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).
- 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.
- We’re rescuing animals and paying for their care at sanctuaries
(and this includes hens from the much-worshipped cage-free facilities);
- we’re volunteering at sanctuaries;
- we’re volunteering our professional services so sanctuaries can spend their funds on the animals;
- we’re creating pamphlets
and spreading the word about veganism and animal rights;
- we’re making films that tell the story of vegans;
- we’re making films that tell the story of people who used to be
farmers and used to tell themselves that they were compassionate, but
were strong enough to stand up and say they were wrong, and who now
campaign for animals rather than for their destruction
- we’re writing books about what we tell ourselves to get ourselves through a meal (Jeffrey Masson‘s The Face on Your Plate will be out in 2009);
- we’re writing cookbooks and showing the world how easy it is to eat delicious, blood-free meals and baked goods;
- we’re writing books about all of the many emotions that nonhumans experience, just like we do;
- we’re connecting the dots for people: dots like your dog isn’t much
different from a cow or a pig, and if you wouldn’t eat your dog no matter how he was treated, you shouldn’t be eating a cow;
- we’re teaching in college (so are Roger, Gary and Steve), developing the critical thinking skills of young people;
- we’re raising vegan children (and so is Ryan);
- we’re fighting, in the blogosphere and in newspapers and magazines,
the notion that there’s anything compassionate about slaughter (and I’m
not talking about euthanasia);
- we’re fighting slaughter on the front lines, through our actions and our dollars.
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.
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.