I hate PETA, but they may have a point.
July 21, 2004 12:05 AM   Subscribe

I hate PETA, but they may have a point on this one. Workers at a Pilgrim's Pride slaughterhouse have been filmed demonstrating their criminal lack of respect for living things by torturing living chickens. via Salon
posted by dr_emory (125 comments total)
 
Pilgrims pride is in a world of fuck. Also, it seemed almost like they were stomping on those chickens for the camera.
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:26 AM on July 21, 2004


Oh snap! From this link:

The investigation was conducted at this location because it was the site of a KFC "Supplier of the Year" award ceremony, and PETA wanted to see the "best" that a KFC supplier had to offer. This slaughterhouse is run by Pilgrim's Pride, the second-largest chicken company in the U.S., after Tyson Foods.
posted by Keyser Soze at 12:27 AM on July 21, 2004


That is pretty nasty.
posted by dg at 1:03 AM on July 21, 2004


That's cold-blooded. KFC sucks, not that that has any bearing on the issue. This type of conduct is prolly more common than we care to know.
posted by wsg at 1:06 AM on July 21, 2004




PETA *always* has a point. They're kooky as hell and frequently shoot themselves in the foot, but they don't lack for a significant message. They simply lack any tact and much of what we call reason in the way they typically communcate it.

Incidentally, I'm a guilt-ridden meat-eater, but, complict as I am in the images herein, I'm seriously fucking glad I don't have to stomp chickens dead for a living. That's one shit job whether you eat meat or not.
posted by scarabic at 1:35 AM on July 21, 2004


If you have any problem at all with this kind of treatment of animals it seems to follow that you are committed to the immorality of eating meat.
posted by ed\26h at 1:43 AM on July 21, 2004


I think it's just frathouse hazing, maybe a few rotten apples, and there's a lack of evidence that this is official policy coming from the top. not to mention that there was definitely useful -- even vital -- intelligence that could have been extracted from the chickens.

the war on chickens is going much better than the liberal media wants us to think.
posted by matteo at 2:53 AM on July 21, 2004


They scored plenty of PR points with this one, last night the footage was shown for a good two minutes on Swedish news, all the while the reporter read the story about PETA's secret filming and the chickens being bought by KFC.. I think they repeated "KFC" four times during the short report. Wanna make a bet on how much KFC's sales will drop in Sweden this week?
posted by dabitch at 3:01 AM on July 21, 2004


As is very well explained in "Fast Food Nation", it's is absolutely clear that this comes as a result of the actions of the people at the very top of the fast-food chains. Every time you eat at a fast food place, you are financing a lobby which pushes for lower health standards (to achieve, for instance, more production "efficiency" in slaughterhouses by processing 50 cows/hour vs. 10 cows/hour). This has a domino effect down the whole chain. Fast food joints are different from other restaurants in that they are manned by cheap, unskilled labor. Take a wild shot at guessing what kind of labor force is manning the facilities that provide them with raw materials? (This without getting into techniques such as creating "efficient" burgers, each of which can contain meat samples from up to several hundred animals).

/To try and peg this on us omnivores is superduperlame, and unsurprisingly so coming from PETA.
posted by magullo at 4:00 AM on July 21, 2004


You know, on a whim a while back I read through a message board for fervent gun-rights people. There was, no doubt, a lot of semi-crazy babble about the government coming to take all their guns away and silly shit like that, but when it came to hunting animals I was amazed at the necessity most of them found in making sure they cleanly killed whatever they were hunting.

I'd really like to think conservative gun owners who respect the hunter's concept of killing animals without torturing them will rally against something as awful as what is happening to these chickens instead of making their usual anti-PETA gags about the stupid hippies.

I hate PETA's tactics too, but this is monsterous.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 4:49 AM on July 21, 2004


eyeballkid: that's the first thing I thought of when I saw the film.

Then I started the yodeling and my wife hit me with a chicken.
posted by donpardo at 4:57 AM on July 21, 2004


I love that they do it to a soundtrack!
posted by a3matrix at 5:16 AM on July 21, 2004


Magullo: To blame this specific case on omnivores in general would indeed be misappropriated, but it's important not to lose sight of the fact that to blame omnivores for an involvement in widespread, needless suffering and death solely in the interests of pleasure is perfectly apt.
posted by ed\26h at 5:34 AM on July 21, 2004


Depressed but proud vegetarian here.

Every time you eat at a fast food place, you are financing a lobby which pushes for lower health standards...

Great point. If you're a vegetarian on moral grounds, consider boycotting fries, shakes, and anything else from fast food chains.

...last night the footage was shown for a good two minutes on Swedish news...

In general, the EU is way ahead of America on preventing brutality and cruel treatment of animals.

The main component to the shift in Europe toward more progressive animal welfare laws is the recognition of moral status in animals. Animals are seen to have inherent value. No longer are animals seen as having value only as property. The recognition of an animal's ability to feel pain has made a huge difference in the animal welfare laws in Europe. Laws exist to minimize unnecessary suffering for the benefit of animals as well as humans. In the US, on the other hand, animals are still seen as property. This is reflected in the regulations concerning animal welfare. When viewed as machines, animal welfare regulations are minimal and enforcement becomes nearly non-existent.
. . .
The EU has adopted several laws phasing out and banning practices that are common husbandry practices in the US. These practices include battery cages for egg laying hens, veal crates for veal calves and gestation crates for pregnant sows. These progressive steps are helping to form consistent animal husbandry practices across the EU and Europe. This can again be attributed to the recognition of a moral status in animals in Europe. Many pieces of legislation state the need to protect animals from unnecessary suffering. The desire to protect animals is evidenced in the legislation in place banning inhumane farming practices.

posted by Shane at 6:07 AM on July 21, 2004


True story.

One of my coworkers is a very nice, middle-to-lower income white lady in her early 50's. She's done just about every crazy job you can think of in her tumultuous life; one of those jobs was a cleaning shift at Farmland's (huge midwest meat processor) pig operations.

The cleaning jobs were easy, as long as you were careful not to get the cleaning compound on your flesh (it was designed to render fat, and didn't care if the fat was entrails from a pig, or the fat in your arm). But, being a strong-willed white girl, management decided to give her entrails duty to entice her to quit on her own. The worst part of entrails duty? The worms.

Millions upon millions of worms. "As long as you thought about them like spagetti, you'd be OK". She once made the mistake of explaining this "coping mechanism" to a new worker, who had just started the night shift after coming from a huge dinner of -- you guessed it -- pasta. He didn't last the night.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 6:27 AM on July 21, 2004


Ok, I watched 3 seconds of the video. I read a brief article. What isn't clear to me so far is why this was happening. Was it simple cruelty on the part of a few employees, or is this some kind of more efficient method of slaughter?
posted by PigAlien at 6:29 AM on July 21, 2004


PigAlien, in case your quesion isn't rhetorical, if you or anyone truly wants to know why this is happening, the Gail Eisnitz book Slaughterhouse will fully explain it. There are many factors, of course, but a big one is that the public hates to think about the reality of animal slaughter, so it's tucked away from the public sphere in many ways (both visual and regulatory), making abuses (both of and by workers) easy. Add to that the central fact of what one's job is, and it's a recipe for soul-killing.

And of course all of this is going on routinely. A lot of the same specific actions shown on this videotape were also charged against Tyson last year by Virgil Butler, an Arkansas slaughterhouse worker-turned-vegetarian who's also now working with PETA. In my opinion, if PETA stuck to this stuff they would be a great animal advocacy organization. It's unfortunate that they water down victories such as this with attention-grasping tripe like the Giuliani/Naked-Lady/Your-Mommy-Kills-Animals campaigns.

Also, I think it's worth noting, in light of the spray-coworkers-and-chickens-with-feces game, that Pilgrim's Pride was responsible for the largest meat recall in US history, for listeria, which comes from chicken feces.
posted by soyjoy at 7:09 AM on July 21, 2004


Is it the slamming of the chickens against the wall, or the stomping on them that makes me crave KFC fortnightly?
posted by DragonBoy at 7:17 AM on July 21, 2004


To try and peg this on us omnivores is superduperlame, and unsurprisingly so coming from PETA.

Cruel behaviour like this, frequently even worse, occurs in every slaughterhouse, vivisection centre and breeding facility in the world.

If you buy the products that come out of that cruelty, you have some blame for perpetuating the behaviour, and it sure isn't vegans who are buying highly processed meat-like products from Pilgrims Pride.
posted by cmonkey at 7:27 AM on July 21, 2004


Ok, so for those who won't answer the question directly, am I to surmise that the employees are just sick fucks who like to have fun in their spare time by torturing the animals? This isn't some method of improving the flavor of the meat by inducing the production of adrelinaline or something like that? (The Chinese often induce pain in the animals they kill because they say the adrenaline makes the meat taste better, or so I've heard.)
posted by PigAlien at 7:52 AM on July 21, 2004


What cmoney and Shane and ed\26h said. Otherwise, I'm going to try and stay outta this one. PETA threads always get me in trouble . . .
posted by tr33hggr at 8:03 AM on July 21, 2004


Obviously, those chickens were evildoers....
posted by spilon at 8:06 AM on July 21, 2004


I love eating chickens, and I think that this is deplorable.

You know, there are lots of organizations that advocate the humane treatment of animals--not all are anti-omnivore.

My belief is that animals have no "rights", but humans do have a responsibility to treat them humanely.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:14 AM on July 21, 2004


I would say that they are just sick fucks pigalien. It is apparent that they were aware of the camera. There is definatly no efficiency to that method of killing a chicken.
What is really disturbing, is the number of people involved. The video is a bit dark and grainy, but you can clearly make out quite a few people participating.
HR has their work cut out for them there.
posted by a3matrix at 8:16 AM on July 21, 2004


I would guess once you slaughter a few thousand chickens you stop seeing them as living creatures and look at them the way any assembly line worker looks at their product. I'm sure these are just a few sick fucks among thousands of employees who would never do stuff like this. I once worked with people at Buger King who hocked loogies in the burgers. Doesn't mean we all did, nor did it mean Burger King advocated loogie burgers.

As an omnivore, I don't like shit like this but I know it happens and whether or not somebody thinks I'm partially to blame doesn't bother me in the least.
posted by bondcliff at 8:25 AM on July 21, 2004


/To try and peg this on us omnivores is superduperlame, and unsurprisingly so coming from PETA.

Yup, PETA is evil, it's all political, just a few bad apples, unique in the industry and probably faked anyway ... this has nothing to do with meat eating ... there's nothing to see here ... have another mcnugget.
posted by milovoo at 8:36 AM on July 21, 2004


So were the chickens, like, misbehaving or something?
posted by dhoyt at 8:38 AM on July 21, 2004


cmonkey, I will not explain again WHY this happens. What I will say is that I am getting sick and tired of being blamed, as a consumer, for shit that faceless corps devote enormous resources to put together and get away with.

/Note to PETA: if my action is needed, work to put a reasonable plan on a ballot and I'll vote for it.

milovoo - thanks for quoting out of context. I explain how the fast food chains promote this kind of crap and you suggest that I visit a McDonalds. That's deep, man. Real deep.
posted by magullo at 8:48 AM on July 21, 2004


well, XQUZYPHYR, i'm a gun owner. not a conservative though. i've been rabbit hunting a few times with my father in law. i also like fishing. i also do animal research. (there, that ought to kill my credibility with the vegan crowd.)

i'm pretty amazed at this video. amazed that nobody had been fired for this shit. no way that something like this can happen without a shift foreman observing it, or at least asking why so many injured/dead chickens were piled near the wall. this means that the foreman was either extremely neglectful, didn't care one way or the other, or was actively involved. either way there will surely be some lawsuits brought about, and a few guys hopefully jailed for animal cruelty. i see no problem with humanely killing an animal if you're going to eat it or learn from it, but death by torture for no reason other than amusement or boredom shouldn't happen to anything.

without trying to break this thread, i wanted to comment on the folks already blaming all omnivores for everything bad that happens to animals. because this "animal use is immoral" thing comes up in any PETA thread, i just want to say, for the record: everyone alive today has benefited in some way through animal research. if you're so dead set against it, and feel that anything done with animals is immoral and not worth supporting, you're going to have to do so much more than just stop eating meat and using animal byproducts. you'll need to stop going to see any sort of a doctor, and stop taking any medications (over the counter or otherwise). you'll have to give up your vaccinations too, and your eyeglasses, and dental work. you're going to have to stop taking your pets or any injured strays you find to the vet, as well. until you do that, you can't take much of a moral high ground against all animal use.

i work in the animal research field. i've seen what happens to the animals and they way they are treated. it is safe to say that if you folks were held to the same standards of animal care that we are, you'd all be in jail for the way you treat your pets. seriously, this isn't meant to be sarcasm - you wouldn't believe how strict the standards are. and it's also completely safe to say that there is NO WAY around using animals to learn about life - not unless humans start volunteering to be cut up for the good of all. (anyone who thinks studying a cell culture or MRI can give us all the info about the brain there is to know clearly knows jack shit about neuroscience.)

secondly, as a biologist it's pretty safe to say that the human body evolved in concert with an omnivorous diet. whether or not you personally feel that being an omnivore is good or not, remember that (a) 90% of the world doesn't have much of a choice in the matter, and/or has different cultural or moral standards than you, and (b) there's nothing physically wrong with being an omnivore. admittedly, being a primary consumer (eatin' veggies) is biologically more efficient than being a secondary consumer (eatin' the cow who ate the veggies), but our plumbing isn't designed for it. that's why we need to cook veggies before we can actually digest them, unlike a cow.

well that's my bit. in general, feel superior if you want, but if i see you so much as swallow an aspirin i'm going to smirk knowingly, because you're part of the problem too. blaming meat eaters for how some scumbag sickos in a factory treat the chickens is sort of like blaming all people who have sex for the way child prostitutes are treated in thailand.
posted by caution live frogs at 9:08 AM on July 21, 2004


What I will say is that I am getting sick and tired of being blamed, as a consumer, for shit that faceless corps devote enormous resources to put together and get away with.

Well, magullo, there is the basic argument that if people stopped eating meat, there'd be no more of this. I'm curious where you see the fault in that statement or, if you agree with it, how you managed to pull the omnivore out of the equation.

How you can see the meat-eating consumer as not somehow implicit in something like this--or, in fact, as you seem to be arguing, completley blame-free--is beyond me, especially after you've read FFN.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding your posts, but it seems to me that you thought Fast Food Nation a book that was trying to get people to change the way the world works so they could eat meat without guilt. Personally, I thought it made a better argument for not eating it at all.
posted by dobbs at 9:10 AM on July 21, 2004


implicit=complicit
posted by dobbs at 9:12 AM on July 21, 2004


magullo, I understand you're pissed at milovoo's flippancy, but your original comment does seem to strive a bit desperately to peg all of this on fast-food restaurants, as though abstaining from same would take one out of the moral loop.

Every time you eat at a fast food place, you are financing a lobby which pushes for lower health standards (to achieve, for instance, more production "efficiency" in slaughterhouses by processing 50 cows/hour vs. 10 cows/hour).

Very true. But every time you eat meat that you haven't seen humanely killed by someone you know, you're supporting this same overall situation. Animals of all kinds are being cruelly, viciously killed in slaughterhouses everywhere - the only thing remarkable about the current issue is that this more-extreme-than-usual abuse was captured on tape - and the meat is going to plenty of places other than fast-food restaurants. You can choose to support the industry and the way it does things by giving them your money, or you can choose to withhold your money and fight (to whatever degree) for change. But since we do have a choice about where to spend our food money, funding the large-scale meat industry does make one an accomplice to these crimes. Whether one cares about this fact is a separate issue.

As to live frogs, animal research is always brought in as the trump card, but the society-wide effects of it, the existence of types of medicines that happen to have involved animal testing, is not analogous to a personal choice over whether to have a burger or a salad for lunch.

blaming meat eaters for how some scumbag sickos in a factory treat the chickens is sort of like blaming all people who have sex for the way child prostitutes are treated in thailand.

This is plain nonsense. People having sex in the privacy of their homes does not causally relate to other people having sex, anywhere, at any time. Slaughterhouse workers' job is to kill quickly in order to feed massive numbers of meat eaters. And again, "some scumbag sickos in a factory" sounds like the "few bad apples" mantra. Read any of the sources I provided above for proof that this abuse is widespread and common.

that's why we need to cook veggies before we can actually digest them, unlike a cow.

Also nonsense. We can eat most vegetables perfectly fine in their raw state, even if cooking sometimes has nutritive advantages. On the other hand, eating raw meat is both dangerous and repugnant to most humans.

I know it's not a popular perspective, but there's a lot of thematic overlap between this thread and this one.
posted by soyjoy at 9:23 AM on July 21, 2004


I don't see eating meat as necessarily leading to the mistreatment of chickens--chickens that wouldn't even exist if nobody was going to eat them.

I've killed hundreds of animals (mostly fish and chickens) in my lifetime, and it hasn't made me want to cause them unneccessary pain.

To be honest, I don't think that anyone should eat meat if they wouldn't kill an animal themselves. Having grown up in a rural farming community, I had the opportunity to participate in the process at all stages, and I recommend it to everyone.

Which is not to say that I don't think that people who are vegan for moral and environmental reasons, and vegetarian for environmental reasons, aren't behaving with integrity.

But anyone wearing leather shoes and a wool sweater who gives me a lecture about how I shouldn't eat meat because it's cruel to the animals needs a big reality check.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:52 AM on July 21, 2004


well that's my bit. in general, feel superior if you want, but if i see you so much as swallow an aspirin i'm going to smirk knowingly, because you're part of the problem too.

Uh, except that aspirin was developed without animal tests.

Believe it or not, people were curing their illnesses thousands of years before you lovable vivisectors got on your white coat welfare gravy train.

vivisection debates never, ever get anywhere. I won't derail further
posted by cmonkey at 10:01 AM on July 21, 2004


People suffer in sweatshops all over the world. Does that mean we shouldn't wear clothing? Or that we should only wear clothing we've made ourselves (and, presumably, we should have picked the cotton, processed the cotton, spun it into yarn and woven the fabric ourselves)?

Of course not. It means that we should try to be active consumers, choosing products made by responsible manufacturers, and supporting organizations that investigate and publicize unsafe and inhumane conditions where they exist.

Similarly, the undeniable fact that there are many places where food animals are mistreated horribly doesn't, for me, mean that I should stop eating meat, or that I should only eat animals I've farmed and killed personally. Rather, it means, to me, that I should try to be an active consumer, choosing meat prepared by responsible producers, and supporting organizations that investigate and publicize unsafe and inhumane conditions where they exist.

Pretty much all medicines currently in use in the Western pharmacopia have been tested on unwilling subjects, either animal or human. In fact, lots of homeopathic medicines are made with poultry or fish organs (Oscillo, for example).

Anyone who avoids using or buying all products which depend on animals' unwilling participation--from silk to honey to wool to insulin to film to lacquer--is certainly behaving in a way that demonstrates personal integrity. Strangely enough, I've never had anyone like that lecture me about eating meat.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:04 AM on July 21, 2004


And, actually, Heinrich Dreser, who oversaw Bayer's laboratories at the time that they developed commercial aspirin, was one of the pioneers of animal testing. I can't find a reference that specifically states that aspirin was tested on animal subjects, but it seems unlikely that it would not have been, seeing as Bayer was famously committed to animal testing as part of the development process.

Sorry, cmonkey. Next time you have a headache, I recommend willow bark.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:09 AM on July 21, 2004


cmonkey - agree with you there. the debate almost always ends up going nowhere, sorry to fan the flames. i get irate when people tell me how wrong the world is and that it's my fault, so generally respond by pointing out that none of us are blameless.

and i wasn't aware that aspirin was initially so critter-friendly. but my point wasn't the asprin itself, it was the idea that by buying meat i'm causing this problem. in the same vein, buying bayer aspirin means you're supporting everything the company does - like the massive amounts of pesticides the company manufactures these days.

anyway this thread was about assholes torturing chickens. i still think - no matter what side of the ethics debate you land on - that torturing chickens like that is wrong, and repeat my hopes that the bastards get jail time for it.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:13 AM on July 21, 2004


Anyone who avoids using or buying all products which depend on animals' unwilling participation--from silk to honey to wool to insulin to film to lacquer--is certainly behaving in a way that demonstrates personal integrity. Strangely enough, I've never had anyone like that lecture me about eating meat.

How large is your sample group? How many people total have lectured you on the subject? Did you have a questionnaire to determine their level of integrity and personal involvement, or were you perhaps just guessing?
posted by milovoo at 10:15 AM on July 21, 2004


Milovoo, I'm not saying that I have conducted a sociological study showing that people who really live a life without unwilling animal participation never lecture omnivores about the immorality of eating meat. I am merely saying that this has never been my experience.

How many people, total, have lectured me on eating meat--from a moral standpoint--in my lifetime? Probably 200-300.

I can certainly see when someone is wearing wool, silk, or leather (and can verify my assessment through discussion with my interlocutor). I can ask them whether they use film, eat honey, or take the various homeopathic remedies I know to be prepared with animal organs.

In my experience, when I have had that discussion with someone who has lectured me on eating meat from a moral standpoint, they have always admitted to aspects of their own lifestyle that require unwilling animal participation.

I have also met a few dozen people who have chosen a life completely without unwilling animal participation. None of those people have ever lectured me about eating meat.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:44 AM on July 21, 2004


I got a veggie dog from the Lettuce Ladies today, right on the steps of the Rayburn House Office Building. Just doin' my part.
posted by MrMoonPie at 11:08 AM on July 21, 2004


The oft-repeated stereotype is that vegetarians are just a bunch of lecturing hypocrites, because they still consume trace amounts of animal products and are therefore just as guilty as someone regularly consuming factory farmed meat, personally I don't follow that logic, but maybe it makes more sense to others.

It seems like an important question would be why are products like tallow and gelatin available so cheaply that they are used indiscriminately in the manufacture of thousands and thousands of goods, and end up being quite hard to avoid? Because they are by-products of the meat industry. If there were not already such a market for slaughter, there would be more non-animal options available.

but, no matter, this is not one of those knowing-the-facts-will-change-your-mind kind of arguments, so might as well let it end - Could someone please claim that Hitler was vegetarian so we can Godwin out of here.
posted by milovoo at 11:14 AM on July 21, 2004


If you want to eat meat, you can avoid supporting such hideous practices by knowing where you get your meat. There are CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) all over the US and I imagine, in other countries as well. Now I know where my meat and eggs come from and how the animal was treated before it got to my kitchen. For instance, I know that the yolks in the eggs I get may be a bit paler because the eagles nesting nearby have spooked the hens causing them to stay undercover more and thus eating fewer bugs. It's a relief to know that the farmer we support really cares about what she's doing. We're now able to get chicken, pork, and split sides of grass-fed beef. This may not be feasible for everyone, but it is an option for many.
posted by lobakgo at 11:20 AM on July 21, 2004


On my allegedly thin intent to peg this on the fast food chains and walk away: we're talking about a tape captured in the premises of a fast food provider. This is not a trivial fact - this is more like a "surely not again?" sorta thing. These guys are far from innocent. They are a a very active driving force and they often set - more precisely: lower - the standards. Worldwide. I do agree very much with the poster that suggested PETA to stick to bringing light to this kind of stuff.

On the "it happens all the time everywhere" argument. No, it does not. There are as many ways about being moral about your food as there are ways to still manage to ingest the necessary nutrients in your body. I am an omnivore that happens to spend a lot of time inside kitchens and a lot of time sitting at tables sampling gorgeous food. I am convinced that you are what you eat, so you better watch what goes in your mouth. I don't buy or eat just anything (most of the time) - and I certainly don't buy some stuff because I know that it shouldn't be sold. For instance, I only eat free range chicken - which I can afford. If I could not afford it, I would eat less of it, rather than grab the gross stuff. Now, I am not saying that free range is a panacea, but then again PETA seems to ignore (or worse) the whole world ofanti-fast-food food (of which the link is just an example).

On the "if no one ate meat argument" - I'll be brutally honest here: this is the one argument that drives me up the wall, specially when I hear it from a well-to-do Westener. Things are not that simple. In many places, including surprisingly some fairly poor countries, fast food chains often offer one of the cheapest fares around. Not to mention the (relatively) nice atmosphere. I'd like to sit every person that comes with that argument in a Bangkok or Hong Kong McDonalds and explain to the local why it is a disaster to bring his whole family there, when it is by far the most decent place he can afford. Does this mean that fast food chains are redeemable? Hell, no. But in my mind, that family surely deserves a cow.
posted by magullo at 11:22 AM on July 21, 2004


Well, magullo, there is the basic argument that if people stopped eating meat, there'd be no more of this.

Well, sure. And if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon. Of course if something that's obviously never going to happen happened, things would change. But things that obviously are never going to happen have a funny way of continuing not to happen
posted by kindall at 11:26 AM on July 21, 2004


Pilgrim's Pride Animal Welfare Policy

Pilgrim's Pride Corporation will strictly maintain a program of animal welfare that is designed to eliminate unnecessary harm and suffering for animals in the day-to-day operation of our production processes.

Pilgrim's Pride President's Message 7/19/04

You may see coverage in the media in the coming days about a video reportedly taken in one of our chicken processing plants showing inhumane treatment of our birds. We are appalled at the treatment of the animals that was depicted in the video.

Let me make this very clear: Pilgrim’s Pride will not tolerate any mistreatment of our animals by any of our employees. Any employee who is found to have mistreated animals in violation of company policy will be immediately terminated.


Statement by Pilgrim's Pride 7/20/04

Pilgrim's Pride (NYSE:PPC) is appalled and outraged by the animal welfare allegations concerning our company's Moorefield, West Virginia plant. The actions described are in complete and direct contradiction to Pilgrim's Pride animal welfare practices and policies regarding the humane treatment of poultry. KFC is a valued customer, and it's important to understand that these allegations are totally unrelated to KFC, and we regret they've been unfairly identified with this incident.

While we believe this is an isolated incident, earlier today Pilgrim's Pride issued a directive to management to every production facility that handles live animals to review our previously-established animal welfare policies and practices in meetings with every employee and supervisor that handle live animals. Complex and plant managers at all 25 plants have been instructed to stop production on the current shift and hold meetings at the beginning of subsequent shifts and review animal welfare policies and Pilgrim's Pride's zero tolerance for deviations from these policies. We are also requiring signatures from every employee who works with live animals indicating that he or she reaffirms their understanding of the policies.


Grilled Chicken with Green Beans and Walnuts
posted by swift at 11:33 AM on July 21, 2004


On the "if no one ate meat argument"... In many places, including surprisingly some fairly poor countries, fast food chains often offer one of the cheapest fares around.

So, they should eat at these places because it makes them feel like they have a higher standard of living, even as the rain forest in these same countries is being cleared to make room for the beef grazing, which is why it's so cheap? Do you think that this generation should live well at the expense of the next?
posted by milovoo at 11:39 AM on July 21, 2004


KFC Animal Welfare Program

Yum! Brands, parent company of KFC, is committed to the humane treatment of animals.

Yum! Brands is the owner of restaurant companies and, as such, does not own, raise, or transport animals. However, as a major purchaser of food products, we have the opportunity, and responsibility, to influence the way animals supplied to us are treated. We take that responsibility very seriously, and we are monitoring our suppliers on an ongoing basis to determine whether our suppliers are using humane procedures for caring for and handling animals they supply to us. As a consequence, it is our goal to only deal with suppliers who promise to maintain our high standards and share our commitment to animal welfare.


KFC Poultry Welfare Guidelines

Catching
KFC's guidelines also provide that every reasonable precaution should be taken to minimize injury to birds arriving at our supplier's plants. KFC recommends that its suppliers implement an incentive program that rewards catching crews for minimizing injury if KFC's audit reveals that birds are being injured during the catching process.

posted by swift at 11:42 AM on July 21, 2004


Why don't you ask PeTA about their corpse/meat fridge before you talk about this.

In Ingrid Newkirk's (PRESIDENT of PeTA) own words:

"...sometimes the only kind option for some animals is to put them to sleep forever."

Some stats on that 2002 corpse/meat fridge:

Animals taken in by PeTA: 2103
Animals murdered by PeTA: 1325
Percentage of animals that survive if PeTA gets their slimy hands on them: 37%

Fucking hypocrites. I know a lot of farmers that have killed FAR FEWER animals.

BTW:

Mary Beth Sweetland (Senior VP of PeTA), how's the insulin developed by testing it on dogs, you bloody hypocrite?

Quotes from her when she is questioned about her insulin: it "...still contains some animal products."

"I don't see myself as a hypocrite. I need my life to fight for the rights of animals."

Now, don't get me wrong, *I* am not the one arguing that we should rid the world of insulin. *SHE* is. Live by the sword, die by the sword, that's what I say.

Go to hell, PeTA, I don't listen to people who won't abide by even the simplest of their own rules! Why the hell shouldn't I think you're making this shit up? Bastards.

[For those wondering about where I got those stats, info about the corpse fridge, and the quotes, check both Peta's July 31, 2002 Tax Filings and Season 2, Episode 1 of Penn and Teller's Bullshit]
posted by shepd at 11:42 AM on July 21, 2004


Oh crap, and totally what soyjoy said, every time.

/whistles
posted by tr33hggr at 11:48 AM on July 21, 2004


Why don't you ask PeTA about their corpse/meat fridge before you talk about this.

Yes the secret is out, PETA is the messianic organization of all vegetarians, in fact without the daily memo no one would really know what to eat at any given time. They have been authorized to speak for all vegs and vegans everywhere and it's important that all vegetarians be grouped together with them whenever the topic comes up.
posted by milovoo at 11:53 AM on July 21, 2004


I don't care if people stop eating meat or not, I gave up of making pro-vegan points or anything, I just would like to thank the meat-eaters here for being conscious, even if they don't feel comfortable seeing the video. I can't stand shouts or flames anymore, I thought MeFi was dead for subjects like these, but came here to check the comments anyway and here it is, peaceful meat-eaters bringing interesting questions to the table. This is non-violence. This is vegan consciousness in the meat-eaters. We have a better world already.
posted by nandop at 12:15 PM on July 21, 2004


milovoo, that'd be cool if this weren't a story cooked up be PeTA...

But... uhhh... what the heck are you talking about? I didn't say all vegans were terrible people or anything (If I did, I invite you to point it out). I just said that PeTA is owned and operated by hypocrites, and that due to that fact, they are likely COMPLETELY WRONG about anything to do with harm to animals.

As far as "vegan consciousness" goes, hey, I'm all for it. Enjoy away! I don't dislike vegans as a generality, however, I find the tactics that certain vegan groups, like PeTA (hypocrites) , ALF (terrorists), etc use positively despicable, and when those groups speak, I think people should know exactly what they represent.

I am certain that, while you are a vegans, you are willing to make exceptions to save your lives. As long as you are willing to admit that and accept it as a reasonable thing to do, then my argument is not with you at all (well, not this argument).
posted by shepd at 12:27 PM on July 21, 2004


I don't eat "factory farmed meat", milovoo. Why did you assume I did?

How is it more moral to take an Oscillo tablet that is made from duck liver than it is to buy a delicious free-range chicken from a farm you know to be responsible?

And isn't it hypocritical for people to lecture others about doing something they do themselves?

There are lots of very good reasons for people to be vegetarians. There are lots of very good reasons for people to be vegans. And there are lots of very good reasons for people to be omnivores.

However, those who aren't morally pure shouldn't take a stand of moral purity.

Now, if someone says to me, "My vegetarian lifestyle makes less of an impact on the planet than your responsibly omnivorous lifestyle," I would be the first person to agree.

But if someone says to me, "My vegetarian lifestyle is Good To Animals, whereas your responsibly omnivorous lifestyle is Bad To Animals," I'm going to call bullshit on their ass.

Milovoo, you seem awfully angry and defensive about this. You also seem ready to make the kind of assumptions about omnivores that you criticize omnivores for making about vegetarians.
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:29 PM on July 21, 2004


I just said that PeTA is owned and operated by hypocrites, and that due to that fact, they are likely COMPLETELY WRONG about anything to do with harm to animals.

Must PETA be saints to call bullshit on bullshit practices? Are you actually saying that chicken stomping is, like, the right thing here? Non-harmful?

Not that slaughtering them is non-harmful, but no need to get all theatrical about the process.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 12:37 PM on July 21, 2004


As an opportunistic omnivore (and one-time vegetarian), I laugh my ass off hearing arguments such as this. I'm appalled at such treatment, and this is why PETA should be around. When PETA sticks to facts, rather than funny costumes and wild hyperbole, their message has impact. When they act like attention whores, I have a hard time seeing beyond the dancing, red paint, and naked chests to the point they're trying to make.

For example:
PETA members secretly filming criminal mistreatment of animals and publically confronting business owners.
I can take that seriously, and support their efforts. Simple, effective.
PETA members dressing up as bloody chickens and holding a "cluck-in", or some other similarly over-the-top weirdness.
Nope. Pure dreck.
posted by FormlessOne at 12:46 PM on July 21, 2004


FormlessOne, you make a good point here--this is exactly the kind of thing that I applaud PETA for. Treating chickens cruelly before slaughter is definitely not "ethical treatment of animals" as I define it, and I appreciate their having brought the matter to public attention.

However, I'm still going to eat my delicious locally farmed chicken. Mmm, chicken...
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:54 PM on July 21, 2004


we should send these workers over to Iraq as part of our intelligence-gathering apparatus.
posted by dogmatic at 12:56 PM on July 21, 2004


Sidhedevil:

You know, there are lots of organizations that advocate the humane treatment of animals--not all are anti-omnivore.

This would seem to suggest that killing an animal unnecessarily because you want to enjoy the taste of eating its flesh can also be an example of treating that animal humanely. Something what would seem questionable at best.

My belief is that animals have no "rights", but humans do have a responsibility to treat them humanely.

What factors(s) do you think justify the denying of rights to animals?

bondcliff:

As an omnivore, I don't like shit like this but I know it happens and whether or not somebody thinks I'm partially to blame doesn't bother me in the least.

Whether this bothers you or not is irrelevant to whether or not you are at least partially to blame; which you are – your lifestyle requires the needless killing and suffering of animals. It may well be the case that you have no causal connection to what has occurred in this specific case but that would somewhat miss the point.

Magullo:

What I will say is that I am getting sick and tired of being blamed, as a consumer, for shit that faceless corps devote enormous resources to put together and get away with.

Whether being blamed makes you sick, tired or not, is irrelevant to whether or not you are at least partially to blame; which you are – your lifestyle requires the needless killing and suffering of animals. It may well be the case that you have no causal connection to what has occurred in this specific case but that would somewhat miss the point.*

Caution Live Frogs:

Appealing to the idea that eating meat is perfectly natural human behavior is not justification for that behavior. Raping and killing people are also perfectly natural examples of human behavior but I cannot imagine you believe that such a fact alone justifies these activities.

While it is impossible or logistically prohibitive to lead a life which refrains from frustrating the interests of at least some sentient creatures, it in no way follows that we should not attempt to limit these frustrations or that we should limit these attempts themselves. Being members of a current model of a capitalist society means that we, in living the way we live, are going to be exploiting someone, somewhere along the line, but, I’m sure you can agree, this doesn’t mean someone who does their best to consume ethically is no better than someone who just goes for the cheapest without thinking twice.

Sidhedevil:

I don't see eating meat as necessarily leading to the mistreatment of chickens--chickens that wouldn't even exist if nobody was going to eat them.

Presumably though, you can accept that eating meat necessarily leads to the needless suffering and death of animals simply for the end of your pleasure. It would be difficult to argue that this was not mistreatment. The idea that they wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t bred them for that purpose would justify, for instance, breeding great colonies of slaves to use as we saw fit, so long as they were bred with that end in mind.

But anyone wearing leather shoes and a wool sweater who gives me a lecture about how I shouldn't eat meat because it's cruel to the animals needs a big reality check.

The behavior of the advocate of a certain argument does not affect the truth value of that argument. If a thief were to say to you “it is wrong to steal” his own behavior, however inconsistent does not alter the truth of his statement.

People suffer in sweatshops all over the world. Does that mean we shouldn't wear clothing?

Wearing clothing does not inherently require the exploitation of people – whereas eating meat does inherently require the suffering and death of animals. We should try our best to avoid the exploitation of people; but this does not entail refraining from wearing clothes.

In my experience, when I have had that discussion with someone who has lectured me on eating meat from a moral standpoint, they have always admitted to aspects of their own lifestyle that require unwilling animal participation.

While it is impossible or logistically prohibitive to lead a life which refrains from frustrating the interests of at least some sentient creatures, it in no way follows that we should not attempt to limit these frustrations or that we should limit these attempts themselves. Being members of a current model of a capitalist society means that we, in living the way we live, are going to be exploiting someone, somewhere along the line, but, I’m sure you can agree, this doesn’t mean someone who does their best to consume ethically is no better than someone who just goes for the cheapest without thinking twice*.

lobakgo:

If you want to eat meat, you can avoid supporting such hideous practices by knowing where you get your meat.

While it is somewhat commendable to purchase meat from outlets where treatment of animals is know to be as sympathetic as such production can be, it would be difficult to argue that having animals suffer and die for the sole interest of your pleasure is not a rather hideous practice.

Magullo:

On the "if no one ate meat argument" - I'll be brutally honest here: this is the one argument that drives me up the wall, specially when I hear it from a well-to-do Westener. Things are not that simple.

Arguments for vegetarianism, and certainly the better ones of these, do not state that in all circumstances it is wrong to kill animals to eat them. If a person lives in a non-affluent area and needs to eat meat to survive they are perfectly justified in doing so. We, in the affluent west where suitable alternatives are readily available, are not.

kindall:

Well, sure. And if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon. Of course if something that's obviously never going to happen happened, things would change. But things that obviously are never going to happen have a funny way of continuing not to happen

This could be applied to the statement – If everybody stopped owning slaves…. In 1800.

shepd:

"...sometimes the only kind option for some animals is to put them to sleep forever."

You accusation of hypocrisy based on this quote would only be sound if it were true that treating an animal ethically and euthanizing that animal were, in all circumstances, conflicting practices. I’m sure though, that you cannot believe that is true. As for insulin, I imagine anyone who held such beliefs would purchase a brand which used a vegetarian source.

* = These parts are in twice so that people reading only their specific reply would not miss an important point.
posted by ed\26h at 1:05 PM on July 21, 2004


PEOPLE, PEOPLE...

Let's not turn on each other. Instead let's find a way to follow up on this and make sure the Pilgrim employees lose their jobs and face legal action.

But anyone wearing leather shoes and a wool sweater who gives me a lecture about how I shouldn't eat meat because it's cruel to the animals needs a big reality check.

Sidhedevil, I never lecture. Lecturing does no good. Truly conscientious carnivores are hardly a part of the problem.

As far as humans being naturally omnivoric(sp? heh), I think that's irrelevent: the point is that, at this stage of evolution, we have a choice. And I could survive quite well on a raw diet.

And, actually, Heinrich Dreser, who oversaw Bayer's laboratories at the time that they developed commercial aspirin, was one of the pioneers of animal testing.

Bayer were Nazis anyway. Experimented on Jewish people.

shepd, I think you're trolling as usual. You can hate PETA if you want, that's totally your prerogative. No problem. But why the vitriol? Guilt reaction? You're talking about euthanasia and a tiny number of animals compared to the animals dying badly or suffering in the world.

The point is, the bastards in the video are sick SOBs. What happens next?
posted by Shane at 1:09 PM on July 21, 2004


So many choice quotes... so little time.

On the "it happens all the time everywhere" argument. No, it does not.

Maybe you were just paraphrasing to be concise, but that wasn't the argument. As stated, it was: "Animals of all kinds are being cruelly, viciously killed in slaughterhouses everywhere." I've read enough first-hand accounts from slaughterhouse workers, and communicated with enough of them, to believe this to be fundamentally true, and I'll point you to evidence if you want. Do you have some basis for believing otherwise other than your fervent wish that it not be true?

we believe this is an isolated incident

That about says it all. Hey, if the company behind the crime puts out a statement saying it's an "isolated incident," that's good enough for me! All the documentation to the contrary from many, many USDA files, videos, still photos and first-hand reports must be wrong, somehow.

that'd be cool if this weren't a story cooked up be PeTA...

The worst thing about PETA is that they're such crafty puppetmasters they can control how slaughterhouse workers behave! And this proves it!

Seriously, shepd, it's great that you got all that good info from Penn & Teller. Now, have you read Slaughterhouse? What's your take on Virgil Butler? How 'bout Dave Louthan? Do you actually want to know what's going on, irrespective of whatever anyone at PETA says or believes?

I am certain that, while you are a vegans, you are willing to make exceptions to save your lives. As long as you are willing to admit that and accept it as a reasonable thing to do, then my argument is not with you at all (well, not this argument).

I know a lot of vegans and none of them that I know would not make an exception if their life was at stake. But your life in no way depends on eating meat. This is the bogus argument Gary Francione so cogently demolishes in Introduction to Animal Rights: Your Child or the Dog? I recommend reading this book to anyone wishing to discuss intelligently the ethics of meat-eating and veganism.

you seem awfully angry and defensive about this

This is such a hoary cliche it's laughable. Angry? Why would anyone who cares about animals be "angry" that slaughterhouse workers are routinely torturing animals? Bizarre.
posted by soyjoy at 1:11 PM on July 21, 2004


heh. That's great. We were all composing these multifaceted screeds at the same time.
posted by soyjoy at 1:14 PM on July 21, 2004


I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals. I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants.

Now that's out of the way:

Animals need to die.

Because, y'know, everything that's alive is gonna end up dead. That's the way life works.

It is my opinion that their lives and deaths need not be more stressful and painful than that they would encounter in the wild.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:19 PM on July 21, 2004


You can hate PETA if you want, that's totally your prerogative. No problem. But why the vitriol?

For one thing, because PETA are so radical they leave themselves open to criticism. They've done some stupid shit, and therefore they're an easy target for making fun of.

People are incredibly... I want to say frightened by the concept of giving up meat, but I think it's more just threatened, and understandably so. Changing one's diet fundamentally is a big deal, and facing up to the nightmarish existence we inflict on animals (even in the best cases) can be absolutely heartbreaking.

So put these two things together, and you get people who like to skewer PETA because they think this also somehow negates the need to think twice about animals. PETA becomes the straw man: propped up as the representative of the vegetarian urge, only to be knocked down with a satisfying yuk-yuk-yuk!

[insert some vague joke about choking on a bucket of cocks here]
posted by scarabic at 2:56 PM on July 21, 2004


You're not even going to credit that quote?
"I'm not a vegetarian because I love animals. I'm a vegetarian because I hate plants."

Yup, it just gets funnier every time I hear it.
posted by milovoo at 3:13 PM on July 21, 2004


Ogre, no, PeTA doesn't have to be a saint. They have no need to be perfect. But, when you're asking people to die for your cause (Diabetics), you damn well shouldn't be killing animals yourself.

I disregard their "evidence" the same way I disregard evidence from BMG and Sony that me downloading music from the internet is putting them out of business.

I don't expect saints. I just expect a preacher to do at least, say, 90% of what they preach. PeTA's hypocrisy is on the same level as a catholic Priest acting out paedophilic fantasies. We're not talking a little mistake, we're talking one of HUGE proportions.

What factors(s) do you think justify the denying of rights to animals?

Lack of responsibility. Humans have rights because they are responsible for their actions.

The minute you give rights to animals is the minute you have to put them in handcuffs for fucking and shitting in the streets. With rights come responsibilities. Always.

ed\26h, I'd agree with you, but Ingrid was alluding to something different. She was saying that it's OK to put a dog down if the best it can expect is to live in a cage.

That's fucking cold, man.

Here's the rest of what she said. I was trying to be nice, sheilding it from you, but hey, whatever:

"It is a totally rotten business, but sometimes the only kind option for some animals is to put them to sleep forever," Newkirk said. "I don't think a dog living in a cage walking in circles for the rest of its life in a dog prison is a swell thing."

Normally, I'd say, yeah, one bad apple doesn't necessarially spoil the bunch, but these are words from the PRESIDENT and VICE PRESIDENT of the corporation. I think it's fair to say that this is what PeTA is all about.

PeTA are rotten to the core.

The worst thing about PETA is that they're such crafty puppetmasters they can control how slaughterhouse workers behave! And this proves it!

NO! The worst thing about PeTA is that they are LIARS. That's why a hypocrite is. A liar. If they lie to the point of murdering thousands of animals each year, WHERE DOES THE LYING END? Why shouldn't I think the video is a fabrication? I can't trust a liar.

You're talking about euthanasia and a tiny number of animals compared to the animals dying badly or suffering in the world.

*I* am talking about euthanasia, using PeTAs words. Have you *ever* seen what PeTA protesters say to people running animal shelters? They call them "murderers" for doing the EXACT SAME THINGS. They are lying, no good, rotten, terrible, scumbags of the earth and I wouldn't trust PeTA with my pet, never mind with the truth. I'd rather leave my cat with someone who hunts cats for a living than PeTA. It's safer.

Just watch the Penn and Teller video, ok? You'll see what I'm talking about in the first 2 minutes.

PeTA are not the straw man. PeTA are horrible people, PERIOD. You don't see me going about hating Hindus, do you? Just because you don't want to eat meat doesn't mean I think you're insane. However, not wanting to eat meat because it kills things, then running a "pro-kill" animal shelter is so hypocritical it makes me sick to my stomach.
posted by shepd at 3:29 PM on July 21, 2004


Normally, I'd say, yeah, one bad apple doesn't necessarially spoil the bunch, but these are words from the PRESIDENT and VICE PRESIDENT of the corporation. I think it's fair to say that this is what PeTA is all about.

So all the Worldcom and Enron employees are guilty too?
posted by milovoo at 3:46 PM on July 21, 2004


Those that knew what was going on and didn't blow the whistle, yah, they're guilty, too.

I coulda sworn it was Stephen Wright that did the vegetarian schtick. Probably the jokes been around long enough the original author is forgotten.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:56 PM on July 21, 2004


i've found out something very shocking ... grain and vegetable farmers use pest control to kill animals! ... this is clearly a violation of animal rights ... they are poisoned, swatted, electrocuted, and hunted by predatory felines who bat their prey around just like those guys with the chickens ... we should all stop eating grain and vegetables ... if we don't, we're supporting animal cruelty!

think of some poor mouse being tortured by a cat the next time you have a bowl of cereal ... HOW CAN YOU????
posted by pyramid termite at 4:21 PM on July 21, 2004


So all the Worldcom and Enron employees are guilty too?

No, but the corporation is doomed. And, any PeTA employee that mudered an animal in their shelter, and any PeTA employee whom I might show the articles about Ingrid et al. who doesn't immediately quit, yeah, they're guilty.

How many of them would quit if I told them about those articles? I'm going to say none, but perhaps I'm wrong. Perhaps if I could only let everyone in PeTA know what a terrible, murderour corporation they work for, they'd all quit, and we'd be rid of the lying toads at the top.

Perhaps.

pyramid termite, you need to join the People for the Ethical Treatement of The Yeasts.
posted by shepd at 4:40 PM on July 21, 2004


How many of them would quit if I told them about those articles? I'm going to say none, but perhaps I'm wrong.

Either way it seems worth a shot. I was surprised at how few people gave a damn about any of the American Red Cross scandals whenever it came up. I think that people are generally inured to corporate abuse and scandal even in non-profits. I think Earth First has a far better model for change, anyway. Still, it's good that PETA can get press for this kind of information (the original link).
posted by milovoo at 5:06 PM on July 21, 2004


Humans have rights because they are responsible for their actions.

Is that really true? Do humans lose their rights if we perceive them to be irresponsible? Is it acceptable to kill a human being if we know they're psychopathic, even if they haven't hurt anyone? Perhaps it's true in a general sense that we associate rights with responsibilities, but I don't think that's how rights work. Rights imply a duty on the part of others, not a responsibility on the part of the rights-holder.

If we can perceive a duty not to be cruel to animals, we can say that animals have a right not to be treated cruelly. As our sense of empathy grows, we perceive more duties to others, and thus create rights that heretofore didn't exist.

I'm sure these are just a few sick fucks among thousands of employees who would never do stuff like this.

I'm not so sure of this. The unpleasant fact is simply that slaughterhouse work is dehumanizing, and that if you do it enough, you're not going to have a problem with stomping chickens instead of decapitating them. These "sick fucks" are no different from the rest of us, really - we all have the innate capacity to do this.
posted by me & my monkey at 5:44 PM on July 21, 2004


>Do humans lose their rights if we perceive them to be irresponsible?

Yes. They lose their right to freedom.

>Is it acceptable to kill a human being if we know they're psychopathic, even if they haven't hurt anyone?

No. Very few first world countries still do this. The ones that do have been refused prisoners who are to be tried in that country due to how wrong the world views this.

>Rights imply a duty on the part of others, not a responsibility on the part of the rights-holder.

How? It's not my duty, for example, to stop you from speeding. It's not my duty to stop you from shitting on the sidewalk. That's *your* job.

>I'm not so sure of this

m&mm, remember, if you are willing to suggest that a few apples spoil the bunch, you have to accept that all of PeTA are lying, hypocritical scumbags for the same reasons.

IMHO, working for PeTA also causes you to devalue human life. Proof of that can be found in the massive donations given to convicted arsonists by PeTA to support their cause (check their tax returns, again, or heck, just check the internet).
posted by shepd at 6:03 PM on July 21, 2004


shepd ... omg, i can't believe this ... i'll never eat bread again!!
posted by pyramid termite at 6:04 PM on July 21, 2004


I disregard their "evidence" the same way I disregard evidence from BMG and Sony that me downloading music from the internet is putting them out of business.

So, in other words, even though it's already been made clear to you that these practices are confirmed by multiple sources that have nothing to do with PETA, still, no amount of evidence documenting these claims can or will convince you of same.

OK, then. And the point of continuing to talk to you as an adult is... ?

Why shouldn't I think the video is a fabrication? I can't trust a liar.

Well, if you can trust chicken-killers not to be liars, one indication that it's on the level is that the plant has fired 11 of those involved, and they're treating it just like it's an actual incident that, you know, happened. It probably hasn't even occurred to these poor saps, as it did to you, that the video is really a clever fabrication by the masterminds at PETA! Ha! What chumps. See, they probably didn't watch that episode of Penn & Teller, is why.

I can't wait to see the look on their faces when Ingrid Funt steps out from around the corner...
posted by soyjoy at 6:48 PM on July 21, 2004


>OK, then. And the point of continuing to talk to you as an adult is... ?

I have evidence that you don't have, that's the point. Read this comment. It's long for a purpose.

>Well, if you can trust chicken-killers not to be liars

Look, soyjoy, you eat soy (well, damn, sorry if I assumed that). And you probably eat bread. You kill yeasts. Don't give me that one-upmanship crap until you're a breatharian, ok? You kill the same as I kill. Just you don't kill big things. Using that as justification is the same as someone saying "It's not important, I only shook a BABY, not an adult, it's small".

>one indication that it's on the level is that the plant has fired 11 of those involved, and they're treating it just like it's an actual incident that, you know, happened.

Ahhh! So everytime Philip Morris fired a scientist, it was an admission they were guilty! Good lord, why didn't I think of that sooner! I'd be a rich man!

>even though it's already been made clear to you that these practices are confirmed by multiple sources that have nothing to do with PETA

I must have missed them. There are 75 comments in this thread. Could you repeat one? All I can find is a statement from Pilgrims' Pride where they're outraged about the alleged claims. That's not very supportive.

BTW PeTA runs so many different domains (PeTAtv, PeTA, animalactivist, helpinganimals101, milksucks, caringconsumer, etc, etc) at this point, it'd have to be on a domain where I could be sure it's not another PeTA mouthpiece. NBC, FOX, CNN. Those might work.

You see why I'm skeptical? Liars like to dress in sheeps' clothing. PeTA has realized that if you link to a site with "PeTA" in the name, it's a joke.

So, they got smart.

Here's a list of most of the sites that PeTA runs. WHAT A SCAM ARTIST THEY ARE. They own more domains than Netser, I bet.

Sorry for the long list, but I have a point to prove.

www.AnimalActivist.com
www.AnimalSavingsClub.com
www.AskCarla.com
www.AVMAhurtsanimals.com
www.Betruegen.info
www.BritishHeartlessFoundation.org
www.BruceFriedrich.com
www.BucktheRodeo.com
www.CaringConsumer.com
www.carrot2004.com
www.ChristianMercy.org
www.ChuayChangThai.com
www.Circuses.com
www.CircusWatch.com
www.CollegeActivist.com
www.ColumbiaCruelty.com
www.commandochicks.com
www.CompassionateCitizen.com
www.CowsAreCool.com
www.DefeatingDiabetes.com
www.DolphinFreedom.com
www.DumpDairy.com
www.EatDifferent.com
www.EatTheWhales.com
www.EchelaLeche.com
www.Elefanten-Online.de
www.EleFriendPledge.com
www.Fischen-Tut-Weh.de
www.FishingHurts.com
www.FixCats.com
www.Fleisch-ist-Mord.de
www.FurisDead.co.uk
www.FurIsDead.com
www.FurShame.com
www.GoSixPackers.com
www.GoVeg.co.uk
www.goveg.com
www.HelpingAnimals.com
www.HelpingAnimals101.com
www.HelpPuppies.com
www.HelpThaiElephants.com
www.HelpThaiElephants.com
www.HelpTheMonkeys.com
www.IamsCruelty.com
www.IngridNewkirk.com
www.IslamicConcerns.com
www.IslamVeg.com
www.IslamVeg.de
www.JesusVeg.com
www.JesusVeg.de
www.KFCCruelty.co.uk
www.KFCCruelty.com
www.KFCGrausam.de
www.KFCruelty.org
www.Kick-das-Rodeo.de
www.LettuceLadies.com
www.LobsterLib.com
www.MarchOfCrimes.com
www.MassKilling.com
www.McCruelty.com
www.MeanGreenies.com
www.MeatStinks.com
www.MeetYourMeat.com
www.MenopauseOnline.com
www.Milch-den-Kuhen.de
www.MilkSucks.co.uk
www.MilkSucks.com
www.MurderKing.com
www.pardontheturkeys.com
www.Pelzinfo.de
www.PETA.com
www.PETA.de
www.PETA.org
www.PETA2.com
www.PETA2.de
www.PETAatlanta2004.com
www.PETAauctions.com
www.PETABookstore.com
www.PETACatalog.com
www.PETAEats.com
www.PETAenEspanol.com
www.PETAEurope.com
www.PETAIndia.com
www.PetaIndiaKids.com
www.PETAkids.com
www.PETA-Kids.de
www.PETAMall.com
www.PETA-online.org
www.petaPSA.com
www.PETATravelTips.com
www.PetaTV.com
www.PETAUK.org
www.PetcoCruelty.com
www.PGinfo.net
www.PleatherYourself.com
www.RunningoftheNudes.com
www.SeaVegetariano.com
www.Shameway.com
www.SmokingAnimals.com
www.StopAnimalTests.com
www.StopEUChemicalTests.com
www.Taxmeat.com
www.TeachKind.com
www.TeachKind.org
www.TeamPETA.com
www.TFmemorial.com
www.TrueFriendsMemorials.com
www.UnhappyCows.com
www.VeggieVisitors.com
www.VegKids.com
www.VegNow.com
www.VogueSucks.com
www.WickedWendys.com
www.WildlifePimps.com

Oh, I noticed your link comes from ABC 7 news. Good job. You posted the first reputable source of info in the thread. Perhaps, this one time, PeTA didn't lie. Wow. I suppose even PeTA can make a mistake.
posted by shepd at 7:15 PM on July 21, 2004


Thanks for the update, soy.

I'm not completely sure a dog is better off in a cage. I dunno. Could you live in a 4X4 cell? It's a helluva choice to make either way.

What I do know is I'm damn glad PETA nailed Pilgrim.
posted by Shane at 7:30 PM on July 21, 2004


KFC President Gregg Dedrick: "Fuck PETA"
posted by donth at 7:32 PM on July 21, 2004


>I'm not completely sure a dog is better off in a cage. I dunno. Could you live in a 4X4 cell? It's a helluva choice to make either way.

Well, Shane, considering Ingrid Bergman would want to kill you for living in a cage, I'd have to say it's clear the better choice is not.

I wonder what she thinks about all the animals caged in prisons?

re: Fuck PeTA. Good stuff. I forgot about their falsified Dalai Lama documents. I have to hand it to KFC, they have better investigators than me! :-D
posted by shepd at 7:50 PM on July 21, 2004


Right. Agree to disagree time :-)
posted by Shane at 7:58 PM on July 21, 2004


me: Do humans lose their rights if we perceive them to be irresponsible?
shepd: Yes. They lose their right to freedom.


Really? Why are there so many irresponsible people running free, then? We don't revoke someone's freedom until they do something that affects someone else, typically. In any case, they don't lose other rights, such as the right to self-preservation.

me: Is it acceptable to kill a human being if we know they're psychopathic, even if they haven't hurt anyone?
shepd: No. Very few first world countries still do this. The ones that do have been refused prisoners who are to be tried in that country due to how wrong the world views this.


If you want to talk about what's legal, that's one thing. What I am asking you is, is it morally acceptable? Does the psychopath have a right to live - that is, do we have a duty not to kill him?

But anyway, the answer is probably no for most of us, which is my point. The psychopath's right to live is inextricably linked to our duty not to kill him. You can't have one without the other. His right to live is not linked to the psychopath's own level of personal responsibility.

me: Rights imply a duty on the part of others, not a responsibility on the part of the rights-holder.
shepd: How? It's not my duty, for example, to stop you from speeding. It's not my duty to stop you from shitting on the sidewalk. That's *your* job.


I think you misunderstand my intent by using the word "duty." If I had a right to speed, you would have a corresponding duty not to stop me.

My point with all this talk about rights and duties is simply to demonstrate that we can easily conceive of animal rights without granting animals moral agency. Whether or not you accept the idea of animal rights - or rather human duties to treat animals humanely - is another question.

m&mm, remember, if you are willing to suggest that a few apples spoil the bunch, you have to accept that all of PeTA are lying, hypocritical scumbags for the same reasons.

IMHO, working for PeTA also causes you to devalue human life. Proof of that can be found in the massive donations given to convicted arsonists by PeTA to support their cause (check their tax returns, again, or heck, just check the internet).


I'm sorry you have such a hangup about PETA. Personally, I don't give a damn about them one way or the other - they're like every other too-shrill activist group. You are really whacked out over PETA, and frankly, it's just not worth it. Moral arguments for or against animal rights don't rely on the moral clarity of PETA - they stand or fall on their own.

But in any case, my argument wasn't that "a few apples spoil the bunch." My argument was that if you get used to killing, you're not going to be bothered by slightly more brutal killing, even if you're not the one doing the killing. As proven many times over in recorded history, there is no level of depravity too low that people won't find themselves there, given the right circumstances. Leichentrager zu Wacht!

Look, soyjoy, you eat soy (well, damn, sorry if I assumed that). And you probably eat bread. You kill yeasts. Don't give me that one-upmanship crap until you're a breatharian, ok? You kill the same as I kill. Just you don't kill big things. Using that as justification is the same as someone saying "It's not important, I only shook a BABY, not an adult, it's small".

Oh, my goodness. So, I guess it would be perfectly ok for me to come over, kill you, and eat you? If not, there must be some difference between that and eating a chicken, right? Likewise, might there be some difference between a chicken - or any other sentient animal that can feel pain - and a yeast?
posted by me & my monkey at 8:02 PM on July 21, 2004


I'm not sure how it originally came up, but we all know that yeast is a fungus, right? As far as taxonomy goes, pretty clearly not an animal. So for the record, I'm OK with mushroom stomping.

As to the rest, what Shane said.
posted by milovoo at 8:02 PM on July 21, 2004


I have evidence that you don't have, that's the point. Read this comment. It's long for a purpose.

Wait. Let me get this straight. My evidence in the form of videotapes and first-hand testimony about slaughterhouse abuses is not admissible, yet your evidence is... a list of domain names??? WTF does that have to do with anything, much less countering any of the stuff I've linked to? That's so over-the-top ridiculous I can only assume you're joking... or trolling. Or both?

>Well, if you can trust chicken-killers not to be liars

Look, soyjoy, you eat soy (well, damn, sorry if I assumed that). And you probably eat bread. You kill yeasts. Don't give me that one-upmanship crap until you're a breatharian, ok?


I was actually eating soy at the very moment I read that! And drinking beer! Don't know, however, what that has to do with whether or not you believe the owners of a chicken-killing plant can make a judgment about whether a nightmarish fiasco involving at least 11 employees actually happened, or was fabricated out of thin air. Are you really saying even with this, you're going to pretend to believe the video's fake? I would say you're going to be extremely embarrassed, but considering the stuff you've already put on this thread, I guess that's not such a worry.

Ahhh! So everytime Philip Morris fired a scientist, it was an admission they were guilty!

Heh. What's funny about this is that, as I'm sure you're aware, all the anti-PETA info you're wallowing in was generated by a lobbying firm founded on a grant from Philip Morris.

Liars like to dress in sheeps' clothing.

No, that's wolves you're thinking of. If you're going to rely on cliches and television shows as your primary source material, better be sure you at least get them right.

I must have missed them. There are 75 comments in this thread. Could you repeat one?

Here's an idea: How about you go back and just read the comments directed to you. I'm sure you'll find your way eventually. Maybe you were confused because I used this method called hypertext to point you to them rather than printing out the whole thing here in the thread, as with that crucially important list of domain names.

You posted the first reputable source of info in the thread.

Great, you noticed that. So let me know when you actually read the interview, and possibly the book - both of which have zilch to do with PETA - and we can talk.

Otherwise, I'll step out of the way here, so you can continue to regale us with more excerpts from your favorite TV shows. That's obviously all you're bringing to the table, and I was probably mistaken to keep debating as though you were serious for as long as I did. Live & Learn!
posted by soyjoy at 8:46 PM on July 21, 2004


The "Fuck PETA" link is well worth reading.

And I agree: fuck PETA. They have proven themselves to be untrustworthy creeps.

I wholly agree that animals should be treated well. I wholly disagree with the slimey tactics PETA uses to advance that cause.

I don't think anyone who cares to be thoughtful can support PETA.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:00 PM on July 21, 2004


*gets out knife and fork, begins carving and eating mefites*
posted by Shane at 9:12 PM on July 21, 2004


Shane, I'm sure we taste like chicken.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:20 PM on July 21, 2004


I don't think anyone who cares to be thoughtful can support PETA.

Maybe not, but that's analogous to saying that you should vote for Bush since Michael Moore is so annoying. I suspect PETA doesn't want your support, just your attention - videos like these make their own arguments.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:25 PM on July 21, 2004


considering Ingrid Bergman would want to kill you for living in a cage

I'm shocked, shocked to find that Ilsa from Casablanca would feel that way.
posted by me & my monkey at 10:34 PM on July 21, 2004


Shepd:

"It is a totally rotten business, but sometimes the only kind option for some animals is to put them to sleep forever," Newkirk said. "I don't think a dog living in a cage walking in circles for the rest of its life in a dog prison is a swell thing."

If the alternative was living in a cage walking in circles for the rest of its life, it would seem that this represents exactly the kind of situation where euthanizing that animals is the most ethical course of action.

The minute you give rights to animals is the minute you have to put them in handcuffs for fucking and shitting in the streets. With rights come responsibilities. Always.

This is a slippery slope fallacy; if you give rights to animals this does not mean that they must be held responsible for crime. Animals are not moral agents so cannot be culpable. In the same way, if a baby were to shit in the street it is obvious it would not be arrested for having done so; this is because a baby is not a moral agent, but I imagine you accept it is reasonable to grant babies rights on their own merit.

PeTA are not the straw man. PeTA are horrible people, PERIOD. You don't see me going about hating Hindus, do you?

The very fact that you are talking about PETA and not Hindus (or any other vegetarians for that matter) is exactly what treating PETA as the straw man would entail. You are attacking a weaker argument or at least and easier target for ethical treatment of animals as they are more easily refutable than others are. As scaribic said, PETA are not the embodiment of arguments for animal rights or vegetarianism.

How? It's not my duty, for example, to stop you from speeding. It's not my duty to stop you from shitting on the sidewalk. That's *your* job.

You have got rights and duties the wrong way round. It would be your duty not to speed. It is my right to drive on a road that is no more dangerous than it has to be. If you do not drive safely you infringe on the rights of others to be as safe on the road as possible.

Look, soyjoy, you eat soy (well, damn, sorry if I assumed that). And you probably eat bread. You kill yeasts. Don't give me that one-upmanship crap until you're a breatharian, ok? You kill the same as I kill. Just you don't kill big things. Using that as justification is the same as someone saying "It's not important, I only shook a BABY, not an adult, it's small".

Obviously a false analogy; yeast is not sentient and doesn't have interests or an ability to suffer; babies, cows and chickens do.

pyramid termite:

i've found out something very shocking ... grain and vegetable farmers use pest control to kill animals!

While it is impossible or logistically prohibitive to lead a life which refrains from frustrating the interests of at least some sentient creatures, it in no way follows that we should not attempt to limit these frustrations or that we should limit these attempts themselves. Being members of a current model of a capitalist society means that we, in living the way we live, are going to be exploiting someone, somewhere along the line, but, I’m sure you can agree, this doesn’t mean someone who does their best to consume ethically is no better than someone who just goes for the cheapest without thinking twice.
posted by ed\26h at 12:30 AM on July 22, 2004


Cows and chickens have interests? What interests are those, pray tell, and none of the instinctual stuff (otherwise we're back to whether one can kill a mosquito)?

Cows and chickens are sentient? What sentiency do they display, pray tell, and again, none of the instinctual stuff.

But agreed on the ethical eating idea. More important than whether or not one eats meat is, I think, whether or not one eats a high-corn diet. The corn monoculture is, I think, one of the most dangerous practices on this planet. It's unhealthy, it's low-efficiency, and it's going to lead to a major disaster the day a virus gets a grip on the crops.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:46 AM on July 22, 2004


Cows and chickens have interests in staying alive, having enough to eat, not suffering pain, etc. If you hold that these are too instinctive to warrant rights, then to remain consistent, you must deny direct rights to babies too as their interests are even less sophisticated. They are sentient because they perceive and they are conscious.
posted by ed\26h at 1:10 AM on July 22, 2004


Cows and chickens have interests in staying alive, having enough to eat, not suffering pain, etc.

And natural evolution has exactly the opposite interests. I realize that we're talking about animals domesticated thousands of years ago. But the only possible place where animal rights can emanate is artificial: human ethics and morals. In nature, most specimens of most species do not reach adulthood, do not lead easy lives and generally find death in horrific circumstances.

If you hold that these are too instinctive to warrant rights, then to remain consistent, you must deny direct rights to babies too as their interests are even less sophisticated.

The interests of babies are clearly much more sophisticated than those of domestic animals raised for human consumption. Simply compare potentials.

They are sentient because they perceive and they are conscious.

Chickens? Conscious as in conscious of themselves? Beyond mere instinct? I'd like to learn some more details on how you came up to that conclusion.
posted by magullo at 3:11 AM on July 22, 2004


And natural evolution has exactly the opposite interests. I realize that we're talking about animals domesticated thousands of years ago. But the only possible place where animal rights can emanate is artificial: human ethics and morals. In nature, most specimens of most species do not reach adulthood, do not lead easy lives and generally find death in horrific circumstances.

Similarly, the only place human rights can emanate is artificial: human ethics and morals. Many people currently inhabiting the Earth do not reach adulthood, do not lead easy lives and generally find death in horrific circumstances, but I doubt you accept this is a valid justification for eating them for our pleasure.

The interests of babies are clearly much more sophisticated than those of domestic animals raised for human consumption. Simply compare potentials.

Whether or not the interests of babies will someday be more sophisticated than those of animals does not affect the fact that they currently are not. Someday, that baby may fulfil the requirements needed to be granted the right to vote, but now, they simply do not have those requirements and therefore do not have that right.

Chickens? Conscious as in conscious of themselves?

No, not self-aware, simply conscious; which, along with the ability to perceive, is all the attribution of the quality of sentience requires.
posted by ed\26h at 3:34 AM on July 22, 2004


Many people currently inhabiting the Earth do not reach adulthood, do not lead easy lives and generally find death in horrific circumstances, but I doubt you accept this is a valid justification for eating them for our pleasure.

Apples and oranges, as this fact has nothing to do with natural forces, which are the ones at play in the case of wild animals.

Whether or not the interests of babies will someday be more sophisticated than those of animals does not affect the fact that they currently are not.

Their future potential is what makes them precious now.

No, not self-aware, simply conscious;

Well, it's either one or the other. Conscious means self-aware. Look it up.
posted by magullo at 5:11 AM on July 22, 2004


Cows have a matriarchal society with strict hierarchy, AFAIK. My experience with chickens has lead me to believe that they have some 'personality', although it is as limited as the personality exhibited by a rabbit or dog (notwithstanding the difference in intelligence).

I blame Christianity and the lack of respect for nature it encouraged in the Northern hemisphere, including complicity in empire building and colonisation. Whether of not this is based on the old/new testiment, Paulism, Papal outbursts or whatever is irrelevant.
Look at how they demonised the animal worship they found in pagan societies. Think of what connotations words such as animal, pig, wolf, shark, dog, cow and sheep have in todays language.

Think also of the folly of the idea that man can dominate nature, and the more recent adoption of the idea of immitating nature with manmade technology.
We will come round to understanding our relationship with the natural world sometime, hopefully before fubaring it.
posted by asok at 6:02 AM on July 22, 2004


Magullo:

Apples and oranges, as this fact has nothing to do with natural forces, which are the ones at play in the case of wild animals.

I am not sure what is meant be this, it seems to suggest that humans are not or cannot be affected by natural forces. I can’t imagine this is what you mean thought as it is so clearly false.

Their future potential is what makes them precious now.

The belief that the potential to develop qualities which are required to be granted certain rights, endows that entity with those rights even before it has developed those qualities, also commits you to the following two beliefs:
    1. Because of its potential to become an adult human, an hour-old foetus has the same rights as an adult human. 2. It is morally acceptable, for the sake of the pleasure of eating, to kill a heavily retarded or cognitively restricted person, who has no potential to develop interests more sophisticated than those of an animal.
Well, it's either one or the other. Conscious means self-aware. Look it up.

It’s hard to accept that you truly hold that animals are not conscious. If this were true, it would not be possible to render an animal unconscious; if that wasn’t a peculiar enough suggestion, being that sleep is “rest for the mind and body, in which the eyes usually close and consciousness is completely or partially lost” it would also be impossible for animals to sleep. However, I cannot imagine any rational person would accept either of those propositions.posted by ed\26h at 6:04 AM on July 22, 2004


Chickens? Conscious as in conscious of themselves? Beyond mere instinct? I'd like to learn some more details on how you came up to that conclusion.

The perfect clarity with which the all-knowing human can see into the mind of an animal and presume to judge it amazes me.

Ever see an Alzheimer's ward? Once they're gone to a certain point they're not exactly what you'd call "self aware," lying in beds moaning and wailing all day long without comprehension of anyone around them.

Let's go kick and beat some Alzheimer's patients. They'll feel the pain and scream a bit more, but what the hell. It's all good, it's our right. And they won't defned themselves.

The smug superiority of the human race is like the idiocy and rationalizations of the biggest bully on the playground, and it will be fitting when it brings about humanity's end.
posted by Shane at 6:20 AM on July 22, 2004


ed\26h ... did it ever occur to you that not all of us have the time to investigate the circumstances involving everything we eat, buy and use? ... and if you think chickens are all that sentient, you've never chased one out of your driveway

people shouldn't be throwing chickens against the wall ... but i'm damned if i'm going to be held responsible for it ... or spend much time worrying about it

they're chickens, for pete's sake ... do you think a fox or a wolf is going to treat them any better?
posted by pyramid termite at 6:37 AM on July 22, 2004


...do you think a fox or a wolf is going to treat them any better?

Yes, the fox or wolf will kill without malice, sadism or cruelty, for survival.
posted by Shane at 6:51 AM on July 22, 2004


Pyramid: You do not need to take any time in investigating these issues to conclude that meat products cause the unnecessary suffering and death of animals. I have never once speculated upon just how sentient chickens might be; only that they are sentient. Whether or not a fox or a wolf will treat them any better is irrelevant, as stated before, fox’s and wolves cannot hold ethical beliefs, they are not moral agents; but we certainly are.
posted by ed\26h at 7:04 AM on July 22, 2004


Let's go kick and beat some Alzheimer's patients. They'll feel the pain and scream a bit more, but what the hell. It's all good, it's our right. And they won't defned themselves.

My grandmother passed away three weeks ago. She suffered alzheimer's. It would have been a blessing had she died many years earlier: her life at the end was not humane. There would be no need to "kick and beat" her to death -- just as there's no need to do that with chickens; but were this society a bit more respectful of death, she could easily have been "put to sleep" in a humane manner that would have avoided a full decade of terrible suffering.

Yes, the fox or wolf will kill without malice, sadism or cruelty, for survival.

Bull. Shit.

I have watched a cat torture mice to death. It was cruel, it was for its own amusement, and it was wholly unnecessary as it was a well-fed cat.

I have never once speculated upon just how sentient chickens might be; only that they are sentient.

So are mosquitoes, ants, and amoeba, then.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:23 AM on July 22, 2004


While we are ethically committed to euthanizing people and animals in certain situations, which are acts of mercy, it in no way follows that it is also merciful to kill animals which are in perfect health purely for our pleasure. Whether or not we accept that there is no preferable way for an animal to die with regards to the level suffering it experiences during the process, this does not affect the crux of the matter, which is the whether the killing itself is morally sound. It is not safe to judge the ethical nature of a certain action solely by the level of suffering caused to the subject or delivered from the subject by that action.

I have watched a cat torture mice to death. It was cruel, it was for its own amusement, and it was wholly unnecessary as it was a well-fed cat.

As have I, and while I acknowledge this was merely a response to another post it is important to remember that whether or not this happens is, from an ethical perspective, irrelevant; animals cannot hold ethical beliefs, they are not moral agents.

So are mosquitoes, ants, and amoeba, then.

That simply does not follow.
posted by ed\26h at 11:18 AM on July 22, 2004


I have watched a cat torture mice to death. It was cruel, it was for its own amusement, and it was wholly unnecessary as it was a well-fed cat.

fff, we were talking about foxes and wolves, and you moved that over to cats.

I know there's a million semantic twists you can play on this, but cats play with mice to learn to hunt. Play is very important to an animal; it teaches them to survive. There's no malice or sadism in their eyes when they do it. It's an important instinctual drive, and they don't understand they're hurting a sentient creature. They may gain amusement from play, but not sick satisfaction from "torture." Not what we saw in PETA's film.

Animals are creatures of instinct, people are creatures of choice.

I sincerely wanted to explain that to you. But this thread is over now. No one is reading this except us, the idiots who are writing it. Go home. It's all been hashed out and all our differences have been made clear. I'm leaving now.
posted by Shane at 11:25 AM on July 22, 2004


fff - agreed. put an amoeba under a hot microscope light and it will immediately start to ooze away from the heat. whether that's a sign of sentience or not, it's clearly a sign that even simple, single-celled organisms have a sense of self preservation. thus, even amoeba have interests in staying alive, having enough to eat, not suffering pain, etc...

there are quite a few other animals out there besides cats that kill for fun. chimp society can be extremely brutal, and i doubt many people would argue that they're any less self-aware than we are.
posted by caution live frogs at 2:23 PM on July 22, 2004


Yes, the fox or wolf will kill without malice, sadism or cruelty, for survival.

...but does the chicken care?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 3:29 PM on July 22, 2004


[thinks about jokes involving "choking the chicken"...]
posted by five fresh fish at 3:55 PM on July 22, 2004


Stop accusing me of bringing up PeTA as some form of whipping boy in this argument UNTIL YOU READ THE GOD DAMN TITLE AND TOPIC. JESUS CHRIST PEOPLE, the FUCKING THREAD is about PeTA. If I believe PeTA are horrible nasty people, and I can prove it, you have no right to say I'm beating on them unecessarialy.

THEY ARE HORRIBLE, FREAKISH, INSANE PEOPLE. THE THREAD IS ABOUT THEM AND THEIR OPINIONS ON STUFF. THEY DESERVE ALL MY VITRIOL AND SO MUCH MORE FOR MURDERING OVER 1,000 ANIMALS.

Now that's off my chest;

A yeast is JUST as conscious of their surroundings as a chicken or cow. Otherwise, DARWINIAN EVOLUTION would have eaten them alive (pun intended). I really don't give a rats ass if you're a vegetarian, HOWEVER, you don't get to complain about what I eat that's sentient when you eat things that a sentient. That's the deal. If you don't want me to discriminate against you for being vegetarian, then you don't get to discriminate against me for eating larger animals than yeasts.

Catch my drift?

Now, I'd like to a few more repugnant comments from PeTA in here. You'll love them, I'm sure.

When Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh decided to refrain from eating meat during his last meal, PETA’s Bruce Friedrich told reporters: Mr. McVeigh’s decision to go vegetarian groups him with some of the world’s greatest visionaries, including Albert Schweitzer, Mohandas Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy and Albert Einstein.

FOR CHRISTS SAKES. Can't you see the absolute insanity there? PeTA are a bloody manaical set of MORONS who, quite honestly, in my mind, are lower on the sentience chain than many of the animals I choose to eat. What kind of FUCKED UP PERSON compares a mass murderer to ALBERT goddamn EINSTEN?

Having proclaimed the life of a roaster chicken to be as valuable as that of a person trapped inside a collapsing skyscraper or imprisoned in a death camp, a murder victim, a federal worker in Oklahoma City, or an innocent Israeli civilian, PETA continues to place greater value on a dolphin than on a ship packed with American soldiers. “I don't believe that people have the right to life,” Newkirk has said. “That’s a supremacist perversion. A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.”

WHAT THE GODDAMN FUCK????!??!!! A RAT IS A PIG AND A DOG IS A BOY? MY FUCKING JESUS FUCKING H CHRIST PEOPLE. How the FUCK can you possibly respect a corporation that says terrible things like that?

What do they have to say next? "A rat is a jew and a dog is an arab?" Is that what it will take for you to see they are one of the biggest dangers to society that exist today?

In this sense, Timothy McVeigh and Osama bin Laden may be seen as heroes to PETA. By taking thousands of humans out of the food chain, they saved far more chickens and cows than they killed people.

When a grisly killing spree in Vancouver left 15 women dead, PETA tried to purchase full-page ads in local papers suggesting that this carnage was no worse than the killing of animals for food.

/me almost faints from PURE RAGE AGAINST PeTA. HOLY GODDAMN SHIT PEOPLE. Do you understand why I FUCKING HATE THEIR GUTS and DON'T BELIEVE ANYTHING THEY HAVE TO SAY. Ever?

I have never, ever, ever, held such outrage against someone. EVER. Even when I was learning about WWII I didn't get this angry.

For instance, when PETA learned that the photographs of Holocaust victims displayed in its roving exhibit -- entitled “The Holocaust on Your Plate” -- included Nobel Peace Prize winner Elie Wiesel as a young man at the Buchenwald concentration camp, it shrugged. “Six million people died in concentration camps,” laments Ingrid Newkirk, “but six billion broiler chickens will die this year in slaughterhouses.”

HOLY. FUCKING. SHIT.

Even *HITLER* didn't say things like that. GOOD GOD.

NOW SHUT UP AND QUIT SUPPORTING NAZIS. Thank you.
posted by shepd at 4:10 PM on July 22, 2004


So basically you are saying these PETA folks are okay people..?
posted by bargle at 4:19 PM on July 22, 2004


Oh, I get it now. shepd's arguments and points are a parody of PETA's.

Make proposterous and nonsensical statements about sentient yeast and supporting Nazis to mimic similarly proposterous statements made by the individuals from PETA.

It doesn't seem to be working. To sophisticated?
posted by juiceCake at 7:57 PM on July 22, 2004


Wasn't this thread about humans torturing chickens - pulling the chickens' beaks off, smashing the birds against walls and so on - rather than simply slaughtering them ?

- An idiot.
posted by troutfishing at 9:42 PM on July 22, 2004


>Newkirk has said. “That’s a supremacist perversion. A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy.”
>
>WHAT THE GODDAMN FUCK????!??!!! A RAT IS A PIG AND A DOG IS A BOY? MY FUCKING JESUS FUCKING H CHRIST
>PEOPLE. How the FUCK can you possibly respect a corporation that says terrible things like that?
>
>What do they have to say next? "A rat is a jew and a dog is
> an arab?" Is that what it will take for you to see they are
>one of the biggest dangers to society that exist today?

This is a lovely example, actually, of totally missing the point. What Ms. Newkirk is saying is that life is equal, regardless of what species it is. A dog, a boy, a rat and a pig are all living creatures, equally worthy of compassion. Got that part, scooter? I don't give a shit if you disagree with that sentiment, it's still a pretty easy to parse collection of sentances. You'll notice that the word "and" did not appear in Ms. Newkirk's statement that you flipped out about, yet you mentally inserted it, sparking your tirade.

Just pointing that out.
posted by cmonkey at 1:09 AM on July 23, 2004


Caution Live Frogs:

put an amoeba under a hot microscope light and it will immediately start to ooze away from the heat. whether that's a sign of sentience or not, it's clearly a sign that even simple, single-celled organisms have a sense of self preservation. thus, even amoeba have interests in staying alive, having enough to eat, not suffering pain, etc...

Since single celled organisms do not have brains or central nervous systems it is quite clear that they cannot have sentience, interests or the ability to suffer. I’m sure you accept that a cell squirming away from heat is in no way analogous to the way a gazelle (or a human being for that matter) would flee from an approaching lion.

there are quite a few other animals out there besides cats that kill for fun. chimp society can be extremely brutal, and i doubt many people would argue that they're any less self-aware than we are.

If you hold that chimps are no less self-aware than we are, then presumably, you have even less rational ground on which to deny them rights.

InpHilltr8r:

[Yes, the fox or wolf will kill without malice, sadism or cruelty, for survival.] ...but does the chicken care?

If you mean, does the chicken care that it’s being killed? Then certainly it does. If you mean, does it care as to the method of its death, I couldn’t say, but it is not a relevant variable either way, as it cares that it’s being killed.

Shepd:

Stop accusing me of bringing up PeTA as some form of whipping boy in this argument UNTIL YOU READ THE GOD DAMN TITLE AND TOPIC. JESUS CHRIST PEOPLE, the FUCKING THREAD is about PeTA. If I believe PeTA are horrible nasty people, and I can prove it, you have no right to say I'm beating on them unecessarialy.

Well, it seems that this thread, originally, was about the abuse of chickens at a chicken processing plant, not PETA specifically, but still, the assertion was that you are using PETA as the absolute representative of arguments for animal rights. Whether or not PETA are bad does not affect the truth value of such arguments.

Consider: X holds Y. X is a bad person; therefore Y is false.

Simply let X stand for “Hitler” and Y stand for “The belief that Berlin is in Germany”.

THEY DESERVE ALL MY VITRIOL AND SO MUCH MORE FOR MURDERING OVER 1,000 ANIMALS.

To say they have murdered over 1,000 animals is obviously not an accurate representation of the idea that they may have euthanized over 1,000 animals. Unless of course you hold that euthanasia must inherently be murder, but I cannot imagine that you do.

A yeast is JUST as conscious of their surroundings as a chicken or cow.

No rational human being could genuinely believe that.

When Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh decided to refrain from eating meat during his last meal, PETA’s Bruce Friedrich told reporters: Mr. McVeigh’s decision to go vegetarian groups him with some of the world’s greatest visionaries, including Albert Schweitzer, Mohandas Gandhi, Leo Tolstoy and Albert Einstein.”

While that statement is a little odd, it is true. That decision made him a member of a group also populated by those listed visionaries listed; the group – vegetarians. And that is all that is being suggested.

In this sense, Timothy McVeigh and Osama bin Laden may be seen as heroes to PETA. By taking thousands of humans out of the food chain, they saved far more chickens and cows than they killed people.

It is important to note, that this is not a quote from PETA, merely as assertion from an article written in opposition to PETA, and incidentally, an assertion that does not follow.

For instance, when PETA learned that the photographs of Holocaust victims displayed in its roving exhibit -- entitled “The Holocaust on Your Plate” [...]

It may be useful to observe that this exhibit was inspired by German Jewish philosopher Theodor Adorno when he said "Auschwitz begins wherever someone looks at a slaughterhouse and thinks: they’re only animals."

Even *HITLER* didn't say things like that.

While it is irrelevant either way, it should be fairly obvious why Hitler made no allusions to how many people his regime had slaughtered.
posted by ed\26h at 2:03 AM on July 23, 2004


Since single celled organisms do not have brains or central nervous systems it is quite clear that they cannot have sentience, interests or the ability to suffer.

You have got to be kidding us.

You're saying you know where sentience comes from? You're absolutely positive it's entirely to do with electrical signals in the brain and nothing to do with, say, some sort of spiritual/soul thing?

You know amoeba don't have some level of self-awareness, and know that chickens do?
posted by five fresh fish at 10:29 AM on July 23, 2004


If you mean, does the chicken care that it’s being killed? Then certainly it does.

You think?
posted by inpHilltr8r at 4:38 PM on July 23, 2004


five fresh fish:

You're saying you know where sentience comes from? You're absolutely positive it's entirely to do with electrical signals in the brain and nothing to do with, say, some sort of spiritual/soul thing?

Well of course I cannot hold this as some sort of a priori belief, but I have no reason to think concepts of Cartesian dualism and their ilk hold any truth. However, even if I am to accept the distinct existence of a soul from the physical body it would seem perfectly arbitrary to conclude that humans are the subject of this phenomenon while the animals they kill for food are not.

You know amoeba don't have some level of self-awareness, and know that chickens do?

I have never suggested that chicken have any level of self-awareness, but as to their awareness: I do not have acquaintance knowledge of this proposition but it would certainly seem an empirically reasonable conclusion; I cannot imagine a rational person would doubt the idea.

InpHilltr8r:

The cited article, while interesting, does not refute the idea that chickens have an interest in continuing to live. The very fact that they flee, or attempt to flee, from potential predation should be proof enough of this.
posted by ed\26h at 5:09 AM on July 24, 2004


Ohhhh. So it's not a matter of self-awareness, just a matter of environment-awareness.

Like, say, plants have. Turning their leaves toward the light, closing their flowers at night, that sort of thing.

Gotcha.

I note that cockroaches also demonstrate an interest in continuing to live. They flee like mad from potential predation.

You confidence in your wholly "rational" ideas regarding the morality and ethics of meat are, I'm afraid, entirely arbitrary and about as full of holes as a loaf of swiss cheese. You're awfully cocksure about the validity of your assumptions and conclusions, when they really aren't any more sound than those you're arguing with.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:41 AM on July 24, 2004


So it's not a matter of self-awareness, just a matter of environment-awareness. Like, say, plants have. Turning their leaves toward the light, closing their flowers at night, that sort of thing.

If it were a matter of self-awareness then we, in order to remain consistent, would have to deny consideration, and consequentially rights, to human beings who we can reason are not self-aware; very young infants, the heavily mentally handicapped, the very senile, etc. However, even if we are to accept that the awareness that a chicken or cow are endowed with is no more sophisticated than that of a plant, which, incidentally, would not seem very rational conclusion to draw empirically, it is relatively certain that, since plants do not have brains or central nervous systems, they cannot suffer or have interests.

I note that cockroaches also demonstrate an interest in continuing to live. They flee like mad from potential predation.

While it maybe possible to argue a case for the idea that cockroaches have interests, it does not follow the interests of a cow, chicken, etc. are no more relevant and/or sophisticated than these. The idea you seem to be getting at is, that as we cannot be absolutely specific about where we demarcate the boundaries of our concept, the concept, therefore, is meaningless or inapplicable; but as I'm sure you can see, that idea would be somewhat fallacious.
posted by ed\26h at 5:17 AM on July 25, 2004


No, Ed, the idea you seem to be getting at is that your boundaries are not arbitrary and are, indeed, rock-solid sensible.

What I have been trying to inform you is that your boundaries are arbitrary and as deeply flawed as any other arbitrary boundary.

You find it okay to kill carrots and cockroaches, but not chickens or cows. Other people find it unacceptable to kill anything at all. I find it acceptable to kill chickens and cows humanely. And each of us holds these opinions based on arbitrary "lines in the sand".
posted by five fresh fish at 9:17 AM on July 25, 2004


If you hold that, as we cannot be absolutely specific about where we demarcate the boundaries of a concept, those boundaries, therefore, are entirely arbitrary, cannot be objective and it follows that individuals should be given the freedom to choose what they deem as acceptable, act on those personal conclusions and those actions cannot be said to be immoral, then this commits you to the following belief: Those who believe that it is acceptable to kill other human beings unnecessarily, simply to enjoy the taste of eating their flesh, have arrived at an ethical boundary that is no less arbitrary than any other; and therefore, their actions cannot be said to be immoral. However, I cannot imagine that you believe that.
posted by ed\26h at 9:41 AM on July 25, 2004


No, it does not bind me to that belief.

Ed, over the past few discussions I've read in which you've participated, I've concluded that you are entertaining yourself by posing as a devil's advocate. Unfortunately, you play that role exceedingly poorly.

Goodbye.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:46 AM on July 25, 2004


If it were a matter of self-awareness then we, in order to remain consistent, would have to deny consideration, and consequentially rights, to human beings who we can reason are not self-aware; very young infants, the heavily mentally handicapped, the very senile, etc.

Well, no. We can truthfully say "birds can fly" even though there are examples of birds that cannot fly (some species lack the ability innately, and all lack it until maturity -- and of course individual birds can be born lacking the ability, or lose the ability through injury). Similarly, we can truthfully say "humans are self-aware" even though we all go through a stage in which we are not, and some of us never really develop it at all. If we determine whether whole species are self-aware, and decide whether to use them as food on that basis, this seems wholly logical, consistent, and only slightly arbitrary to me (i.e., no more arbitrary than deciding "nothing from kingdom animalia").
posted by kindall at 11:11 AM on July 25, 2004


five fresh fish:

No, it does not bind me to that belief.

Well, I’m afraid it does, logically, commit you to that belief. There is no rational reason at all to suggest that it does not.

Ed, over the past few discussions I've read in which you've participated, I've concluded that you are entertaining yourself by posing as a devil's advocate. Unfortunately, you play that role exceedingly poorly.

My motivations for presenting such arguments, or the quality of my advocacy, are perfectly irrelevant to the truth value of those arguments.

kindall:

While it is reasonable to draw informal premises such as "human beings are self-aware" or "human beings have two legs", regardless of the fact that there are exceptions, it would not be safe to draw absolute conclusions from these premises.

Swans are white.
Some swans in Australia are black.
Those black swans are still swans.
Therefore, black swans are white swans.

The reason we have reached this conclusion, one that is unsound and invalid as it is contradicted by its own premises, is because the premise that swans are white, while informally reasonable, is simply false. In the same way, the premise "human beings are self-aware", is also simply false. "The human race is self-aware, therefore, all individual human beings are self-aware" would be an example of the composition fallacy.
posted by ed\26h at 12:00 PM on July 25, 2004


Good lord, I didn't think this thread would still be rattling on after I got back from a long weekend. ed\26h, you have demonstrated both the patience of a saint and the rigor of a committed logician in the face of a lot of petty, desperate and confused objections. While I personally believe that "rights" is an ill-chosen (not chosen by you, of course) and flawed context by which to argue legitimate and obvious animal interests, you've done an admirable job doing so.

I just wanted to add a couple links that may answer some rhetorical questions.

Conscious as in conscious of themselves? Beyond mere instinct? I'd like to learn some more details on how you came up to that conclusion.

If you really would like to learn details, you should keep up with emerging science, which continues to prove non-human anumals more intelligent and self-aware than we like to believe. The more we look at animal intelligence, the more we're "surprised" that our assumptions about humans' uniqueness were off-base. As our tools for perception and measurement of animal cognition improve, it becomes apparent that our previous assurances about what animals "don't" think or "don't" understand were based more in our own defects in measuring than in animals' actual thought processes.

people shouldn't be throwing chickens against the wall ... but i'm damned if i'm going to be held responsible for it ... or spend much time worrying about it

While your responsibility for it is a matter of degree and philosophical debate, you may want to pay more attention to it, as the mass production of poultry may well cause the next worldwide pandemic in humans (some scientists even say the pandemic is "inevitable") by way of bird flu, which it is now generally agreed was the cause of the 1918 flu epidemic that killed between 10 and 50 million people.

they're chickens, for pete's sake

The implication is that they're "just" chickens, which Virgil Butler has addressed rather eloquently from the perspective of a slaughterhouse worker.

and if you think chickens are all that sentient, you've never chased one out of your driveway

Well, no, that's not true. I chased chickens out of my driveway many times in Key West, and it never made me question their sentience. But if we're going to focus on anecdotal evidence, I'd suggest anyone who thinks chickens aren't sentient hasn't spent time with them at a sanctuary where they can roam freely and express their personalities. The next best thing to being there is a new movie called Peaceable Kingdom, which devotes a lot of time to chickens, focusing on Farm Sanctuary and the stories of how three hardened farmers changed their minds about that very issue.
posted by soyjoy at 12:04 PM on July 26, 2004


"The human race is self-aware, therefore, all individual human beings are self-aware" would be an example of the composition fallacy.

Well, sure. But "The human race is self-aware, therefore, all individual human beings deserve the rights that derive from self-awareness" is not fallacious. It's an opinion, guided by a rule of thumb that suggests erring on the side of caution.
posted by kindall at 6:10 PM on July 26, 2004


Considering that precisely the points at issue are whether or not self-awareness alone is a rational quality on which to attribute rights and whether statements such as "the human race is self-aware" are strictly true, such an argument, irrespective of if it is one that suggests erring on the side of caution, certainly is fallacious; it begs the question.
posted by ed\26h at 1:14 AM on July 27, 2004


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