You could say that I am more than a bit peeved at the HSUS these days. Their shameless promotion of meat-eating—especially their sponsoring the hedonistic “Hoofin’ It” event—has me downright pissed off.
I have to wonder if they can even see above the bullshit they’ve sunk into this time.
For years I was an ardent supporter of their policies—until they went out of their way to join Whole Foods in perpetuating the myth of “humane” meat. Instead of sticking to their guns and helping to usher in an era of evolution that takes us beyond animal agriculture, they’re bent on reviving the “Old McDonald’s Farm” fantasy.
I live next door to Old McDonald, and I’ve seen how he treats his farm animals. It isn’t pretty.
One of the flesh food purveyors featured in the “Hoofin’ It” event (the ranch that raises bison) waxes poetic about their “product” as though it were a hand-crafted ale or fine wine: “Our bulls are…finished with a natural diet of whole corn, sunflower pellets…” and “are harvested and processed at the prime age of 24-30 months, weighing approximately 1,100 pounds.”
Prime age for whom? Certainly not for the Bison! Bison don’t even reach maturity until 3 years of age and can live well over 30 years in the wild when allowed to. The bison whose flesh they’re selling are still babies. In the wild, male bison remain with their mothers for at least 3 years before joining in with groups of other bulls. It’s like eating a lamb who is never allowed to grow up to be a sheep. And who the fuck eats a lamb anyway, HSUS?
The big question is, how does one “humanely” kill (“harvest” or “process”) a 1000 pound, gregarious, empathetic herd animal who relates enough to others to make a habit of mourning over their dead? “Processing” day must be a real sad, morbid, not to mention horrifying day for those waiting in line for their turn to get slaughtered.
This whole alternative “humane” meat issue reminds me of the popular new micro-brewery that cropped up in the small town of Twisp, WA, where I used to live. Their menu featured grass-fed, organic beef from a local rancher who turned out to be none other than wolf-hater/poacher Bill White. White, along with his son, was responsible for baiting and killing off most of Washington State’s first wolves, the Lookout Pack. (Yes, they’re the same folks who got caught trying to send a bloody wolf hide through the mail to Canada.)
Is the HSUS being led down the garden path by other (possibly wolf-hater/poacher) ranchers who are eager to sell a higher-priced product to a new generation of starry-eyed foodies who think the sentient animals they’re eating were happy to know they were “sustainably” harvested?
It was partly because of the wisdom of a few friends working for the HSUS on wildlife issues that my wife and I went vegan 16 years ago. Those friends are still as dedicated to the animal rights cause as ever, but somehow the HSUS as a group must have lost its nerve, its soul and now, its ever-loving mind.