Wednesday, March 19, 2008

When Handling Livestock… Part 2

One post is not enough to plumb When Handling Livestock...'s depths. We still have much to say, much to learn, and much to regret.

When we last met, we discussed the post-War pamphlet's raison d'être—to bask in America's newfound authority and to lay the groundwork for a corrupt ethic.

We would like to lead off this session with an examination of a pernicious theme:

Farm animals are the equivalent of (human) employees.

We label this pernicious not because the animals are undeserving of respect and consideration. No! We find the suggestion offensive because it is so blatantly disregarded by those who make it! Are employees forced onto trucks, gently or otherwise? Are they routinely executed? (Routinely? No.) And yet this is what When Handling Livestock... would have you believe.

For see the hog sanding his own bed for the long drive to The End. See the cows cheerfully repairing the fence that keeps them prisoner!

Even when the pamphlet is content not to state the "livestock = loyal employee" equation, it is promulgating the idea that the animals are, at the very least, essentially human. Animals, it happens, prefer steps—just like people! (Or, just like hobos, at any rate. And what tale have they told the pigs? "Sure, tie up your bindles. You'll be able to unpack in an hour or so, when you get to the new plant.")

Striking, isn't it, how reluctant the pamphleteers are to take note of the conclusion implied by their premise. Do animals also, like people, prefer not to be concussed, dispatched, and slaughtered? The pamphlet does not say.

And look at this scene! The hog-handlers, in their uniforms with the rolled cuffs, are playfully slapping their hogs with "canvas slappers"… in moderation!

Nothing to be alarmed at. It's just good-natured frat-house hijinks. Again, though: just like people!

And finally, one last piece of animals-are-people-too nonsense.

Yes! ONE Bruise Is ONE Too Many! The poor hobbling, bandaged pig! The convalescing sheep! The sling-wearing cow!

Indeed, one bruise is too many. And why? It signals your callous and abusive treatment costs you money.

Their hollow effigy of "care" goes up in flames. The dollar is their only criterion. And they boast about it.

(Thanks again to Dr. Jonna for the referral.)


Anonymous said...

Just found your site recently, and I consider it a clever and witty approach to the issue of livestock that anyone who eats meat SHOULD take into consideration.

However, on this one it seems a little harsh, as the leaflet seems very well inclined at improving the treatment of livestock animals without sounding too "hippy" or such (and much as there is NOTHING wrong with being pro-animal rights, some people feel alienated, especially if they know what extremists say/do).

"Happy cows taste better" is a decent message to give.

[About me: I'm not vegetarian, but have been making strong attempts to more than half my meat intake this year and my family has never bought the cheap chicken, based on ethical reasons.]

- HareTrinity

Anonymous said...

To build upon my previous point:

"We like money!" is, in contemporary capitalist society, a better message than "we care about our fellow animals."

I know this isn't necessarily a good thing, but it's how it is. And I maintain that this leaflet may have been made with good intentions, based on its aim being to increase animal comfort and that it uses animals with very human attributes in its illustrations.

Again, I think the site's a brilliant idea, but that you have far worse images on here than this.

- HareTrinity

Ben said...

We maintain that "Happy Cows Taste Better" is an abhorrent message.

Anonymous said...

"Miserable cows taste just as good" is what then?

- HareTrinity

Anonymous said...

I'm feeling similar to HareTrinity. I'm not a vegan/vegetarian, though sometimes I just feel like having a vegetarian meal. I could swing either way, but I like meat and would like to spend my money on meat of more ethically treated animals(oxymoron?).

I've been scouring the site and some things I agree on, some I don't. Some I think are just taken too seriously. I think HareTrinity means "happy" as in the California cows. "Good milk comes from happy cows. Happy cows are from California." But I'm on your side in that I feel that Suicidefoodism(animals happy to die) is stupid, and anyone that thinks up, draws/creates, and pays for any of this media is just as stupid. Animals should not be abused and tortured. However... I'm going to eat meat.

Anonymous said...

Hare: So you say that animals that lived in comfort die happily?

Similar to Hare: "Animals should not be abused and tortured. However... I'm going to eat meat."
Something about your statement does not square.

Anonymous said...

"Happy Cows Taste Better"

That's like saying "Non-bruised Women are More Enjoyable to Rape"