Supreme Court’s “crush film” decision raises meat-eating issues

Apr 21, 2010 Supreme Court’s “crush film” decision raises meat-eating issues

Is meat-eating possible without cruelty to animals? Certainly, meat is no treat for those you eat.

How unaware to the cruelty of their own meat eating were meat eaters who passed the federal ban on "animal cruelty" videos that the Supreme Court struck down yesterday, on 4/20 no less? U.S. v. Stevens, ___ U.S. ___ (April 20, 2010).

Certainly, the Supreme Court reached the right result in Stevens, and addressed broader First Amendment issues in the process, including overbreadth and limits on creating new categories of expression that are deprived of First Amendment protection.

I wish for Stevens to be an opportunity not only to celebrate and strengthen the First Amendment, but also for people to re-examine their relationship with and treatment of all animals, both of different species and their own species. Human rights violations continue running too rampant worldwide. Too many people accept violence and the threat of violence as normal for controlling others, for flexing muscle, and for carrying out their daily activities. The human-on-human violence and threats of violence include parents who hit their children lightly or more brutally, police and soldiers who lose a sense of self control over their power to arrest and shoot, governments that mass arms and soldiers, street criminals, and the list goes on.

Physical violence is not the only blight on society. To be sure, a lack of general compassion towards all causes much harm in society, and too often leads to physical violence.

Violence begets violence, and that concept is not limited only to human-on-human violence. How desensitized do people become about harming other humans when they eat other mammals, who are not so unrelated biologically to humans? Of course, chickens and fish also bleed and feel pain and suffering from being slaughtered.

Nearly twenty-five years ago, I started a three-year journey eating down and up the food chain until I finally stopped eating mammals, and then stopped eating chicken, and finally fish. Nearly eight years ago, I cut off eggs and milk, having made only small exceptions, mainly when I learn post-ordering that some butter or milk has been used in a restaurant meal. Having contributed to the slaughter of countless animals myself, I am in no position to point fingers at those who still eat animals, but do make some suggestions for reversing that trend.

For vegetarians considering vegan eating, consider that typical egg-laying chickens are cooped up in horrid conditions as nothing more than egg-givers, with beaks sliced off so as not to peck each other into injury, and then destroyed for chicken soup and pet food once they stop laying eggs. Male chicks often are killed upon birth. Milk-giving cows are slaughtered for dog food and leather once they stop giving milk. They come from the same industry that produces “prized" pink veal from calves deprived of their mothers, of light, of iron, and of movement, lest their tender muscles become less tender.

Despite multi-million dollar propaganda efforts of the meat, fish, poultry, dairy and egg industry, it is not hard to be healthy physically (and sometimes more healthy than when eating meat) — and certainly mentally, from being at peace with animals — from living without eating animals, and deliciously so. For those concerned about sufficient B-12 intake, I understand that only a small amount of milk products or eggs from time-to-time will satisfy that.

Yes, this is one more of my infrequent times when I get on the vegetarian soapbox after having stayed off it for so many years. Non-human animals are voiceless, at least with humans, unless humans give them a voice. And this Stevens opinion should be an opportunity to examine more deeply our relationship with animals.

Hi, Scott- Thanks for commenting on my vegan posting. Here are a few points:

– It is important for us to point out injustices in society — e.g., meat-eating — whether or not we advocate laws to cure the particular injustice. For instance, as much as I decry the libel laws as incompatible with the First Amendment, I still speak out about people who are reckless with the truth to the harm of others’ reputations and well being.

– Humans can survive just fine as ovo-lacto vegetarians, and as vegans.

-Humans are not designed to require meat, even though many crave it (which often passes the longer one remains a vegetarian). For instance, humans are the only animals that dress and cook animals, rather than just eating them as is, blood, guts and all.

– Unlike carnivorous non-human animals, humans do not salivate upon seeing their animal prey alive.

– Humans’ intestines are very long, which is not suitable to good health, versus the other meat-eating animals with short intestines. The long intestines contribute heavily to colon cancer in meat eaters.Of course, heavy meat-eating increases risks of other cancers, heart disease, impotence (from poor blood circulation), and my health insurance rates from the eating behavior of meat eaters.

– For those who will continue eating meat, fish and fowl, they can reduce the rampant suffering of the slaughtered animals by doing the slaughtering themselves. Do not expect animals to be raised, transported, and slaughtered humanely, if such a thing exists. PETA has documented — with undercover video — severe mistreatment of animals by their slaughterers, who often are suffering themselves from working with death the entire workday, and who often start skinning and dressing animals while they still are conscious, because time is money.

– Do not expect that fish and land animals slaughtered abroad for hamburger, crab cakes and other items are raised and killed with the same animal protection laws and oversight as in the U.S.

– If you think fish-eating is more humane than eating land animals, think again about fish gasping to breathe once removed from the water, and being scaled alive (which is apparently common in Chinese markets and Chinese restaurants, for ease of scaling or for the palate, just as many believe it is easier to pluck a chicken it remains alive).

– Centuries of millions of vegetarian Indian Hindus have demonstrated that people can be healthy vegetarians.

– When you eat meat, you turn your body into a grave for the animals you eat, if not also as a receptacle for the suffering and fear of the animals you eat and of the animals’ slaughterers.

– Non-human animals may not be advanced enough to choose healthy alternatives to eating meat, fish and fowl. Humans are able to do so.

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