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From Eating No Meat to Advocating FOR Slaughter

Jenny was kind enough to inform me that the day I posted my review of Catherine Friend’s ode to betrayal and slaughter, The Compassionate Carnivore, Jenna Woginrich posted "Is Eating Local Meat Kinder Than Vegetarianism?" Woginrich, a vegetarian, actually bought the reasoning in Friend’s book.

This isn’t all that surprising because we all know that vegetarians are (unintentionally, I hope) failing to see the entire picture and aren’t making some very important connections. When I connected veal to cheese, or realized all baby boy chicks are macerated on day one or two, or that cows are raped, or that they scream bloody murder when their kids are yanked away from them, I felt mighty stupid for my prior belief that vegetarianism was a far more ethical choice than omnivorism.

It also isn’t surprising because, after all, as a vegan even, I would drown in my own hypocrisy by telling people that shopping at Whole Foods is the way to go if you insist on eating animals (don’t berate me, I do it enough for the both of us).

But let’s get to Woginrich, whom I’m sure means well (unlike Friend, who appears to simply refuse to stop eating animals and is dedicated to making that sound acceptable).

Let’s deconstruct:

  • Woginrich begins with paraphrasing Friend . . .

it seems kinder on the surface, vegetarianism isn’t necessarily the
most compassionate choice in the broader spectrum of animal welfare.
Which may sound like sheer lunacy to some of my fellow vegetarians, but
hear me out, because her points are beyond valid."

She’s right about one thing: vegetarianism isn’t the most
compassionate choice. Veganism is. Friend’s points are only "beyond
valid" (is that like invalid?) if you accept the fact that Friend likes
the taste of flesh and doesn’t consider not eating it as an
option. Oh, and if you consider slaughter and betrayal and captivity
and tail-docking (yes, Friend docks tails via rubber band) and all the rest to be compassionate.

  • "Small farms like Catherine’s are the front lines in the war against cruelty to animals and climate change."

Who’s on the front lines? To
say "Catherine" is fighting cruelty to animals is ridiculous. She’s very clear
about her goal of producing the best-tasting flesh possible, and doing
what’s necessary to reach her goal. If she were so against cruelty, why
would she so easily send every animal to his death? Isn’t controlling
someone’s life entirely and then killing them cruel? Am I missing

  • "Vegetarianism is definitely a
    gentler way to govern the earth’s resources, and I am in no way
    disparaging it as a legitimate diet (after all, I am one) but by
    avoiding meat, we vegetarians have become silent protesters."

don’t know about vegetarians, but it’s patently false to say that
vegans have become silent protesters. Just because we’re not sitting at
the same table as the exploiters and slaughterers doesn’t make us silent.

Pardon me, but we vegans aren’t silent protesters. And don’t insult us by saying that someone who kills animals for a living is on the front lines of anything but animal killing.

  • "So
    now I’m a vegetarian on the edge. A few logical steps from returning to
    the carnivorous life. For me, it’s based on the realization that logic
    can overturn pride. Specially (and embarrassingly) if pride is masking
    as compassion. Which I worry is the case with myself. Am I avoiding
    meat because I want to help animals – or help my own green-tinted ego?

Obviously, I cannot speak for Woginrich. I know nothing of her ego. But the idea of "returning to the carnivorous life" meaning more
compassion is ludicrous. I don’t know what her motivation is, but to claim
that killing without necessity can ever, ever be more compassionate
than choosing not to kill is epic in its Orwellianness. It’s the height
of rationalization and hypocrisy.

  • "It’s a
    harsh reality to chomp back into a Thanksgiving turkey after years of
    abstinence, but I’d rather be boosting the livelihood of kinder
    practices than handing more money to Tofurkey. Because fake turkey
    isn’t suffering in a cage right now, and doesn’t need the paradigm
    shift in the market to make it’s life better. So let’s show this
    industry that we care, and demand a more humane product. It’s a sad
    truth, but for millions of animals across America, that red plate could
    be a vote for a greener future."

never eaten Tofurkey on Thanksgiving. Or any other day. The choice isn’t between slaughter and
Tofurkey. I had quinoa, loads of veggies and beans and a vegan pumpkin pie last Thanksgiving. The choice of blood on a plate doesn’t ever mean less
suffering when another option is no blood on a plate. (Look mom, no cognitive dissonance!)

all of us who were engaged in (or who just followed) all of the
Internet debates over whether happy meat and welfare reforms would lead
to people feeling more comfortable about having sentient nonhumans
slaughtered for them, I give you yet another example of the unfortunate
reality. People are very easily convinced, through faulty logic and the
redefining and spinning of verbiage, that eating animals not only isn’t
so bad, but it’s actually good.

Welcome to 1984, where 2 + 2 can indeed = 5, and slaughtering
sentient nonhumans who are very much like your dog, or your child (in
any way that matters to them), is good for them.

You can talk about how very small, sustainable farms are better for the environment all day long. But don’t think we’re not going to notice there’s something amiss when you say that creating animals to slaughter them is better for animals than not creating animals to slaughter them.

Please let Woginrich know what you’re thinking.

11 Comments Post a comment
  1. Fredrik Fälth #

    Excellent post, Mary! I love hearing you roar. 😀

    Did someone inform PETA and HSUS about this Jenna Woginrich post?

    September 26, 2008
  2. Dustin Rhodes #

    Pardon my bluntness, please, but Woginrich might just be (warning: politcally correct euphemism ahead) mentally deficient, stupid? Just sayin'.

    September 26, 2008
  3. Dan #

    Wow, I don’t believe read anything more incredibly absurd than Woginrich’s blog entry (but then again, I haven’t and won’t read Catherine Friend’s book). It was like an Onion piece, but utterly devoid of the humor. Woginrich gives her distain for clear thinking and logic away by saying “beyond valid”, which is not a coherent concept. It is like saying of a light switch (which, remember, has only two positions, on and off), that it is “beyond on”. Que?

    Anyway, I much prefer people who come right out and say that they care a lot more about the fleeting taste of animal products than about any animal’s life – at least they’re honest. The nonsense-on-steroids that is regurgitated by the likes of Friend and Woginrich is not merely idiotic drivel, it is transparently dishonest. It’s their dishonesty alone that is even more disgusting than their indifference toward the animals they kill or cause to be killed and their stupidity in how they go about trying to cover up the dishonesty. Do they think they’re addressing four-year-olds?

    Finally, I never had much of an opinion about Huffington Post…until now. I think I'd rather spend my time listening to Rush Limbaugh – even if he says some absurd things, at least he's funny.

    September 26, 2008
  4. I have been getting hits from a peta forum, so someone over there has posted this over there . . .

    "Beyond valid" was definitely one of my favorite moments . . .

    September 26, 2008
  5. Dan #

    BTW, Mary, now that I’m finished with my rant above, (:-p) this is a great post. Thank you. And thanks to all the vegans who are making an effort at genuine vegan education.

    September 26, 2008
  6. Bea Elliott #

    What a twisted mind set Woginrich is in. Bad is good, wrong is right, cruel is humane – gosh my head hurts from the convoluted mess! I had my say…

    In a previous article "A Beginners Guide to City Chickens", Woginrich advises her readers to "buy" chicks on line to be sent through the "mail":
    I had my say there too… BTW – I am "Provoked"

    Mary you did a brilliant job defending vegan activism and how it really is "nicer" not to eat the animals at all… This is why I'm an Animal Person fan! Grateful for your pamphlet… and your words of wisdom. Thank you.

    September 26, 2008
  7. kaylie #

    this was absoloutley amazing. love it.

    September 26, 2008
  8. "Small farms like Catherine's are the front lines in the war against cruelty to animals and climate change."

    No, that would be ALF and ELF. *snort*

    September 26, 2008
  9. Regarding turkey:
    (no disturbing images)

    September 27, 2008
  10. Bea Elliott #

    A responder "Swerinjer" says she was vegan till she learned of "The Weston A Price Foundation". I had never heard of it and investigated their "15 Myths of Vegetarianism":

    Although they claim to receive no funding from dairy or meat industries I seriously doubt that is true. Furthermore, the information on this site is biased, innacurate and dated – some findings based in studies and research from the 70's!

    Anyway, if you find these "reasons to not be vegan" as ill founded and arrogant as I did… perhaps you can tell Swerinjer as well?

    September 27, 2008
  11. Bea Elliott #

    Elaine… I keep trying to go to your link "regarding turkeys" but can't. thanks 🙂

    September 28, 2008

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