Animal ag claims that the animal-rights community is made up only of city folk who don't know anything about "raising" animals. (They must never have heard of Harold Brown or Howard Lyman.)
I'm wondering what result this tactic would have.
Earlier this week Chicago Tribune food writer Monica Eng brought her 7-year-old daughter to a farm in a county near mine to watch a pig being slaughtered. Other children were present.
All of these kids were cool cucumbers compared with Miranda, who sat nervously on my lap squeezing my hand and asking: "So first they'll shoot him in the head, right?"I'd first heard of Eng in 2008 when she got a Chicago restaurant to create a dish for her designed as roadkill. (It's no longer on the Trib site.) So I'm a bit biased against her.
"Right," I said, just as a shot rang from the knock bolt and pierced the pig's skull. The body continued to twitch as Sam Clark, the butcher, carried it over to a pit and sliced its neck, releasing a flood of red.
Miranda covered her eyes. One of the children gasped, "Oh my God."
As the animal was bled, skinned and eviscerated before us, the children watched closely — all except Miranda, who wept into her hands, stole quick glances and turned her gaze to a group of concerned donkeys nearby.
When she finally returned her full gaze, she saw Clark lifting the carcass off the cradle as a last gush of blood fell to the ground. He headed for the cooler.
Initially when I discovered that Eng had done this to her child, I was almost shaking with disgust. What parent would think that this was ok? Either the child reacts by crying or sitting in stunned silence, or the brutal murder doesn't affect the child at all. The latter, of course, would frighten me.
From the animals' point of view, though, maybe it's good for children to witness this horror. As disturbing and scarring as it is, hopefully the image will stay with the children and they'll decide in a few years to go vegetarian.
Although she claims to be "conflicted," Eng continues to eat animals. This despite having watched each species she eats die in 2008.
I didn't want to see a pig get killed. Heck, I don't think anyone does.Hopefully the kids who recently witnessed the pig's murder have more empathy than she does.
But I felt like I couldn't continue eating meat if I didn't. So this summer I embarked on an unpleasant pilgrimage to bear witness to the death of every kind of animal I ate. And in some cases, to kill the animal myself.
I don't actually advise parents to put their children through such a traumatic event. But if their children ask them where their "meat" came from, parents should at least be honest and tell them that an animal had to die.
I think my sister dances around the issue of my veganism with my 5-year-old niece. I doubt she says, "Tracy doesn't eat meat because she doesn't want to be part of an animal's death." Or something like that. Instead she likely says, "Tracy doesn't like meat." Or something like that.
But if parents are too uncomfortable to be honest with their children, then maybe they shouldn't be feeding their kids "foods" whose origins make them cringe.
In a recent interview Sarah Hubbart, the communications coordinator of the Animal Agriculture Alliance, a pro-Big Ag group, echoed the advice of inviting the public to view one's "farm." Although I doubt she was referring to slaughtering animals during a "farm tour."
Interestingly, Chuck Jolley, an animal ag writer, used scare tactics to begin his piece.
I bet you're looking for the usual picture of the person being interviewed. You won't see it and that's a decision I made for security reasons. Sarah is a perfectly normal human being who should be able to drive home at the end of the day without worrying if someone tampered with her car or booby-trapped her front door.Yes, Jolley wants to protect Hubbart from dangerous animal advocates.
But, Chuck, have you ever heard of Google? It took me two seconds to find a video of this young woman.
Her photo is also on AAA's staff page. They don't seem too worried about animal advocates knowing what they look like, nor should they be.
Ironically the beings who should -- and do -- live in fear are the ones owned by the people Jolley and Hubbart protect, people whose livelihoods depend on the suffering and slaughter of farmed animals.
I can't begin to imagine the horror felt by the pig Monica Eng and those children watched being murdered, or the horror felt by the other (billions) of animals killed for their flesh each year.
[Abigail Faith Snyder (left), 6, covers her eyes while Tribune reporter Monica Eng holds her daughter Miranda Zanca, 7, as they watch a pig getting [his] throat cut at Faith Farm in Bonfield. (Heather Charles/Tribune / August 15, 2010)]