Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Mark Bittman: "The Human Cost of Animal Suffering"

Mark Bittman, in today's online edition of The New York Times, takes the "don't eat meat" discussion to another level. Above and beyond the usual reasons, Bittman argues that the way we treat animals in our industrialized food production system harms who we are as a people.

The first two paragraphs of "The Human Cost of Animal Suffering":
"Until a couple of years ago I believed that the primary reasons to eat less meat were environment- and health-related, and there’s no question that those are valid reasons. But animal welfare has since become a large part of my thinking as well. And I say this as someone not known to his friends as an animal-lover.

"If we want a not-too-damaged planet to live on, and we want to live here in a way that’s also not too damaged, we’re better off eating less meat. But if we also want a not-too-damaged psyche, we have to look at how we treat animals and begin to change it."
Bittman cites a book, Timothy Pachirat's “Every Twelve Seconds: Industrialized Slaughter and the Politics of Sight,” which dives into the issue in further detail. Short of reading the book, we should think about Bittman's point:
"The most publicized stories about industrial agriculture represent the exceptions that prove the rule: the uncommon torture of animals by perverse individuals in rogue operations. But torture is inherent in the routine treatment of animals as widgets, and the system itself is perverse."
Click here to read Bittman's entire article.
Click here for more information on "Every Twelve Seconds."


Anonymous said...

The farmer who supplies my beef and lamb sends out an email newsletter every so often, explaining "what's happening" on the farm. So often, decisions are made by what's good for the animal as well as what's good (financially) for the farmer. Reading it, you get a sense of a somehow sacred trust between animal and human. I recall one edition where she described the process of sending the animals to a meat processor. How humanely they would be handled, even at this time, weighed heavily in the decision of which processor to use. This woke me up to what I took for granted and how much more aware I should be of what it takes to keep us humans clothed and fed. Takes "gratitude" to a whole new level!

Chef Rob said...