I’ll have the porterhouse, please!
JC: “People have to eat and the bulk of their protein comes from animal sources. They have been doing it since the cave man and it isn’t going to stop anytime soon. Tofu just doesn’t cut it for most people as a meat substitute, nor those grotesque meat imitations made from veggie products and then shaped into meat like looking products.”
Now that is a truly impenetrable Maginot Line of reasoning. I can’t begin to argue with the assertion that people have to eat. And the bulk of my protein did indeed come from animal sources for about 39 years of my life. JC is a tough nut to crack! And to think I’ve actually been eating tofu and “those grotesque meat imitations made from veggie products and then shaped into meat like looking products.” I cannot imagine what I’ve been thinking. Hunks of blood-saturated animal flesh, fat, and muscle that at some point in the production process were commingled with various organs, hooves, fur, and sh*t–forget those “grotesque meat imitations.” I can really wrap my appetite around mutilated and raw animal parts that quickly rot if they aren’t refrigerated.