Monday, March 17, 2008

When Handling Livestock...

This document, which first reappeared here, has been making the rounds lately. Now, in an endearing burst of me-tooism we would find cloying if it came from someone else, it's our turn.

We give you When Handling Livestock... "Easy Does it"!

Proud achievement of thinkers, key to ageless mystery, this pamphlet is the Rosetta Stone of the suicide food movement. Its relative antiquity and its completeness make it an invaluable resource, one that students of the field will be mining for years to come.

In it we see all of the motifs we have come to describe as banal and irksome, and yet, somehow, here they appear novel and almost innocent:

The grateful “food” animal, the livestock treated as citizen and chattel simultaneously, and self-interest disguised in the cheap finery of genuine concern; all of these are on display. And unashamedly so. The tract, after all, was born in the heady post-War years, when a newly canonized United States believed it held all the promise for a better future, all the answers to life’s—the world’s—questions.

How to feed a hungry nation? How to maximize profit? How to harness Nature itself (that most useful of subordinates)? America knew all.

With a precision that only efficiency experts could generate, and only numbers embody, she would lead the way. Combining the zeal of the reformer and a suicidefoodist philosophy, there was nothing she could not accomplish!

This graphic—complete with pie charts!—is a prime example. Imagine the research that went into it, the breathless satisfaction with which the results were first announced.

"Fellas, we've done it! We now know, with mathematical certainty, that 62% of injuries to pigs are caused by their cruel masters. Oh, those hog handlers will get carried away with their canes, clubs, and kicks, won't they! And, say! Were you aware that 40% of injuries to sheep are the result of livestock-on-livestock violence?"

Yes, sir. With the right experimental design and reporting methodologies, senseless injuries to our heroic herds could become a thing of the past!

And, in a classic case of doing well while doing good, by heeding the humble requests of the animals, everyone would win. The bottom line would improve and the stock would finally feel validated. It all seems so contemporary. Who knew the pioneers of the Movement had such ahead-of-their-time ideas?

Do you see? We are encouraged to believe that the need for reform originated among the animals themselves! Yet even in this photo-op protest, the economic gain is emphasized. ("10 ways… to reduce these losses." Not "10 ways to reduce suffering." Or "10 ways to respect the animals in your care.") Not for decades would the suicidefoodists learn to conceal their true motives. Of course, this pamphlet is meant for insiders, not consumers, so deception is not essential.

We leave you today with this illustration, which perfectly captures the suicidefoodist aesthetic. Our huge hog rides in comfort and style. Only truly pampered pigs have their own parasols! He's on the way to "market" (how euphemistic), and he's delighted! Again, we have an example of the Submissive Dominant all too happy to accede to the wishes of his puny masters.

More analysis of our Rosetta Stone next time.

(Thanks to Dr. Jonna for the referral.)


Billy said...

Wow, these are actually quite disturbing and really serve to help disconnect consumers from the true process of producing their food.

BTW, thanks for the comment on my blog regarding killing cats. It's great that you work with the Feral Cat Project. I replied to your comment over on my blog.

friendlycalf said...

I wonder if the illustrious gentlemen at the Hallmark slaughter plant read this.

All these years, and the meat industry still can't do anything to prevent severe injuries.

Another Ben said...

Note on the cover that second handler whipping the pig. An mischievous grin crosses his lips as he observes the pig's delight.

It's a long ride to the slaughterhouse. Plenty of time to "commune with the beasts"...

Ben said...

About the whipping:

Those are canvas "slappers" and not whips! To suggest that there is any mistreatment going on... Why, the very idea offends!

Another Ben said...

We be honest folk, living day to day, making an honest living raising defenseless animals in unnatural ways with no stimulation or semblance of a life to their ultimate demise at the whim of the appetites of men.