Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The dark horse

In Genesis it says that man has dominion over all the animals on earth.

It’s quite the convenient belief. And it’s been used to argue against everything from Earth Day to laws preventing the beaks of live chickens from being cut off in order that more of them can be crammed into a cage. Personally, I believe that man makes his gods in his own image, and so it’s no surprise that the god of most Christians is pretty much an misanthropic critter-shootin’ asshole.

Don’t get me wrong, though, I don’t anthropomorphize animals. Not like that woman who claims that her dog told her she had cancer.

Apparently there is a legitimate medical basis for dogs detecting cancer by smelling cancerous cells in urine or even possibly in human respiration. But this woman believes that her dog let her know she had breast cancer by smelling her breath, looking sad, and then nudging the infected breast. But how did the dog know it was breast cancer, and how did he know where the lump was, by rubbing up against her? If that’s how dogs indicate cancer, then there must be something really horribly wrong with my right leg.

The nurse who broke the cancerous news to the woman in the story told her that it was not uncommon for her patients to tell her that they had already been diagnosed by their dogs. What the nurse doesn’t say, however, is how many patients react to the news that they do NOT have cancer by saying “that’s strange, because my asshole dog told me that I DID!

And speaking of asshole dogs, the woman also had a 2nd dog who was completely oblivious to her ordeal. Now, if you think that dogs know when you have cancer, how can you continue to live with a pooch who knows you have it, and yet doesn’t give a shit? I mean, what a douchebag, right?

I’m not sure that dogs are any good at medicine, but I know there’s one thing dogs are really, really, good at, and that is getting humans to think whatever we need to think about them in order for us to want to give them more biscuits.

Another thing they’re good at, is bearing the suffering that humans inflict upon them. All animals are. Horses are being affected by our current economic woes more seriously than other animals because they are expensive to care for. Consequently, more and more of them are being criminally neglected. More and more of them are being sent to auctions where they are purchased by “killer buyers” and shipped, under horrific conditions, to slaughterhouses in Mexico and Canada.

Horse meat is not eaten in the United States, but until recently, horses were slaughtered here, and their meat was exported. In 2007, the last slaughterhouse in this country was shut down, but pressure from foreign importers on legislators has increased, and there have been several attempts to revive equine slaughterhouses in the US. And now, a Republican state rep from Montana, Ed Butcher (I know), has introduced new legislation in his state under the guise of pretending to give a shit about the suffering of horses.

Yes, that’s right, he says that slaughtering old, sick & neglected horses is the “humane” way to dispose of them.

If there’s anyone out there who isn’t informed enough to know that even the best slaughterhouse makes a mockery of the word “humane,” then there are plenty of places you can go online to be disposed of your ignorance.

In fact, if you ask me, we should come up with a new word for “humane,” one that isn’t based on “human,” because we have no right to claim that concern for suffering, or sympathy for the conditions of other species, are qualities that we collectively possess.

But if you do care about horses, and think they are beautiful, and can’t imagine them receiving the kind of treatment we usually reserve for cows, pigs, chickens, and goats, then you should support H.R. 503, which would end not only the slaughter, but also the export for slaughter, of horses in the United States. Horse owners would be encouraged to put down their animals humanely, like dogs and cats are. When you think about the lifetime of service they give to us, it is almost literally the least we can do.

Also, think about eating less meat. You don’t have to stop. It’s not about being perfect. None of us is perfect.*

Go one day a week without eating meat. If you already do that, go one more day. You don’t have to feel deprived about it, either. There are plenty of meat substitutes out there, and you can use them to make all those comfort foods that you love. You can buy awesome breakfast or ground sausage, and a great substitute for ground beef, and tasty fake chicken breasts. This weekend, I made Emeril’s recipe for classic jambalya, using vegetable stock, vegan shrimp, and vegetarian Italian sausage. You wouldn’t believe how freakin good it was, and it’s about a bazillion times better for the environment, and…it’s not chock full of the flesh of suffering animals.

That’s better than even odds, readers, it's a win-win. Think about it.

*except Gwyneth Paltrow


Anonymous said...

What a coincidence. In our science work right now we're looking at energy and how it's transferred up the food chain. Basically each consumer can use about only 10% of the energy that went into producing the food they eat. It has prompted much discussion around here about the pros and cons of eating meat.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

You lured me in with the amusing then you socked it to me with the slaughter of horses thingy and now I care about them. Well played Miss Vikki, well played indeed.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

You lured me in with the amusing then you socked it to me with the slaughter of horses thingy and now I care about them. Well played Miss Vikki, well played indeed.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Eating meat is not sustainable, but because it is such a politically wimpy and unpopular stance, it's just not being talked about. I work in green industry. Everyone I work with is about as sensitive to environmental issues as you can be, and yet they all have the blinders on about meat production. Why? Because they want to eat meat. It's as simple as that. They will mock people who drive Hummers, but they will not even consider giving up, or even cutting back, on their consumption of meat. Which, if you ask me, makes them worse than the people they make fun of.

Spooney said...

Nice post, baby

I'm enjoying some of that jamblaya right now for lunch...ummmm tastee!

There is no such thing as a humane slaughterhouse.

RandyLuvsPaiste said...

Even in California, I get a weird looks from people when I tell them I don't eat animals (I wish I could stop eating dairy and eggs, but no dice.) Many of my co-workers can't understand why I don't eat meat. I can't understand why they care about my eating habits.

Some Guy said...

I'm trying. First I cut out all the fast food and pop. Now, thanks to Megan, I eat way less meat than I used to. I've also cut back significantly on my horse-slaughtering.

Oh, and fuck Gwyneth Paltrow.

bubbles said...

Dinner tonight was: Quiche with roasted fennel, green onions and feta cheese. Home made whole wheat crust. Yum.

I thought about this subject while I was making it.

I understand why vegans don't want to eat commercial eggs, but I don't understand what the issue is with free range chickens like mine. Can you explain?

(sorry if my terminology is off)

Also, I have a hard time buying chicken now that I have my own. I have eaten my own birds, and it is a different taste and texture from commercial birds entirely. FYI - I HATE butchering my birds, but I don't waste one bit. I respect, if that makes sense.

Great post.

Oh, almost forgot. The horse rescue around here is overwhelming. A couple of months ago my neighbor had trailers lined up down the road transporting rescue horses he saved on to new homes. Sad. Only a few had to be put down, but it was sickening nonetheless.

Cheer34 said...

I have changed my eating habits without realizing I changed them.....alot less meat, more veggies and fruits bought at the farm market, I am even trying hard to stop with the bottled water and to go cups.

Good post.

vikkitikkitavi said...

RLP: Do you try to make them understand?

SomeG: I knew we would get you. Thanks, Megan.

Bubbles: A lot of vegans believe that it is wrong to subjugate animals, even when you care for them well. They even disagree with the use of honey.

That's a hardcore, principled stand, and they are to be commended for it, although of course the vast majority of the world is not ready for such a choice. Hey, I'm not ready to give up cheese. I do try to eat goat cheese rather than cow, and to buy from small dairys rather than huge factories.

I think that everyone should try their best, and do what they can do. Everyone draws their own line, and everyone can always move that line a little closer to the ideal. No one should be criticized for not being perfect.

C34: Thanks, you make good points. People have got to stop with the bottled water nonsense. Buy yourself a nice fancy SIGG, people.

dguzman said...

I don't think my little veggie heart is big enough to love you as much as I should, Vik. You SO rock.

Grant Miller said...

You're my hero.

Go veg!

Distributorcap said...

one of the worst things about humans is the way we treat the animals - you are speaking my language

thanks for this vikki... you are truly an angel