Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Barnyard Smackdown

Apparently, this is a whole thing. Our most recent examples of animal-on-animal violence showed chickens fighting for the supposed honor of the culinary tradition that would soon claim their lives and pigs sparring for equally specious reasons.

Now we see what happens when rivalries straddle the species line.

Everything about this tableau is distasteful. Starting with the foundational philosophy, of course: animals deriving their flimsy self-worth from their palatability, and resorting to brutality to defend their status as prized food items.

But the specifics are shudderingly unpleasant too: the pig taunting the cow with his heavyweight belt, the cow hiding the (backward?) brand behind her back, the seats full of barnyard spectators, the chicken—so often an afterthought—in the out-of-the-limelight role of referee.

To quote the Roman poet Juvenal (what, again?): "Two things only the people anxiously desire—bread and circuses."

Now, a scant 1900 years later, the animals have become both food and spectacle.

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