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Gul_Dekar

Animals, Cruelty, and Eating

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We had a mouse problem in our apartment in New York. We tried humane traps and they worked for the most part, but one mouse was seriously injured in the trap and I ended up with a pet mouse for awhile. She actually lived in a hamster cage for about a year. Unfortunately, it was in the middle of winter and we knew we couldn't let the successfully trapped mice go in a park in January in New York, so we let them go in the building's heated garage which at any given time has more fast food containers on the ground and in the trash cans than a high school cafeteria.

Somewhere in Queens, there is a colony of mice living happily in a parking garage. It is my opinion that those glue traps are 100% inhumane and should be illegal. Even if the goal is to kill the mouse and not just trap it, there are much more humane ways to do it.

And as far as meat is concerned, when I first graduated from college I lived in a vegetarian group house (I was a theatrical costumer) and I stayed vegetarian for many years after that. I gradually started to eat meat again, but I do make a conscious effort -- when finances allow -- to buy responsibly farmed meat. It is unfortunate that the stores that sell responsibly farmed meat, such as Whole Foods, feel the need to mark chicken breasts up so that you need to take out a second mortgage to afford them. I know that it is more expensive to farm responsibly, and I am willing to pay more because of that, but I don't think that Whole Paycheck scrimps on their mark-up either. My local food co-op is selling Bell & Evans chicken breasts for a whopping $11 a pound. OUCH! I do think that there should be more stringent legislation on how farm animals are raised.

And I keep hearing rumors here and there about the possibility of genetically engineered meat in our near future. It would eliminate a lot of the farming cruelty issues, but who wants to make a choice between genetic food or slaughtered food? I make cheese, and have started using genetically engineered rennet. When I found out how rennet was obtained I made the choice to use either vegetarian "rennet" or genetically engineered rennet. I liked the genetically engineered better. It isn't a very far leap at all from genetically engineering rennet to genetically engineering veal.

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As a new age neolithic I have always felt proud about being ablbe to hunt, catch or gather my own food. Nothing better than chowing down to what nature has to offer or on what you have raised yourself. Anthropomorphism (sp?) is a modern affectation.

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And, The Jungle was more about the wholesale exploitation and dereliction of undereducated, poor-English-speaking immigrants than about the food packing industry.  The meat packing area was just an meme in the book.  Since the aim of the book wasn't directly at the meatpacking industry, I look at its uncoverings as somewhat spurious (although, they did hit home with many readers, correctly, or not).

I think how one perceives The Jungle, like most other things that hit people close to home, is viewed through the filter of personal experience and feelings.

You are the first person I've "met" who thinks of its undercoverings as somewhat spurious. Most agree that its publication was correctly the force behind setting industry standards.


"Oh, tuna. Tuna, tuna, tuna." -Andy Bernard, The Office

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As a new age neolithic I have always felt proud about being ablbe to hunt, catch or gather my own food.  Nothing better than chowing down to what nature has to offer or on what you have raised yourself.  Anthropomorphism (sp?) is a modern affectation.

It's not being anthropomorphic to farm with a conscious. I agree with Mahatma Ghandi's statement, "A nation's greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members." I have nothing against hunting. It is actually the most responsible way, in my opinion, of being a carnivore. I grew up in a hunting family. The turkey on the table at Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the pork on the table at New Year's for most of my life had been hunted by my grandfather and uncles. And it was a heck of a lot better than anything you can buy at Giant. Nor am I a vegetarian. I simply believe in being responsible for, and aware of, the origins of our food.

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Personally, I do believe that it could be a very teachable subject in the public schools for each student to have to dispatch and prepare a meat-animal (and exempted from based on parental consent, etc). 

I think that we, as Americans, shield ourselves from death entirely too much, and this could be a good method to (in order of importance) 1: educate students about the business and necessities of food, and 1: educate students about death, and 1: educate students about the biologically supported theories that humans are omnivores and eat both autotrophs (plants) and heterotrophs (fungi and animals), and 1: allow students to wrangle personally with their decisions about what they feel about eating meat to allow them to be more informed consumers.

I agree!

Actually, during my third trimester of freshman biology, my class took a trip to a buffalo farm in New Hampshire. It was very illuminating, and a good choice. It was a free-range ranch, so the animals seemed content, which was nice (and definitely instilled in me a hearty respect and preference for free-range meats). During the course of the day, we also learned how they were tagged, tracked and slaughtered.

This was done at a private prep school, and I don't recall needing my mother's permission - though I'm sure I could have been exempted from the trip if I (or she) had objected to it. I don't remember anyone from the class not coming along, though.


Edited by Megan Blocker (log)

"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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Personally, I do believe that it could be a very teachable subject in the public schools for each student to have to dispatch and prepare a meat-animal (and exempted from based on parental consent, etc). 

I think that we, as Americans, shield ourselves from death entirely too much, and this could be a good method to (in order of importance) 1: educate students about the business and necessities of food, and 1: educate students about death, and 1: educate students about the biologically supported theories that humans are omnivores and eat both autotrophs (plants) and heterotrophs (fungi and animals), and 1: allow students to wrangle personally with their decisions about what they feel about eating meat to allow them to be more informed consumers.

I agree!

Actually, during my third trimester of freshman biology, my class took a trip to a buffalo farm in New Hampshire. It was very illuminating, and a good choice. It was a free-range ranch, so the animals seemed content, which was nice (and definitely instilled in me a hearty respect and preference for free-range meats). During the course of the day, we also learned how they were tagged, tracked and slaughtered.

This was done at a private prep school, and I don't recall needing my mother's permission - though I'm sure I could have been exempted from the trip if I (or she) had objected to it. I don't remember anyone from the class not coming along, though.

did they let you kill a few and cut them up..................

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Personally, I do believe that it could be a very teachable subject in the public schools for each student to have to dispatch and prepare a meat-animal (and exempted from based on parental consent, etc). 

I think that we, as Americans, shield ourselves from death entirely too much, and this could be a good method to (in order of importance) 1: educate students about the business and necessities of food, and 1: educate students about death, and 1: educate students about the biologically supported theories that humans are omnivores and eat both autotrophs (plants) and heterotrophs (fungi and animals), and 1: allow students to wrangle personally with their decisions about what they feel about eating meat to allow them to be more informed consumers.

I agree!

Actually, during my third trimester of freshman biology, my class took a trip to a buffalo farm in New Hampshire. It was very illuminating, and a good choice. It was a free-range ranch, so the animals seemed content, which was nice (and definitely instilled in me a hearty respect and preference for free-range meats). During the course of the day, we also learned how they were tagged, tracked and slaughtered.

This was done at a private prep school, and I don't recall needing my mother's permission - though I'm sure I could have been exempted from the trip if I (or she) had objected to it. I don't remember anyone from the class not coming along, though.

did they let you kill a few and cut them up..................

No, not even when we begged. :biggrin:

In reality, I do agree that we should leave slaughtering to the experienced or the professionals, given that they are likely to cause the least suffering. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't pay attention to what happens in that moment and all of the other moments leading up to it. It's all part and parcel of respecting your sources of nourishment.


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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did they let you kill a few and cut them up..................

No, not even when we begged. :biggrin:

In reality, I do agree that we should leave slaughtering to the experienced or the professionals, given that they are likely to cause the least suffering. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't pay attention to what happens in that moment and all of the other moments leading up to it. It's all part and parcel of respecting your sources of nourishment.

I disagree. In Home Economics courses, students are still taught how to sew to some extent, something which there are literally millions of professionals doing, yet there are still enough educational aspects of it to make it instructionally worthwhile in a public school.

I think the same thing about our food supply. I'm not saying that for a class of 26, one should procure 26 bison, or hogs, or even chickens. However, 26 catfish, and then allow the students to watch for several other types of animals (say, a mammal and a fowl). I think it would give a very good area to tie multiple areas of study together: ethics, science, economics, history, sociology, psychology, and animal husbandry. A month of intense study on this one area would give significant real-life education to students, and I think we give short shrift to this type of education.


I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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did they let you kill a few and cut them up..................

No, not even when we begged. :biggrin:

In reality, I do agree that we should leave slaughtering to the experienced or the professionals, given that they are likely to cause the least suffering. However, that doesn't mean we shouldn't pay attention to what happens in that moment and all of the other moments leading up to it. It's all part and parcel of respecting your sources of nourishment.

I disagree. In Home Economics courses, students are still taught how to sew to some extent, something which there are literally millions of professionals doing, yet there are still enough educational aspects of it to make it instructionally worthwhile in a public school.

I think the same thing about our food supply. I'm not saying that for a class of 26, one should procure 26 bison, or hogs, or even chickens. However, 26 catfish, and then allow the students to watch for several other types of animals (say, a mammal and a fowl). I think it would give a very good area to tie multiple areas of study together: ethics, science, economics, history, sociology, psychology, and animal husbandry. A month of intense study on this one area would give significant real-life education to students, and I think we give short shrift to this type of education.

I think this is a good idea, so long as the activity is watched very closely and every precaution is taken to keep things within the standards that those professionals would observe. Not something that always happened when I embroidered pillow cases in home ec.

That said, I don't think caring for and then slaughtering and eating a catfish differs too much on the gore scale from some of the dissections I undertook at school. (While the lesson learned would obviously be somewhat different.) I would also say, however, that learning this in school and then moving on to other things would not make me a professional. Therefore, in my adult life, I do believe it's right to allow the slaughtering to be done by someone who has chosen to study it and become far more well-versed in it than I, be they an experienced amateur or a professional.

Hmmmm...now I'm wondering whatever happened to Bob, the pigeon my lab partner and I used to study Pavlovian psychology. So named because he was huge - Bob's Big Boy. Ah, Bob.


"We had dry martinis; great wing-shaped glasses of perfumed fire, tangy as the early morning air." - Elaine Dundy, The Dud Avocado

Queenie Takes Manhattan

eG Foodblogs: 2006 - 2007

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As a new age neolithic I have always felt proud about being ablbe to hunt, catch or gather my own food.  Nothing better than chowing down to what nature has to offer or on what you have raised yourself.  Anthropomorphism (sp?) is a modern affectation.

Oh yeah? Then how about animal Gods and Godesses? Those have existed since ancient times, if not prehistory.


Michael aka "Pan

 

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You might have to enact a new law to get teachers to want to do something like what you are mentioning. I can just imagine the meetings in the "Faculty Senates" now in the elementary schools.

Having done a good deal of volunteer work in public schools, I can say with some good authority that 99 out of 100 teachers will not want to see a live or even close-to-live fish or anything else in their classrooms that students will then be "messing with" in any way.

They are generally as squeamish about these things as the general public is.

Add to that fact the idea that there will be discussion of life and death in the classroom and you've got the parents involved and arguing over it.

Add to that the idea of bacteria and "germs" that come from living things being messed around with and you've got the school board involved and the lawyers, who want to avoid liability.

Best case scenario for this stuff is 4-H. They are everywhere, and this is part of what they do.

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As a new age neolithic I have always felt proud about being ablbe to hunt, catch or gather my own food.  Nothing better than chowing down to what nature has to offer or on what you have raised yourself.  Anthropomorphism (sp?) is a modern affectation.

Oh yeah? Then how about animal Gods and Godesses? Those have existed since ancient times, if not prehistory.

Us neolithics only believe in the mother Goddess :biggrin: but yes anthropomophism was around long before our modern era based in religion and culture all over the world. I guess I should have said it is more prevalent in our modern world.

And Carrot Top, good comment about 4H, quite popular where I am.


Edited by Country Cook (log)

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After the latest Foie Gras banning, I got to thinking about other foods that people may consider too cruel/wasteful/frivolous. At one end of the spectrum there are probably people who don't even like killing plants (no idea what they'd eat), vegans, vegetarians, etc. At the other end, probably the people who supposedly ate live monkey brains in Faces of Death, and cannibals. In between there are factory-raised animals; boiling lobsters alive; eating live insects; hunting; foie gras; veal; cutting off shark fins (and throwing the sharks back to die), all because it's supposedly an aprodisiac; tiger penis soup (same supposed benefit); eating "more intelligent" animals - dolphins, dogs, cats, whales; clubbing baby seals; hunting endangered animals; destroying animal habitat; etc.

Where's your line?


Edited by johnsmith45678 (log)

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How do you spell "orlatons"?

SB :blink:

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My line is drawn at anything unnecessarily cruel, like shark fin. Although, I have to admit that I ate shark fin soup while in Singapore and it was delicious! I wouldn't eat it now that I know how it is fished though. No live insects. Nothing that is still breathing for that matter. The only time I ever got truly grossed out in China was the time that a still-gasping whole fish was placed on the table for us to consume. Couldn't go there.

After reading an article in Salon about the evilness that is the meat industry, I am now trying to cut down on my consumption of red meat, pork, and chicken. Also, did you know that pigs are highly intelligent animals, more so than dogs? It's true. As much as I love bacon, I am beginning to have ethical issues about eating it. I am thinking of getting a pot bellied pig for a pet, and naming it Bacon. That will be the only bacon I have. :wub: (Please don't kick me off eGullet!)

Edited to add: I disagree with all banning of any food product. It is up to the individual consumer and their own ethics to decide what they will and will not spend money on. However, I also have a hard time spending boucoup $$$$ for foie gras and truffles while people are starving all over the world. It's kind of hard for me to live with myself when I know what I spent one dinner could feed a family of four for a month.


Edited by MissAmy (log)

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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Edited to add: I disagree with all banning of any food product. It is up to the individual consumer and their own ethics to decide what they will and will not spend money on. However, I also have a hard time spending boucoup $$$$ for foie gras and truffles while people are starving all over the world. It's kind of hard for me to live with myself when I know what I spent one dinner could feed a family of four for a month.

But if you think that way all the time, you'll never get to eat, or you'll just never be able to live with yourself. In many parts of the world, even the $5-10 you might spend preparing dinner for your family of 4 would feed a family of 4 for a week. And the car you drive would be able to feed a family for years...or the money you spend on gas....(cars, to me, are not necessities of life but luxuries, as are foie gras and truffles, so I include them for comparison).

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Edited to add: I disagree with all banning of any food product. It is up to the individual consumer and their own ethics to decide what they will and will not spend money on. However, I also have a hard time spending boucoup $$$$ for foie gras and truffles while people are starving all over the world. It's kind of hard for me to live with myself when I know what I spent one dinner could feed a family of four for a month.

But if you think that way all the time, you'll never get to eat, or you'll just never be able to live with yourself. In many parts of the world, even the $5-10 you might spend preparing dinner for your family of 4 would feed a family of 4 for a week. And the car you drive would be able to feed a family for years...or the money you spend on gas....(cars, to me, are not necessities of life but luxuries, as are foie gras and truffles, so I include them for comparison).

Yes, what you are saying is completely true, and I realize that is the reality of it. But, I still can't help but feel a large measure of guilt every time I spend money (well earned and deserved I might add) on a luxury dinner. I am going out tonight, and I will enjoy myself but feel guilty for a while afterwards. On the other hand, I won't be eating foie gras either. A large part of this guilt is why I've been volunteering more and donating a lot more than I used to. I've also been taking the bus when I can get to point "B" on a route, and have been using less gasoline. What can I say? I'm a bleeding heart liberal to my very core and trying to reconcile that with my much more shameful love of food and leisure can be a challenge.


Edited by MissAmy (log)

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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[...]eating "more intelligent" animals - dolphins, dogs, cats, whales[...]

The problem here is that pigs and goats are also pretty intelligent, ain't that right?


Michael aka "Pan

 

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[...]eating "more intelligent" animals - dolphins, dogs, cats, whales[...]

The problem here is that pigs and goats are also pretty intelligent, ain't that right?

Some people are pretty intelligent, but I doubt if it makes much difference in their flavor, which is reportedly rather salty, like Spam. :shock:

SB (or so I've read) :wink:

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Oh, I forgot: Eating your teammates if your plane crashes in the Andes; and the still beating heart of a cobra.

I think I'm somewhere between foie gras and veal. Veal calves seem to live completely miserable lives.

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How do you spell "orlatons"?

Huh?

Ortolan

More info here: ortolan gastronomy

For centuries, a rite of passage for French gourmets has been the eating of the Ortolan. These tiny birds—captured alive, force-fed, then drowned in Armagnac—were roasted whole and eaten that way, bones and all, while the diner draped his head with a linen napkin to preserve the precious aromas and, some believe, to hide from God. —The Wine Spectator

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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For centuries, a rite of passage for French gourmets has been the eating of the Ortolan. These tiny birds—captured alive, force-fed, then drowned in Armagnac—were roasted whole and eaten that way, bones and all, while the diner draped his head with a linen napkin to preserve the precious aromas and, some believe, to hide from God. —The Wine Spectator

It's the part about the napkin over the head I find offensive.

SB :angry:

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It should be noted that ortolan, consumed by Francois Mitterand before he died, was illegal, even then.

Ortolan consumption continues to be illegal in France, to my knowledge.

Don't talk to me about cruelty of consumption and eating until you've seen someone deep in the throes of what bacteria do to them. Mother Nature is not gentle.


I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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