All Meat Is the Product of Cruelty and Exploitation

A German serial killer, Fritz Haarmann, known as the “Butcher of Hanover,” cut his victims’ bodies into strips of flesh and sold them as pork. Here in North America, third-generation Canadian pig farmer and serial killer of 49 women, Robert Pickton, ground the bodies of his victims into sausage and sold it in packages or gave it out to friends.

While it’s appalling that folks who acquired meat from Pickton may have ingested human flesh, it is equally unsettling that they didn’t notice. To the taste buds it seems meat is meat. This tragedy was just one of many recent incidents that should make people rethink their carnivorous ways.

On a related note, according to an article by Cindi Avila with NBC News, Whole Foods admitted to accidentally reversing labels on two salads sold at its stores, a curried chicken salad and a vegan version called curried “chick’n” salad, last Tuesday and Wednesday at some 15 of its locations in the Northeast (including Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York). “The switched labels means it is highly likely someone who made a conscious choice not to eat animal products wound up doing so, through no fault of their own.”

To the ethical vegetarians who inadvertently ingested chicken flesh, the stomach-churning physical response of revulsion was on par with those of the pork-eaters who learned they’d cannibalized. Now, you might be asking yourself, “How can anyone compare eating chicken or pork to cannibalizing human flesh?”

The NBC article makes the clarifying point, “It may be hard for meat-eaters to understand, but this is a way of life that simply doesn’t involve compromise or mistakes. That’s especially the case for those of us who are vegetarian or vegan because of animal-welfare reasons or those who choose this for religious reasons.”

Pigs, like humans, cows and chickens, are capable of experiencing joy, affection, and pleasure. However, on hog farms, they are treated like unfeeling machines, confined in tiny stalls and fed growth-accelerating drugs that often cause lameness. Their teeth are cut with pliers, and their tails are cut off-without anesthetic. At the slaughterhouse, they are hung upside down and bled to death-often while they are fully conscious. Whether flesh comes from the victim of a serial killer or from a pig, a cow, or a chicken, it is the product of cruelty toward a thinking, feeling being who experiences pain and fear and wants to live free of exploitation.

In light of all this, why are people still eating meat? One common answer goes something like this: “I’m a human—superior to other beings—I’m entitled.” But a sense of entitlement is one of the trademark rationalizations that serial killers use to justify their wrongdoings, and grandiosity is also symptomatic of psychopathy, according to Canadian psychologist and author of Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us, Robert D. Hare, Ph.D. Other symptoms outlined on Dr. Hare’s “psychopathy checklist,” such as shallow emotions and a lack of empathy or remorse, aid the killer—or meat-eater—in disregarding the suffering of his or her victims.

Psychopathic serial killers objectify their victims and consider their victims’ self-interests insignificant. The same rationale is called into play when one thinks of pigs only as “pork,” cows as “beef,” or chickens as “poultry,” without thought of the individuals or their suffering.

Both Canada and the U.S. have had recent cases of mad cow disease. As a result, we saw news footage of downer cows, too sick to walk, being dragged by chains into slaughterhouses. Press coverage of avian flu outbreaks reveal the intensely overcrowded conditions of chickens on factory farms-tens of thousands of animals cooped up in their own filth, each with less space than a standard sheet of typing paper. Besides being warned of health risks, consumers are finally learning about some of the cruelties endured by the animals they know only as “roasts” or “drumsticks.”

It is never too late to examine our actions and re-evaluate our food choices accordingly. By respecting the interests of all sentient beings, we are not akin to the conscienceless killers that plague our society. The only way to ensure that you are not supporting grotesque violence and cruelty against animals, or benefiting from their suffering, is to adopt a plant-based diet.

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15 thoughts on “All Meat Is the Product of Cruelty and Exploitation

  1. Real life cannibals say human meat tastes just like sweet pork. Of course the younger the person the more tender and sweeter the meat. If I ate meat I would have no problem eating a person’s flesh because meat is meat so what’s the big deal. Perhaps it’s a good thing I’m vegan.

  2. While I can understand an agree on almost all points, I am appalled at the treatment of, the abuse, torture and unspeakable cruelty these and all animals have and continue to be subjected to; How can you argue with those whose response is: ” in the natural world animals kill other animals for food and in a most painful and cruel way and if I choose to raise my animals on my own property allowing them to live in a free and natural manner just as they would live in the wild that only differs in that they have shrlter from the elements should they choose to use it and they are not kept in pens or tied but in large open barns and that at some point they will be killed as quickly and humanely as possible to be eaten by my family and the excess sold to others. I love animals but choose to eat them as well. I believe that how I treat them and kill them is better than they would live in the wild and their deaths much less horrible than being ripped apart alive as is the case in the wild”. What can you say to that?

  3. Pingback: Backyard Butchering: Loving Animals to Death | Exposing the Big Game

  4. Most of the meat eaters I work along side in my office all say the same thing to me: if they had to kill a pig in order to get bacon; a cow/steer for a hamburger or steak and a chicken for Buffalo Wings, they absolutely could not take these animals lives. And yet when I ask them, “Well then why?” None of them can give me a strong answer. If you ask me, their unwillingness to give up animal flesh has more to do with laziness. They act like being a vegan is “so difficult” and yet I’ve been managing just fine for 2 years and 4 months. When I try to show them undercover videos, I get the hand followed by, “I don’t want to know”. IMHO if you’re going to eat the flesh of another animal, you should know how that animal lived before it was murdered.

    The fact that these people ate human flesh and didn’t even know the difference completely blows my mind. I’ve dined in restaurants that offer “vegan options” and within the first bite, I knew whether or not the restaurant was lying. One time, after a meal, I asked my server if they had “soy milk”. She said, “Yes.” I then ordered a soy latte and as soon as she placed the cup in front of me I knew it was made with milk. I questioned her and she said, “That’s soy milk.” I said, “No it’s not.” She insisted. I insisted. Finally, she admitted to using milk because they were out of soy. So I said, “Did you think I wouldn’t know the difference????” She shrugged her shoulders.

    On my way out of the restaurant, I passed the server and I said to her in the nicest way I knew how, “Don’t f*ck with vegans. We can tell when restaurants try and pass something off as vegan when in fact it’s not. Did you think I wouldn’t know the difference between cows milk and SOY?????????????” Soy milk doesn’t froth like cow’s milk!” I was so pissed I nearly ripped her head off. So disrespectful and from what I’ve heard, shit like this happens all the time.

    My reasons for going vegan have less to do with health and more to do with ideology. I simply cannot participate in the senseless suffering and murder of innocent animals just so I can enjoy a cheeseburger.

    • Same here. I can’t believe a restaurant would knowingly try to pass something off as vegan. Somebody’s going to sue the hell out of them someday. Back when Burger King was serving “BK Veggie” burgers, my wife and I decided to try them and sure enough–the one they gave her was a dead cow-flesh patty! Luckily I spotted the difference before she swallowed the first bite. It’s not like a restaurant forgetting to put cheese on a cheeseburger–to an ethical vegan, it’s as bad or worse than a meat eater being served human flesh.

  5. Pingback: All Meat Is the Product of Cruelty and Exploitation | Our Compass

  6. Pingback: Backyard Butchering: Loving Animals to Death | Our Compass

  7. What animals do in the wild can never be an excuse for human behavior. To begin with, animals do not hunt for sport. HUmans become desensitized when confronted with day in and day out cruelty. That cruelty often comes in subtle form and it is what some parents give as an inheritance to children. Too sad.

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