Mar 10, 2009

Meat Kids & Slaughterhouses - 4H Animal Child Abuse

Leave it to stories like this that can absolutely destroy an otherwise fabulous day.I'm speaking of an article concerning a 4H animal ag event, a "ham/bacon/eggsale":
The Lincoln County and Cabell Midland High School FFA and 4-H programs brought their meat products to the Pullman Plaza Hotel Friday, March 6, 2009, in what could be the program's last breakfast. In the meantime, a budding relationship between the two programs fosters teamwork and camaraderie. The undeniable smell of bacon (which by the way, smells exactly like human flesh) was the same as last year, and every table was filled with friendly people supportive of a good cause.

Friendly people? Excuse me... advocating the killing and eating of innocent animals... doesn't sound too "friendly" to me.

But unlike last year, an underlying somber mood permeated the room, as some realized that after 21 years the Ham, Bacon and Egg Show and Auction could be toast. (boo-hoo... anyone have a hanky?) Tighter West Virginia Department of Agriculture guidelines regulating educational based meat facilities is requiring the Cabell County Ham Bacon and Egg program (HBEP) to update its classroom at Cabell Midland High School to include meat processing. And that's going to cost a lot of money.
It's always a curiosity that the industry defines blood letting as a "process". If the truthful word is that offensive perhaps they should eliminate the practice?
"Out of 30 educational based food sites, all were in compliance, besides Cabell County," Cabell County Farm Bureau Secretary and Treasurer Thelma Stickler said. Funding must be in place before the Cabell County Board of Education approves the construction of a new facility. The program requires students to purchase and rear an animal. The animal is processed killed and the meat cut. The HBEP Cabell Midland facility does not have a meat processing operation, which means the meat has to be transported from an Ona meat processing plant. "Moving the meat from one place to another creates a risk for meat contamination," Stickler said. The new classroom will be a meat processing operation and not a slaughterhouse, she said.

Now that's good news - that the classroom will not be a slaughterhouse. But a little field trip to witness how the "process" works is in the plan, I'm sure. And oh, the silly worries of meat contamination... can't seem to shake those pesky little bugs! It's almost like nature kind of attaches warning labels just to remind us that animals are not "food".

The program needs $382,000 before October 2009, or this will be the first skipped breakfast in more than 20 years. Some of the students have donated proceeds from their products to the building fund, Stickler said. She is impressed with the students who are in the program, praising their work ethic, which requires them to often give up their weekends and weeknights to bring their product from the field to the auction.

They are bringing "their product" from the field to the auction???... You mean these kids are caring and raising the animal. That's what 4H does right? Children tend to living animals... Beside the obvious needs of shelter, food and water... they groom the animal, comb them, and perhaps even "pet" them. Of course the animal and the child bond... to hear otherwise would be unnatural. Often, the experience ends in heartbreak, tears and despondence.

4H officials, and old pros at this slaughtering business advise that "the first one is the hardest" and that kids will "get used to the *process*". Hey kid! You wanna make money don't ya? Don't want to wuss out and go all girly on us - do ya? The others are doing it... why can't you? What pressures for a kid. It's cruel, like everything else about the meat pushers.

Animal agriculture wants us to hear of the dedication - the "high ground" of the current and future "farmers" who provide safe (wholesome) and abundant *meat products*. I agree that a strong work ethic is to be commended... however, I vehemently challenge the "ethics" of the work... or the healthiness of dead animal flesh...

"Students purchase an animal and take it to the meat processing and packing plant."

Just like that. Kids buy a pig and take it to the slaughterhouse? But didn't the article just brag on their dedication? Giving up free time to tend to the pig? The administrators in 4H would have us believe that the kids just see the animal as a widget. Gosh, the kids I know see all sorts of special qualities in each individual animal... Kids identify with the uniqueness and specialness of a particular animal. They might gravitate to one because she's extra friendly, or cute, or shy, or smart... or funny. But animal agriculture wishes us to believe that it's only the body proportions the kids focus on. No need to look in her eyes - It's her fanny they're after... (right)...
After the meat is cut, the student gets two hams and two bacons. (yep... 2 butts - just like we have) They calculate the salt ratio and do a salt cure. After a drying process, the meats are cured from the salt. After the salt cure, the meat is trimmed so they have a uniform shape. After that final trim, they go into to a smoke house and are smoked for about half of a day.Students polish their bacon and ham and they are judged to see who has done the best trimming and the best cure, and who has picked the best animal with the largest hams.

I bet almost anything these kids would rather pet a live pig than "polish" a dead ham... and if not, you've made them monsters in your own image.

The free enterprise exercise creates opportunities for students to learn real world marketing - (Yep... this little piggy went to the market all right) and business skills. Allison Robinson has been participating in the HEBEP for about 11 years. Her ham was declared a "grand champion ham" at the 2009 show. (Wow)... The Marshall University freshman, majoring in sports marketing with a minor in broadcasting, credits the program for preparing her for her major. "I liked the public relations part of the program because it allowed me to talk to people," Robinson said. (she likes human people... but treats animal people like commodities) Robinson's experience paid off. Her ham brought $1,000 at the auction Friday. (I know this might sound suspicious here... but I've been to auctions - and I can spot a shill. It's also perfectly logical in their motivation... Put some irrationally high price tag on a dead animal part to show the kids that this is where their fortune is to be made... I see right through it and it's sickening.) The Lincoln County FFA Vice President Brittney Kiser appreciates the friendships and teamwork created between Cabell Midland program and Lincoln's. "We're best friends. We do everything together," she said. "We help each other with the Ham Bacon and Egg program, and also work together for the Cabell County Fair. We take all of our FFA trips with Cabell Midland," Kiser said. Cabell Midland student Fallon Black sees the relationship as mutually beneficial, with her school nurturing Lincoln's young FFA program. "We've taken them under our wing. They are our partners in crime," Black said.

"Partners in crime"... finally calling it like it is: "murder".

The new meats facility is projected to cost about $1 million to build, with about $600,000 already donated. A fundraiser is set for March 16 at the Steak and Shake in Barboursville. To donate...

To the 4H groups and all the kiddy animal agriculture programs... Your ilk encourages children to become desensitized. Your animal raising/animal killing lessons numb a future generation from ever connecting with the value and sanctity of life. It spoon feeds them violence and disrespect for beings who have a right to live, regardless of the profits (or tastiness) of their flesh. It normalizes a cruel and unnecessary act.

A wonderful way to raise funds and encourage responsibility for kids is to follow suit in what thousands of schools are now doing. Creating small gardens, planting seeds that nourish in more ways than one. $20 worth of seeds can generate $300 in veggies - without pig poop and without traumatizing kids! And if you think it doesn't matter... that these kids will outgrow the discomfort of the "process" - Stay tuned... I have personal insight of a 40 year old pig farmer who recently opted to be vegan - And that's a story I'll be happy to tell.


~~ KLEM ~~ said...

...rather pet a live pig than "polish" a dead ham...

^^^ I like that! I think I'm gonna have to use that in the future! :)


Anonymous said...

You should be ashmed of yourself for putting down this great program. This program teaches great skills to 4H and FFA memembers and helps them raise money for college. It is a great teaching tool for agricultural teachers. It is ashame that most people do not understand where their food comes from as well the byproducts from them.
How do you get to the grocery store? Did you know that their is a beef product in the tires on your car, bikes, buses, etc. No matter what way around it sir....YOU and your Vegan friends really on animal agriculture every day!

Anonymous said...

I have agree with with the 2nd comment above. Obviously you have no education on Aniaml Agriculture, or 4-H. I believe you should spend your time more visely and become completely informed. I was a member of the 4-H and I raised and showed my beef animals, and yes they were like pets to me, but at the end of the day they are just cattle, they do not have feelings. I also highly doubt that you have ever been to an auction, because you have no idea about the animal industry so how would you know if there were any "shill" as you said. Agriculture programs like 4H and the FFA help todays youth in so many ways. First and foremost how do think this country was started?? From Farming and Agriculture and if it were not for animal agriculture you probably wouldnt be here today to write some mis informed information that you know nothing about. If we didnt have agriculture in thsi country, half of the world would not have anything to eat, and you wouldnt have a carrot to munch on either. I sugggest to become more informed of where your food comes from and show a little respect to those people who partake in helping to feed uneducated people like yourself.

Bea Elliott said...

Hello "Anon"... I don't know if you are one or two different folks but your concerns can be addressed together.

Anon#1 - I know exactly where my food comes from - from the green earth and all it's abundance. Regretably there are "animal" products in somethings which are difficult (impossible) to avoid - I assure you, I don't consume them by choice. Nor would I recommend anyone do such if they are concerned with ethics. I'm sure if we can send men to the moon we can make a tire without animal parts.

Anon #2 - As with Anon #1 you wish to tout the many benefits of 4H but at the same time choose to ignore the downside. Yes, it's wonderful to raise money for education and community good - however, at what cost to social good? Do we really want to encourage a culture that benefits monetarily from the suffering of innocents? I mean not only the animals of course, but the children as well.

As I mentioned there are wonderful alternatives that instill every bit of pride and accomplishment to kids via other more compassionate means.

And I can appreciate that once animal agriculture was deemed a "necessity" - the truth is now it's beome awkard and burdensome. Animals as "food" is not healthy for the body... and it's awful to the planet. Just because something was done once - does not mean man stays on that course... Once we defecated in the woods and didn't brush our teeth - But it doesn't mean that we shouldn't have evolved from tht point.

Finally, the world would probably *NOT* be starving if it weren't for animal agriculture. 95% of soy is fed to livestock... We feed animals grain to make "meat" - Instead we could feed that grain directly to 10 times more people. There's also huge water and fuel wastes regarding animal agriculture. And the nasty methane/global warming issues as well.

All this considered... my carrots are looking better all the time -
Thanks for dropping by.

Bea Elliott said...

Hi Klem - be sure to check back... I really do have quite a story about a pig farmer who has also made a change for the good :)

Shows to go you - what can happen when good folks do some rational thinking!


priceofmeat said...

Thanks for writing this Bea...and great blog! I agree it desensitizes people. The program, from beginning to end, makes it seem like the whole process is "natural".

~~ KLEM ~~ said...

Anon 1 and 2 are most probably the same person. You can tell by the style of writing and how they choose their words and how both comments were only posted 20 minutes apart.

Anyone who believes that animals, especially mammals, do not have feelings is uninformed in my opinion. Does your dog not miss you when you are away? Cattle have feelings, not the least of which is pain!


Anonymous said...

This is RIDICULOUS! Honestly I found it quite amusing. The sad part is that I realize how judgemental some people in this world really are. I raise pigs and sheep and I showed hams and bacons in my county show and sale for many years. If I am to ever have children they will more than likely do the same because I will ENCOURAGE it. Without some regulation of animal species the world would be overwhelmed and I don't undersand why some people will not realize this. If it wasn't for animal agriculture I would not have a job, education, or even a home. Animal agriculture keeps me sane. I Just wish you would not put down these hard-working individuals in the 4-H and FFA organizations. Yes, you can voice your opinion, but aren't there more important issues in the economy today? I hope that you will think about what you have wrote and make sure that is what you really believe.


Bea Elliott said...

Hell again Klem... and thanks for catching that remark I neglected to address:that cows (animals) don't have feelings. You're absolutely right that they do have feelings of boredom, loneliness, happiness, fear, anxiety and pain. Just like our dogs & cats and also just like us.

I always get a kick out of the inconsistencies voiced in animal agriculture - They will say that an animal is void of awareness - yet any one of a thousand videos will show that they desperately cling to their lives. A being who is unaware of her/his existance wouldn't fight for it the way animals do...

All beings wish to live... And whether or not we wish to recognize this or not: all beings have a right to that life.

Thanks for bringing this up so what I meant to say could be clarified :)

Bea Elliott said...

Anonymous - Animal agriculture constantly "judges"... they "judge" that they are entitled to breed and kill animals for profit. I can't think of any ideology that is more "judgemental" than those who decide in a god-like way what beings should live or die, how and when...

And in your mind you are "regulating" the animal species. You allude to the idea that we would be over run with these animals if not for your efforts. Please, I think anyone who knows a pittance of the inner workings of animal agriculture knows of the artifical breeding and insemination to make yet ever more animals/money. To the degree that estrus cycles are monitored and bull/pig semen is a multi-billion dollar industry... So save the argument of "population control"... it's not a sound one at all.

I realize that animal agriculture is rooted in economic pursuit, as were many other unethical institutions in the past... However, just because there is financial benefit does not make a wrong *right*.

Over 200 years ago great financial institutes were based in the forced labor of men, women and children of a certain color. But society evolved in it's assessment that this practice was not in alignment with their values. Civilization evolved from this crude thinking of "slavery". I believe eventually such will be the case with the unnecessary slaughter of billions of animals.

There are so many other positive things agriculture could produce besides living beings. It is time to drag ourselves out of the primordial goo and launch ourselves in a new direction of healthier, compassionate and economically sound alternatives of sustainability.

I've thought harder on this subject than anything else in my 54 years of living and my opinion still stands.
Go Vegan.

Anonymous said...

I am curious to ask you how you know that cattle have feelings? I have never heard one talk to me on any of my time working with them. I am not going to disagree with you that there are some places still around in the United States that do treat animals unfairly. But I guarantee you any Farmer/Rancher that wants to make a small profit on there investment is going to treat those animals well. Why would they invest so much time and money into these animals, by feeding them, keeping them healthy with shots, etc. These animals have the best life possible, and if cows were not put on this earth as a resource, than why are they here, what other purpose do they serve. This country has grown a great deal over that last 100 hundred years from slavery, but those were people.

I dont think that it is right of you to point fingers, and give information about an industry that you know nothing about. Have you ever toured a facility, and actually learned about the animal industry? Or do you simply get your videos from PETA? Because those videos are created by PETA to get your money. I just think if you are going to be throwing around your opinion maybe you should do some better research into the subject, because I feel that you are ignorant to it.

And another thing, if you feel that animals have feelings, what about plants? They live and breath just the same, who is to say that they dont have feelings, and when does this nonsense STOP? I think pretty soon if people like you dont become more informed we will all be eating dirt, because everything will be considered to have feelings.

H said...

mmmmmmmmm dirt.....

fighter said...

go up to a bull and punch it in the face a couple of times, see what happens, then come back and tell us all that animals don't have any feelings.....

Bea Elliott said...

How do I know that cattle have feelings besides of course "common sense"? Logically and biologically science tells us that we animals are all composed of the same flesh.

Animals are carbon beings... we all have tissue, nerve endings, organs, blood, lungs, digestive systems, etc. If we animals are
injured, we will experience pain, and react accordingly. Like fighter said... test your theory on a bull.

Now, if you're positioning that question to mean how do we know nonhumans also have emotional feelings... one need only look to the industry's darling: Ms. T Grandin, who has confirmed that animals feel and can suffer: "Working from the premise that an animal is a conscious being that has feelings, the
autistic author assesses dogs, cats, horses, cows, pigs, poultry, wildlife and zoo animals based on a core emotion system she believes animals and humans share,
including a need to seek; a sense of rage, fear, and panic; feelings of lust; an urge to nurture; and an ability to play." And it's a
pity that Grandin betrays this knowledge by designing efficient killing machines to snuff the very lives she recognizes as "sentient".

And I'm going to disagree that there are "some" places that still treat animals unfairly. I will say that all institutions that breed, confine, imprison, notch, tail-dock, castrate, artificially inseminate, mutilate, dehorn, pull teeth, stick, puncture, tag, brand, tie, isolate, drag, poke, prod, cut, "fatten", "finish","cull",
"harvest", transport, market, "process", slaughter, kill, butcher and eat animals, are treating them unjustly.

Yet, because of the "laws" and the culture in place, all these practices are part and parcel of "humane" treatment. After all, everything complies with industry and gvernment "standards", set by husbandry experts and dictates of animal "science". In other words, if the fox is guarding the hen
house... what can one really believe?

Of course profit is the great motivator. And your gains depend heartily on how well your
animals "perform". Still, I have little doubt that if it was proven that little piggies went to
the market faster or "fatter", simply by removing an eye; there would be no haste in the implementation of this "customary" and acceptable practice.

Yes, the animals are kept healthy until they are killed... with shots, confinement, tagging,
etc. With any means necessary - to give them the "best life possible". I challenge
your definition of "best". Further the principle desire of any being is the want to live. Your industry demands this life for the end goal of profit. According to you, profit =
the animal's "purpose"... and that profit is only realized when the animal is killed. So in honesty, the animal's life matter's little, but his death is paramount.

As far as cows (animals) being put here as a "resource"... the same thing was said about slaves, women and children. Just because we were able to acquire a profit from their exploitation - did not make it right. Nor does "using animals" justify whatever prosperity or pleasure that may be had from their mistreatment.

It is especially foolhardy and callous to view sentient beings as "food" because their *meat* is totally unnecessary to man's health. On the contrary, it is actually harmful to human and planetary health. Hardly a credible doctor will recommend
more meat consumption - Indeed, all I've heard is the benefits of meat reduction and elimination. The planet could also stand to
catch a break from the devistation caused by animal agriculuture. So aside from the blood money that animal agriculture generates - all of the rest is wasteful.

I also refute your claim that I know nothing about your industry... Having seen for
myself, I know more than enough of the industry's faulty logic and cruel practices. PETA has nothing whatsoever to do with my position on animal rights.

Finally, "what about plants?". Please see my opening paragraph on the biology regarding animals. Neither vegetable nor mineral; not carrot or rock, "live and breath
just the same" as (we) animals do. Even so, if by some wild stretch of indulgence, we say: "plants "suffer" in the same way animals do"... Aren't we even causing yet more harm by first feeding plants to animals,
in order to consume the animal? It's much smarter to cut out the middle eater. Gluttonous consumer of all the grains/plants/land and water... the (farmed) animals that are raised by the meat industry. It is much wiser to be nourished by the vegetation directly... And as a wonderful bonus - we could also feed 6 - 10 times more humans in the process... What better deal could there be?

And I'm sorry you have to belittle your argument, by proposing the bizarre notion that dirt has feelings... This is not my contention at all. But it reveals a desperate defense based in absurd innuendo.

I understand that because of our primordial history of killing animals, that it's difficult to
visualize a world independent of these harms. A world evolved beyond the blood, beyond the club and beyond the captive bolt gun. There is a wonderful choice at hand, that advances both our physical health and our spiritual progress. If we are to thrive, civilization will require systems of less harm... not more. A society that strives for peace, not death. It will require that man align his actions with his values. Millions of people have elected a vegan diet to represent those values. And literally, there is no harm in such a choice.
Go Vegan

Anonymous said...

Ok, well I am not going to go vegan. Sorry. I know that where my meat comes from is safe and healthy for me. Like you said we are all "animals" and if we were left in the wild, only the strong would survive. Its just the way of life.. So the next time I get a steak I will be thinking of you.

Bea Elliott said...

No need to appologize to me... But rather to yourself for consuming inferior nourishment and of course to the poor animal who did not have to be killed for your fancy.

Yes, we are all animals - but we are certainly not "in the wild"... In fact, anyone reading this is probably quite safe from harm of starvation with several stores close by that are filled with delicious and healthy alternatives to dead flesh. So you see, we are very far removed from the necessary brutalities of "survival" that you describe.

Yes, please - the next time you sit before a meal that was once part of an innocent animal's body -do think of me... and the life you took without justification.

Anonymous said...

I know that this blog is over a month old, but a link to this site was just recently sent to me and I felt that I needed to comment. I respect everyone's right to an opinion, so that's why I wanted to share mine.

I was a part of this program for 13 years as a participant through 4-H and FFA. Since my last year of competing in the program back in 2005 I have continued to stay active and help the youth of Cabell and Lincoln counties in the learning process of how ham and bacon is processed. Yes I said processed. I understand that you may think of this as killing, however it is actually a process. You don't just go kill a pig and then have country cured ham and bacon. It takes months and several different steps to get a complete product. Yes you have to kill the animal at the slaughterhouse, but then you have to go through the steps to prepare the meat. So when we use the word process we are using it correctly because it is a series of actions.

I noticed at the beginning of the blog you claimed that bacon smells like human flesh. Have you cooked up a piece of your arm or leg lately? I was just wondering how you knew what human flesh smelled like. The smell of ham or bacon is more like hickory since that is one of the types of wood used in the smoking process. Of course I guess each person has their own sense of smell…so to each their own. Also at the beginning you implied that people weren’t too friendly because they advocated the killing and eating of animals. Just because someone likes to eat meat doesn’t make them unfriendly. These are the same people who would give the shirt off of their back to help somebody out. To call them unfriendly without personally knowing each and every person that was in attendance at that event is preposterous.

There seems to be some confusion about the classroom that the program is trying to build. When the meat processing classroom is finally built, it won’t be a slaughterhouse. You’ll be more than welcome to stop by and see what actually happens at the facility. The animals will be slaughtered at a local slaughterhouse and then meat will be transported (in accordance with federal guidelines for safety measures) to the meat processing facility at the school where then it will be processed. There will be no “blood letting” as you called it actually taking place on school grounds.

This program does involve taking care of and raising the animal. Yes the kids are spending countless hours feeding, watering, grooming and caring for the animal. However, the people who take part in this program understand that the animal is being used for a specific purpose. You may not agree with the purpose but when you sign up to do this project you know the outcome and what’s going to happen. I can honestly say that in my 17 years of involvement with the program I have never seen a kid crying. Not once. Not at the slaughterhouse, not at the school, and not at the auction. You would think that in all those years if the experience ended in “heartbreak, tears and despondence” that I would have seen some crying along the way. Maybe the participants just see it as a way of life or maybe we’re all just heartless. Who really knows, but I assure that no one has ever been called a girl or wuss for not wanting to participate. As a matter of fact there are probably more girl participants than boys in today’s program, so we try to discourage name calling. We as humans are part of the food chain and what each of us choose to consume is up to each individual. However, I will point out that meat is included in the food pyramid that nutritionists and doctors around the world recommend that people follow in order to have a healthy diet. But once again, everyone gets to make their own choice so don’t criticize others for choosing to eat meat.

This program teaches a variety of skills that doesn’t all revolve around cutting up animals. You have to learn dedication, responsibility, teamwork, as well as marketing and business skills. These kids go out and promote the program in order to get sponsors to buy their products. It involves a lot of communication with several people throughout the community. They work their tails off to make sure that their hard work pays off. It’s the same as any other business. You have to have consumers in order to survive.

I find it incredibly offensive that you would attack the young lady who won grand champion ham. First off, your response of “wow” in regards to her achievement is completely uncalled for. In the 4-H and FFA world to achieve the top spot is a big deal. Winning grand champion is much like a sports team winning a game. It’s what you strive for. Her hard work and success should not be mocked with a “wow.” Also, to insinuate that she likes people but treats her animals like commodities is once again one of your preposterous notions. You do not personally know her or how she thinks of and treats her animals. Her quote was simply pointing out that this project allows her to utilize other skills learned other than just the processing of the meat.

You also talked about the “irrationally high price tag” that was “put” on her ham in order to “show” the kids that this is where the money is made. Let’s stop and think about this for a minute. She got $1,000 for her ham. If you look at the money that she’s put into the project I’m sure she didn’t come out that far ahead. If she paid $150 for her pig, then fed it for 4 months (which would be around $500 in feed alone not including water), then calculated all her travel expenses (spending several weekends from Oct to Mar traveling from her residence to the school), add in the cost of shelter for the pig and other miscellaneous costs and come up with a total. Honestly she’s probably not making more than $300 in profit and we haven’t even considered the hours of labor that she put in. You want to call that a high price tag? No, that’s nearly breaking even when you think about all the work and money that was put into it over time. So this “fortune” that the kids are making really doesn’t exist when you start looking at it.

You talked about how animal agriculture is a judgmental ideology. You’re right. In animal agriculture we judge the different animals on what is the best and we breed and slaughter the best ones. But that is society. It’s not just agriculture. If you look around today you will that everyone is fighting for the best. No one wants to settle for anything less. I’m sure when you go to the store to buy your carrots that you try to get the best bag that you can find. I seriously doubt that you would willingly pick up a half-rotted bag and bring it home to munch on. Everyone judges in some way, just as you judge the participants in the HBE program as being vulgar. So please refrain from calling people who are trying to create the best meat for the nation judgmental. Also, I don’t hear you jumping on the horticulturists who research every day how make plants that grow your food better. You’re not fussing at them for killing plants and selectively breeding plants to be bigger and better.

You said that you don’t use animal products if you can avoid them. Well I suggest that you avoid antifreeze for your car, fertilizer for your garden that you think would be a better source of pride and income for these kids, cement for your sidewalks, insulation, glue, crayons and a world of other pork by-products. I’m sure you use many of these things everyday and never stop to think about where those products came from. Also, I pray that you never need a heart valve replacement or need insulin. I would hate for an innocent pig to have to die in order to keep you alive. The fact of the matter is that the nation needs animal agriculture to survive. It runs off it. So next time you want to complain about the killing of animals maybe you should try to figure out a way to live without any animal by-products at all and we’ll see how long you make it.

Bea Elliott said...

"I was just wondering how you knew what human flesh smelled like."

I was with someone who was severely burned in a fire... I escaped, they did not. She was hospitalized for months... I smelled it, (so did she). Burned human flesh smells just like "pork". I know this first hand. I also know a fireman who said he (and his crew) thought the same... And I suppose if we included "hickory" to human flesh -it would be a flavor more familiar to most...

Yes, I realize the whole "process" is labor intensive - making a living animal into something palatable. So unlike a real food -like a carrot, pepper, brocolli, etc.. that you can just "eat" without the killing, irradiating, refridgerating, muss and fuss that the meat industries are all about.

"However, the people who take part in this program understand that the animal is being used for a specific purpose." But certainly that "purpose" is not a "necessity"... for we can live fine, (better) on a plant based diet. So the "purpose" becomes rather frivolous - wouldn't you say? It exists to merely satisfy the tastebuds. There's absolutely nothing one can get nutritionally from flesh, that they can't get from plants. So the justification is simply: money & taste. (period).

That you've never encountered kids that were saddened to let their pet pig or goat go to slaughter is amazing! Lots of recounts on youtube and other blogs if you do a little search. Also, I'm in a correspondance now, with a man well into his 40's who works in a pig barn and who has deep regrets every week when the cull truck comes around. Economics as they are... he's stuck in a job which he hates. And I don't blame him one bit. Yes, I would say that people who are unmoved, by the killing of innocent animals, are "heartless", (and unethical). And the myth is out - none of it is a "necessity".

That people who eat meat are unfriendly can be debated... That they disregard the pain and suffering from a species outside their rhelm of concern is a point of contention. These people who exclude "some" (animals) from their sphere of compassion are quite likely to exclude an"other" as well. Thus ethnic cleansing and wars are promoted... A philosophy which includes (rather than *excludes*) is much more likely to be "friend" not "foe". Historically speaking -as soon as there is the "other" - there will be exploitation. We being "better" and more "deserving" will use, take, damage and force our will upon those "less" than us. Hence, racism, sexism, ageism, and speciesism. Sadly, because of culture most of us, as meateaters are blinded by this... But fortunately, there is rapid exposure to these beliefs and people are making conscientious changes.

"It’s the same as any other business." And that's the problem - these are living sentient beings -not sneakers or ipods.

"You do not personally know her or how she thinks of and treats her animals." I know she has no hesitation to kill them... Killing animals who are healthy, and of no threat, in my opinion is treating them "wrong". Dreadfully wrong.

"You’re not fussing at them for killing plants"... "Killing plants" - are you serious? Biology 101: Animal, Vegetable, Mineral... Only animals... have a central nervous system. You may have noticed - all animals bleed... remarkably, the exact same color blood too! You'd think if there was such a big difference between "them" and us... that they'd have green blood or something. Not.

And as far as using animal products - If there is an alternative, of course I choose the non-animal product. It's amazing how every year the market adapts more and more to goods which exclude animal products: There's egg and dairy substitutes, leather/fur substitues, meat analogs, digital photography, toothpastes, soaps, candles, you name it... All animal products can be reduced/replaced. And no doubt, if we can reach into the extremes of space, we're also capable of making an antifreeze or cement that doesn't require animal body parts. I have much confidence in our ingenuity and our ability to evolve.

Finally, many of the health ills originate from the consumption of meat. Health professionals are (in unison) advising "less meat" not more. And if medical technology were not stuck in the primative use of animal part replacements - goodness knows how far our sciences would actually be?

Meanwhile... we are polishing hams... "wow".

Anonymous said...

Since you made some interesting points I felt compelled to respond. It’s interesting that you have smelled burnt human flesh and have corresponded with a fireman who believed that it smelt like pork as well. I will say though that my father (a fire fighter with 30+ years of service) has never came home when my mother was cooking dinner and said “well that smells like burnt human flesh.” That’s the case with almost all of the firefighters at his station. Like I said before, everyone has their own sense of smell.
Yes there are some foods that you can eat without any processing. You can walk outside in your garden, pick a pepper and eat and life is good. But there are other foods that I’m sure you may eat that are derived from plant material that have to be processed. For instance, wheat is used to produce bread but it has to go through a process. Then again I’m not sure if you consider bread a real food or not. It’s interesting that you brought up that “real food” doesn’t have to be irradiated. Many vegetables that you find in your local grocery store actually go through the irradiation process. The FDA approved that process well before they approved irradiation on meat.
Meat processing may not be a necessity in your life, but in millions of others across the world it is. Meat does not just used to satisfy the taste buds. It’s actually an excellent source of zinc, vitamin b12, and iron. All of which are needed for a healthy diet. Some people choose to eat meat to get those necessities and others choose to take them in the form of a pill when they can’t get it elsewhere in their diet.
When I said that I had never seen a saddened kid throughout this project I was being completely truthful. Those people that feel the need to participate in the HBE program already know what is going to happen. I will say however that I have seen children upset at the county fairs when it came time to send their animal away with the buyer. That’s a different project all together and doesn’t even compare to this project. When you buy the pig for the HBE project you know its end result, so it kind of changes your mindset. I guess you can say that you’re a little more prepared for what is going to happen therefore you don’t really create a relationship with the animal. You don’t take it for walks every day or play with them like a dog.
Once again I will say that you do not personally know the young lady who you claim has no hesitation to kill her own animal. You have no idea what goes through her mind as she drives her pig to the slaughterhouse. For all you know she could be like the man who works in the pig barn that you are corresponding with. Until she tells you that she feels no hesitation or remorse so don’t try to portray her as some cold-blooded killer. Furthermore, you make it seem like the owner of the animal takes a gun, points it at the hog and shoots their “best friend” in the head. That’s not the case at all. The participants don’t actually kill the hog themselves. That is why the slaughterhouse is involved. The students merely process the meat after the butchering of the hog.
Economically it makes sense to use products that come from animals. As a society we are advancing in technology, but it’s actually cheaper to use animal byproducts. In today’s struggling economy we have to do things to reduce costs. Not to mention there are more important things that we should be focusing on trying to use our technology for. There are many diseases that cures are desperately needed for so that lives can be saved. I think our time would be better spent working on important things instead of finding alternatives to animal byproducts to satisfy those people who don’t believe in a way of life that has kept people alive for thousands of years.

Bea Elliott said...

Hello again... now I'm a bit confused - on the one hand you concede that pigs are so close to us that it enables medical benefit. Indeed in the way of actual body "replacements"... yet, you find it questionable that the two are similar in smell (taste) as well. (?) Which is it - are they similar... or not?

Yes, I realize that crops that used to be safe to eat are not any longer. Many have reason to believe it is the vast amounts of manure from animal agriculture that is being (legally) discharged on the plants as the culprit. Considering that pigs & cows poop 6times as much as a human - that's an awful lot to dispose of without contaminating ground water and vegetation. Just curious - have you ever heard of the "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico? It's attributed to runoff from intensive animal agriculture. So yes, our veggies are now in danger to be "unsafe" and many are irradiated as a consequence.

Of course I know that many fruits, vegetables and grains are "processed", for shipping, shelf life, etc. Fresh is best - but not always possible... And I really have no problem with this - it is the "processing" of life that I'm opposed to.

On issues of vitamins: eating a variety of grains, legumes, beans and nuts supplies all the zinc a person body requires. Iron? broccoli, Swiss chard, and other dark green leafy vegetables are extremely high in iron. Other good sources include
iron-fortified cereals, enriched bread, pasta, rice, soybeans, chickpeas, oats, and seeds. B-12... Many choose to eat organic vegetables because they don't go through such stringent "sterilizing" which remove much B12. It is said the average person has a 20 year supply in their bodies already... Further, B12-fortified foods include: yeast extracts, veggie-burger mixes, breakfast cereals, vegetable margarines and soy milk. There is widespread belief that (some) people can manufacture (some of) their own B12 in their gut, and that B12 occurs naturally on unwashed (organic) fruits and vegetables. And the amount of B12 required by humans is almost too small to measure.

I have not eaten meat for 6 years -I've never been sick... and I don't take the first "supplement". These days, everything is "fortified" and "enriched" anyway... Granted if someone were to live on cornchips alone - they'd make themselves very ill. But honestly, there's a plethora of non-vegans out there that are very, very unhealthy. Wouldn't you agree? A diet based in a wide range of grains, vegetables and fruits is most often much more nutritious than say someone who consumes a hamburger/hotdog daily instead.

"You don’t take it for walks every day or play with them like a dog." But do you agree that they can be "dog-like"? Capable of a wide range of emotions and desires? And if so, what is the difference between consuming dogs as opposed to pigs? For that matter, cats as opposed to chickens? I have 14 rescued hens -each has a unique personality... and will of their own. Just like a cat... would you find it acceptable if someone ate cats? Given that they had plenty of other (plant based) alternatives? You'd find it barbaric... wouldn't you?

"The participants don’t actually kill the hog themselves. That is why the slaughterhouse is involved." Yes of course they don't actually do the "killing" themselves. The majority of people are incapable of such acts. It goes against something in our core values, to do no harm to living beings. In layman's terms it's called "animal pity". Our species finds it repugnant to allow our fellow creatures to suffer. This is one of the most deeply repressed intuitive feelings we have. It's repressed through our culture, by excusing the act via a "middleman"... the slaughterhouse. We can wash our hands of it, say we're not "responsible"... pay him and we are absolved, and our conscious is clear.

But this isn't actually so. As we know - paying someone to do an act as an "accomplice" makes us just as guilty as if we had done it ourselves. It's just we are allowed to suspend this moral self judgement because it is so far removed... and well, because we have a society that condones it all.

It is not unlike the same violations and atrocities done by the Nazi generals... No one had a "direct hand" in anything. Everyone's part was "seperate and removed" from the actual act. Everyone was just "following orders". It's called cognitive dissonance. It allows us to do the most awful things without bearing any of the blame...

As with paying someone to slaughter an animal... or buying the meat from a store (that pays the meatpacker) - The exchange of money, is the same as the act. It says you agree with the practice... Thus this woman we are speaking of, "agrees" to kill *her* animal. There is an attempted transference of the guilt... but it still exists. She is indeed "killing" an animal.

And in your final paragraph you attempt to justify the use/killing of animals as an economic benefit. While it may be so that a great deal of wealth is tied up in animal agriculture... it does not make a "wrong" act "right". Simply because we prosper doing a bad thing does not make the doing ethical.

It could be argued that slavey was of great benefit to plantation owners, that the use of slaves made commodities cheaper for free men to obtain. But this did not make the practice just. Can you see how harming animals is the same? If it's wrong to do for a penny, it's wrong to do for a million.

And I whole heartedly agree that we should be focusing on a more sustainable future for our species and the planet. With 6.8 billion people to feed, we should be putting our energy into crops and technology that will do such. Feeding animals plants at a ratio of 1 pound of "meat" to 6 pounds of grain does not make sense. Nor does polluting our water and adding to global warming as animal agriculture does. Futher, the water used to raise animals, the fuel used to haul animals, then to cart the refridgerated *meat*, to be stored yet again in refridgerated conditions makes even less sense. Want to save lives? Encourage the world to consume less animals - it's just that easy.

And lastly, this "way of life that has kept people alive for thousands of years"... is antiquated. It's done for. It cannot possibly continue into the next century. We feed 70% of the oceans fish to livestock - Scientists are predicting we will be "fished out" by 2050. That's it. Nothing left in the oceans. "Dead".

Thousands of years ago we lived in caves, and pooped in the woods - Just because something worked then, does not mean it is viable now. Surely you must see the need to evolve - if we are ever to survive it will be in a "green" mindset... not a bloody one.

Anonymous said...

Your are aware that there are many different parts of 4H right? Such as gardening,pets,crafts etc? Not just meat (which I am involved and) and I am very proud of that fact.. i'm sorry if you disagree. Why are you attacking all the hard work us teens,kids put into our projects whether it be gardening,crafts,robotics, meat etc?! Just interested...!

Bea Elliott said...

Hello Anonymous... Yes, I know the many varied projects 4H is involved in... But as you can see, I didn't have anything negative to say about gardening, crafts or robotics. My focus was on the animal agricultural aspects of 4H.

I think I said it clear enough:

"To the 4H groups and all the kiddy animal agriculture programs... Your ilk encourages children to become desensitized. Your animal raising/animal killing lessons numb a future generation from ever connecting with the value and sanctity of life. It spoon feeds them violence and disrespect for beings who have a right to live, regardless of the profits (or tastiness) of their flesh. It normalizes a cruel and unnecessary act."

Let me put it to you this way if you have a hard time understanding why "meat" is different than gardening... If I were to come over your house, and step on the grass... Or pick a flower - You'd have no problem with me doing that right? If I were instead to kick your dog, or cut off your cat's tail... You'd be furious with me!

Why? Because one is a sentient being - And the other is not. You would defend the dog or cat because she or he can feel pain... You wouldn't mind me crushing your lawn because it is not "aware".

Animals are aware. I believe this entitles them to the right to live their lives without being "processed" into commodities.

And as I said, I think doing so "processes" very callous kids into even less sensitive adults.

I'm sorry too if you disagree... But to your credit - It's very open of you to inquire why there is a difference... Keep asking questions... There's a world of myths that our culture has propogated to make use of the helpless... Surely you agree that it's moral to defend the helpless -Don't you?

Anonymous said...

this Bea person is actually kind of funny. I laughed everytime sarcasm was used cuz it reminded me of my five year old sis. lol. Bea you're totally confused and hipocritical. You say you only use stuff that has animal by-products when you don't have a choice. Uh, buddy you always have a choice in everything you do. WALK if you are unhappy about using animals for commercial means.

Stop complaining and pointing out everything you think is wrong with the system. You sound like a hippie. The only reason they started gaining ground for their cause was because they started doing something about it. They went out and made solutions. They didn't just sit there and pass notes to each other and wa la magic!

I can say that my existance is based on the taking of animals' lives. I come from a very low income family and much of my food is either raised by me, my friends, or hunted by me. It is all I can afford. And face it, humans are not herbivores; we were born with canines for a reason.It's a part of nature and connecting with earth to harvest animals.

I work on a dairy and much of the video on the website was ridiculous. They point out the rare and few instances where animal cruelty were found. Those people were punished by law and taught their lesson. We really work hard for the happiness of the cows.

yes animals have feelings and so do I, but you don't see a hungry bear or wolf stopping to ask me if I feel uncomfortable while he stalks, circles, and kills me. Natural order.

oh ya, and 4-H and FFA were a blast! Taught me to respect the animals and to act like an adult. everything dies at some point. Why not hasten it a little bit and use everything so nothing goes to waste. If we let everything live to its full life expectancy there would be so many nasty carcasses lying around with no use or purpose. That would seriously deteriorate everyone's quality of living.

Bea Elliott said...

Hello Anonymous - It is not hypocritical for one to do their best. I try in as many ways as I can to minimize any suffering caused by my frivolous wants.

I too come from and am in a very limited financial fixed income. It is not difficult or expensive to find fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds. In fact, it can be a much more thrifty option.

The animals raised by you... Do they have medical care? What do you feed them? Don't these things cost money? Why spend that money on raising an animal to kill when you could spend it on an economically sound, and healthier diet instead???

When you hunt... don't you spend gas and time that could be otherwise used to procure more compassionate plant based foods???

And as far as our dentures go... Yes, we eventually develop teeth --- That would include cuspids. At that time we should become weaned from milk - Especially "milk" from another species. That's what they do in the "nature" you feel so connected to. As far as using these cuspids - They do very well on plant based foods too. I'd never want to base my ethics in the structure or content of my mouth.

You work hard for the happiness of the cows? Well, only to the point where they "work" hard for you right? Then after that, let's face it... You could give two hoots about what they'd want. Of course, they'd want their lives. Sadly, their lives are of no value to you if you can't suck profits from their bodies - So off to slaughter they go...

So what on earth does a bear or wolf have to do with YOU or me making ethical choices? Your "natural order" is far, far removed from the computer screen we both are looking at NOW. Besides, as I think we've gone through before... bears, wolves, lions and the like are not moral agents. They don't know right from wrong. We do. Therefore we should act accordingly.

Yes, everything "dies" but you're not speaking of death - You're trying to avoid the word "kill." Nothing would go to waste if we didn't breed these animals in the first place.

Finally, you cannot... It is impossible... It is delusional... If you think you can "respect" a life and kill it. Please, perhaps it is you who must own up to reality. The nasty carcasses lying around in the meat cases and elsewhere are all of your making.

Good day.