DAY 325: INTENSIVE FARMING IS THE GREATEST CAUSE OF SUFFERING ON EARTH – DISCUSS
(Don’t worry, this video DOES NOT CONTAIN SHOCKING MATERIAL , it is rather beautiful, but is still rather…shocking. A few of you asked me to look at this. Yes, I read all your messages.)
Any reaction to this statement, strongly pro or strongly against, depends almost entirely on one thing: whether you value the life of farm animals. If you do – to any degree – it is hard to deny .
The only fact more startling than the sheer volume of meat that is butchered each year is the fact that so many caring humans don’t see it as an issue. Factory farming is both the world’s greatest tragedy and the world’s greatest vanishing act. The pain disappears in front of people’s eyes.
It is preposterous to try and quantify the value of an animal’s against a human life – is one man worth 1000 pigs worth 1,000,000 worms? It’s also fairly dangerous to rate suffering in terms of numbers of beings that die – a fire that kills three children is as much a tragedy as a school bus accident that kills twenty.
But…let’s for a second assume we can put some sort of quantity on suffering.
Every year well over 60 billion farm animals are killed for meat. EVERY YEAR. That’s one of those numbers that, like the fattest man on earth, suffers from being just TOO big. No one understands it except for astrophysicists and people that kill chickens. We need a crane to lift that fat number out of the house of confusion and into the hospital of understanding.
In simple terms it is about ten times the number of people that live on earth currently, which is about 1000 times the number of people that live in Britain (or France) which is…. a shit load….
KILLED EVERY YEAR.
Estimates of the proportion of animals that are in intensive farms (or factory farms…or concrete hell sheds) vary but it is something like two thirds. Or 40 billion. Or shit loads. And don’t forget, the other third still get slaughtered. Yippee
Nothing in the history of human tragedy comes close in terms of numbers. No wars, no disease, no genocide.
Hold your horses….or pigs…I’m talking numbers, not value. At least for now.
If you question the degree of suffering in factory farms you need to do some reasearch. The list of welfare problems is as long as Pinocchio’s nose. If you think they don’t exist IT’S A LIE: early separation from mothers, confinement, early death, excessive inbreeding, inhumane live export, poor slaughter, sickness, lack of social interaction and so it goes on.
For a look at factory farming watch the video above. IT DOES NOT CONTAIN ANYTHING SHOCKING, it’s actually rather hypnotic. Perhaps too beautiful. Note how similar the man’s belly at the end is to pig fat.
So…when you look at the number of animals killed and the degree of welfare problems associated with so many of them, then to keep eating meat (from factory farms) you either have to
A) rate the screams and cries of all those animals as virtually meaningless, fantastically close to zero in fact, otherwise they quickly mount up to a stack of misery that trumps our own concerns.
B) Do what so many people do and enjoy the magic trick. The magic trick goes like this:
Look very closely. Look at my left hand. You’ll see a pretty watch in my left hand – see how it twinkles in the light? Watch it tick, watch it tock, watch it tick – all the while my right hand kills 60 billion animals.
There is of course the option to eat meat from better farms, to support organic suppliers, to demand that welfare standards are raised by our politicians etc. But I’m coming to the conclusion that this is simply side-stepping the issue. Eating meat still supports an industry that kills beings in the billions. Ouch. Double ouch times a billion. Times 30.
The other day I spoke to Joyce D’Silva. ambassador for Compassion in World Farming, one of the world’s best farm charities, about her views on our relation to animals
If you were president of the world what would be the one thing you would do – aside from fixing all the farms?
“I would want schools to teach compassion for all beings…. It’s called humane education. If you took 4 hens from a battery farm and placed them in a similar cage in a school the first thing kids would say was ‘let them out”
“But doesn’t that mean that the kids know the value of compassion already?”
“Yes, but something is lost in the process of growing up”
We don’t need to teach compassion so much as to stop unlearning it. Eating factory farmed animals is the culmination of our unlearning.
I have a curious problem here.
I want to explore factory farming but if I am too graphic, too confrontational, I will fall foul of the same magic trick. You will all turn away.
Do you agree?
Am I talking pig shit?
I still eat dairy sometimes, am I a two faced idiot?
In the next blog I’m going to do the reveal. I’m going to tell you how I’m going to tackle factory farming, what difference I can make and which animal I’m going to be looking at…from birth, all the way to death.
It ain’t chickens.