Monday, November 22, 2010

Packard's: a Festival of Cruelty Special Report

The most recent installment in our Festival of Cruelty series wasn't that long ago, and we won't be due for the next scheduled episode for another six weeks or so. But we can't sit on this any longer. We have been seeking images of the (Northampton, Massachusetts) Packard's menu for months and we finally have them.

From the moment we first glimpsed the menu, a year and a half ago, the memory has haunted us. And seeing these images again reminds us of how we became obsessed.

Like other exhibits from the ongoing Festival of Cruelty, these showcase a raw meanness, an iconoclastic blatancy. To go out of your way to demonize and brutalize the animals who became your food, to treat them as utterly undeserving of any but the harshest treatment… Well, it's practically thrilling. Because it's entirely unnecessary—the animals are dead, the food they were made into is in the ovens even now—it has the power to grab us by the throat and insist that we take note.

And take note we did!

We saw the chicken immobilized in a contraption straight out of a supervillain's daydream, its wings about to be buzz-sawed off, to land in baskets filled with the limbs of previous victims. The chicken, paralyzed in mute horror, holds up a sign reading "Why?!" As any "food" animal should know, the answer is, "Because they can."

Below the de-winger is a scene of true depravity: amid the stink of rotting carcasses, beloved figures from our collective childhood huddle outside a Bates Hotel for unsuspecting animals, their legs and wings amputated, their stumps bleeding through the bandages. (It's the in-your-face flipside of this old post.) We've seen "food" animal amputations before (here, for instance, and here), but it's presented by Packard's with such stinging spite that it seems brand-new. Sesame Street's Count Von Count mocks Big Bird's phantom limbs. And do you see the posters on the brick wall? Packard's wants Foghorn Leghorn and Baby Huey so they can hack them apart too!

Animals on crutches, animals pushing themselves around in wheeled boxes, animals slowly dying. On a menu? At a place where you're going to eat? On purpose?

We want you to see the other Packard's menu art. (Click the images to see them bigger.) Like the tableau above, they're positively brimming with an unstinting hatred for animals.


Desdemona said...

I...after reading this blog for years, I honestly didn't think there was anything that could actually shock me (disgust & perplex, yes, but not shock!). I'm sorry to have to admit that I was wrong, because this is just...well, shocking. And sick. Is that menu supposed to be funny? Do people bring their kids to this place? And do they laugh at these images, or just burst into tears? Actually, I'd actually rather not know.

Anonymous said...

I have been an admirer of your website for some time but was so shocked at this particular menu that I at first closed the web page quickly. However, something that originally registered only in my subconscious bothered enough that I had to return. Aside from all the other depravity and violence on display there is something in the picture that would disgust all patrons, even the meat eating ones. Take a closer at what is sticking out of the trash can where the bones/feathers etc. are being dumped. That is not a bird claw, nor a hoof, or a paw, but a human foot. Do not go in there!

Professor Toby Schnauzer

Cavall de Quer said...

I see why no nooses are registered - there just aren't enough: I'm so glad I don't live near these people, they must be a danger to the neighbourhood.....I agree with desdemona: surely this has to be the limit?

trent said...

You're right, that's a human foot in the trash. I guess they're doing their part to fight specieism, just in the wrong direction. Perhaps the pizza has long pig sausage on it.

Matt D. said...

Wow, I had no idea. I'm a vegan who's lived in Northampton for years, and it's actually a very vegetarian/vegan-friendly place. I actually pass by Packard's all the time because there's a really great vegetarian restaurant two buildings down the street from it. I never go to the bars in town 'cause they have virtually no vegan food and I don't drink; now I know what I've been missing out on. I'm truly shocked.