This is Halloween. I don’t know when the scary got replaced by sexy. Maybe it’s more terrifying to have our daughters dress up as a sexy slice of pizza than it is to come face to face with a vampire in the chill of a dark October night.
But do you want to know what I am scared of?
Militant vegans with a video camera.
And I don’t even own a farm.
So today, in the spirit of the holiday, I have something especially horrifying for you to watch. And I’m putting the video after the jump because all joking aside, it’s terribly disturbing.
On the upside, it does feature the amazing James Cromwell.
You should know going into this video that its producers have an agenda. The group that made it is called Mercy for Animals and they really don’t want you to eat meat. I can’t get behind their strategy of trying to shame Walmart into making changes in the American meat production system. But I do appreciate the work they are doing to expose what’s going on behind the scenes at pig farms.
Not everything in the video is that upsetting. But there were parts that really bothered me. Perhaps what is more troubling is this quote from a story on the video:
In a statement, the National Pork Producers Council said practices shown in the video meet industry standards for humane treatment. The NPPC said an independent veterinarian reviewed the video and found no signs of inhumane treatment and no charges were filed.
That’s right. The video below constitutes humane treatment of animals in America. Now, it’s time to watch it and please try to hold that thought in your mind for the next three and a half minutes.
I am keenly aware of the desire we have to anthropomorphize animals. This is why people get upset with foie gras. We think of what it would be like for us to have a tube stuck down our throats. But the physiology of geese is different.
Video is a powerful medium. I do wish that the folks behind these hidden camera investigations weren’t so obviously trying to take down the meat industry entirely. For starters, I think it would make their message more powerful to a wider audience. But it would also give me less sympathy for farmers who are trying to enact Ag Gag legislation that would make such videos illegal.
The farmers’ issue, and it’s a fair one, is that they are following the law and observing what the industry holds up as humane practices. It may look upsetting to outsiders, but they are being accused of atrocities when in their view none are being committed.
But our food system has gotten out of control. It’s just too damn big. And I do think it’s important for people to see how their food is being produced. There needs to be more transparency, not less. It’s the only way for people to make informed decisions about what they want to eat, and what they find unappealing.
And it just may give a boost to smaller farmers who have to charge more money for their meats because they don’t operate on nearly the same scale as the huge ranchers.
To give you a sense of scale, here’s another horror show. Those dots are animals. And those large irregular shapes are lakes of manure. You have no idea how big they actually are until you see them.
This is even scarier than sexy Oscar the Grouch. Now get out there and drown your fears in candy. If you made it down this far, you deserve it.