How to Stop the Torture of Downed Cows
I received eleven e-mails yesterday, two of which were from people who don’t eat meat, about the beef recall and the HSUS expose of torture of downed cows. I called the e-mailers to reach out and use this opportunity for some gentle conversion.
I kid you not when I say all nine non-vegans were apoplectic and wanted to know if there was anything they could do about the situation in California. Two wanted to send HSUS some cash to make sure the guilty parties were properly prosecuted or something like that. These individuals were so upset that I had to tread lightly while reminding them of their hypocrisy. Here’s what occurred with one of them.
I meekly suggest, "Well, there is one sure-fire way to make sure you don’t ever have that kind of blood on your hands."
At this point you’d think she’d finish the sentence for me, but she really didn’t know what I was getting at.
"You could stop eating animals."
"Yeah, but that’s not gonna stop horrible people from being so cruel to cows!"
"So you’re not gonna stop eating meat, then?"
"You know me, I’ll never stop" (or something like that).
"So let me get this straight: You’re really upset about what’s happening in an industry that you can directly impact by boycotting it and making sure it never gets another penny from you, but you instead choose to continue to fund it? You want to do something, but the one thing you could is the one thing you’re not willing to do?"
"Isn’t the HSUS doing something about it? Doesn’t helping them help the cows?"
(At this point I’m vaguely feeling like I’m on the spinning teacup ride at the local fair. And although my self-monitor appears to be back in business, it’s still a bit vulnerable.)
"Look, Friend, the reality is that what happens to cows by the tens of thousands each day at each slaughterhouse isn’t that much better than what you saw. Not one non-crippled cow is treated humanely, is enjoying the experience and is not living and dying in abject terror. The ‘downer’ cow situation upsets most people because they don’t want to eat meat from an animal who was so sick before she was slaughtered."
"No, I saw what those evil men did to those cows! I’ll never forget it! I’m gonna have nightmares about it for the rest of my life! I would never want to eat meat from a situation like that. That’s bad karma!"
"Would you like to see what happens to cows who aren’t crippled? Do you think eating their meat is better karma?"
"I’m coming to you for help, not for you to impose your beliefs on me."
"The way I see it, you’re coming to me for help, and I’m giving you just that. I’m trying to get you to see that the downed cow situation isn’t the real problem. If the cows weren’t in the slaughterhouse at all, the problem of workers torturing crippled cows wouldn’t exist."
"Don’t change the subject."
"The way I see it, I’m not changing the subject–I’m trying to get you to see a larger picture. We have developed a system that by its very nature disrespects and abuses the animals. Though heaping further abuse on top of that abuse is certainly terrible, the real tragedy is that the entire system isn’t seen as barbaric."
Maybe I planted a seed. Maybe I failed completely. But one thing I learned–and I learn it at least once a week–is that for some people, no amount of gruesome truth seen with their own eyes is going to keep them from their filet mignon.