On Wolfgang Puck, PETA and What God Intended
I received an e-mail from PETA regarding a Newsweek article, Changing Tastes, written by Wolfgang Puck, about his conversion to happy meat. Evidently, I should be congratulating him for his dedication to humane-er farming practices, within the paradigm of raising massive numbers of animals in an unnatural environment, only to slaughter them for human consumption.
"I’m not going soft, or, heaven forbid, vegan. I’m just trying to be more accountable to myself, my customers and to those who are farming responsibly. And if it means being nicer to animals along the way, well, that’s a big bonus. Why shouldn’t cows and pigs feel sunlight on their backs, grass under their feet? Fish shouldn’t be jammed into tanks too full for them to even think about swimming. They should be able to exercise their muscles and feel a current. Yes, they’ll be killed for food—but until then, they should have a nice stay on Earth."
Am I the only one to whom that sounds absurd? Wait, even he finds it absurd . . .
"You might say this is ridiculous. Why does it matter how an animal is reared, since you know from the start that it’s going to be slaughtered? But I have had a change of heart. I want to be more outspoken about the treatment of animals. I care that a veal calf—yes, even one that’s destined to become wiener schnitzel at one of my Spago restaurants—doesn’t live out his days in a crate that’s too small for him to stand. As for foie gras, my customers and I can easily live without it."
So Puck is in favor of less cruelty, but only to a point; he still wants to retain the ultimate cruelty because he profits from it. Look, either you care about the animals or you don’t. Caring about how they live and not caring about killing them is completely ridiculous. And what’s worse, if the American public falls for this piffle, they’re likely to choose a Puck restaurant and order that veal (or chicken or pig) rather than realizing that they could easily do without it and doing the truly humane thing: eshewing animal products.
A visit to the comment section for the article demonstrates that there is some hope, as several commenters aren’t falling for the happy meat solution to cruelty to animals. The most worrisome comment, however, brings me back to PETA. The commenter, ratna bhu, like the people at PETA, writes:
"This is wonderful news that maybe people will start to look at the suffering caused by what they eat. I am glad that Mr. Puck wants his food to be treated humanely and that eventually he will realize that it is not humane to eat animals at all. Here is what Pythagoras had to say about eating animals: ‘For as long as men massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love.’"
What makes this person believe that Puck will eventually see the light? There is simply no evidence for that. In fact, he says he’s not going vegan, and now that he has his new philosophy and practices, he’s more satisfied than ever with the way he does business.
Finally, I go to commenter Robin Morris, who writes:
"As a farmer’s daughter, growing up I always knew the baby animals I played with one day, would be supper in a few short months. My objection to these inhumane practices has always been their impracticality. God intended some animals for human consumption, but it doesn’t make sense to get a few pounds of veal, when that animal could feed many if raised correctly and naturally. Let us be good stewards and make the most of these resources."
God intended? Let us be good stewards and make the most of these resources? I’m glad she states that her objection is one of impracticality and not something that would denote she has a conscience. Is it not a tad arrogant to believe that the world and everything on it was put here for one species, which is extraordinarily flawed (and that’s especially so if you partake of one of the world’s monotheistic religions) and has been at each other’s throats since the beginning of time in the name of God?
If we cannot take care of ourselves, feed our hungry, house our homeless, heal our sick, and take control of our own overpopulation, what qualifies us to "make the most" of the world’s "resources"?