Is It Wrong to Eat Meat?

Meat Faces from L.A. Farmers Market | Photo: Coco Mault/Flickr/Creative Commons License

Today is World Farm Animals Day. It is a day "dedicated to exposing and memorializing the 65 billion land animals raised for food who suffer and die every year." In other words, a PR-blast holiday-ish thing put on by super-militant vegans.

These are not your fashionable and less-committal "pescetarians," or the folks who look the other way if you accidentally make them eggs for breakfast. No, sir or madame, these vegans will spit in your face if your eyes linger too long on the carnitas, or punch you in the stomach if you pull into a Wendy's drive-thru. The type who create, without any irony whatsoever, a webpage that includes an image of a sad pig next to the phrase "Lest we forget their suffering." Those kinds.

And how, you might wonder, do they celebrate their annual day of educating/shaming? By protesting of course.

The big L.A.-based protest item on the agenda today is -- from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m., lunchtime hours -- of the slaughterhouse associated with Hormel subsidiary Farmer John, those who create the whatever-please-don't-tell-us-exactly-what's-in-it meat concoction that is the beloved Dodger Dog. However, this year's collection of angry outcryers will be led by a, let's say, unique spokesperson: Holocaust survivor Alex Hershaft.

Yes, Hershaft is also the founder of Farm Animals Right Movement -- a name that had to be chosen simply because of the F.A.R.M. acronym -- but that role, as evidenced by every press release put out by the group, is secondary to his bonafides as a Holocaust survivor. Says Hershaft:

"I see a striking parallel between the deceptive bucolic images of pigs cavorting in green meadows on Farmer John's murals and the cynical inscription 'Work makes you free' over the gate to Auschwitz."

First and primarily, yes, of course the Holocaust was horrific and any survivor of such a tragedy should be applauded and respected. Anyone that could make it through that ordeal would need a courage and fortitude that I, personally, can only dream of having.

But.

To use such an event as some kind of résumé item to prove the speaker has expertise when it comes to mass killings is morally murky, to say the least. If anything, the comparison of the systematic genocide of six million Jews during World War II to the consumption and distribution of meat products is dehumanizing. To humans.

But maybe that's besides the point, more a criticism of the messenger than the actual message itself. The questions surrounding eating an animal are slippery. Here's just a handful of brain-scramblers to mull over before ordering the chicken:

- Health issues aside, is it really better to eat an animal that's given some extra time to roam free on fresh grass than one whose short life span was spent stuffed in a cramped factory-farm cage? Don't they both end up dead and in your stomach either way?

- Why eat pork but not dog, despite pigs being more intelligent than their canine counterparts?

- If the 65 billion number above is to be believed, wouldn't a banning or ceasing of meat-eating drastically lower the number of animals in the first place, creating an anti-matter animal wipeout if seen through a "Looper"-esque logic lens?

- Then again, is it right to simply grow living, breathing creatures to be used for food? And if so, is it okay to grow human clones simply so their organs can be harvested like in the terribly-named film "Never Let Me Go"?

- Or, are humans much more important than animals?

Which is all to say: Man, this is a toughie. Good thing it's up to you to decide.

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About the Author

Rick Paulas has written plenty of things, some of them serious, many of them not, scattered over the vast expanses of the Internet. He lives in Los Angeles and is a White Sox fan.
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Just in the U.S. we slaughter over a million animals an hour so we can eat their body parts and pieces. That's a football field length of cows, goats, sheep, pigs and chickens ("90 yards") slaughtered every second! EVERY second... because we LIKE or are USED to or WANT that kind of food that is crushing human health, our water, our land, our air. Food CAN be always delicious and satisfying and marvelous and nurturing and NOT derived from cruelty and death.