Several days ago I attended the Riverside County Fair and National Date Festival in Indio. Like most such events, livestock was part of the event.
As I was leaving I noticed four animals housed separately from the rest. There was a steer, a goat, a sheep and a pig. The banner above read “Grand Champion Market Animals.”
I snapped a photo of each but the meaning did not register at the time. It was not until later when I was editing the photos for a story did I realize the significance.
The photo above is the picture of the “winning” pig. I’m guessing as I write this he is sitting on someone’s plate as bacon or carnitas or loin roast.
I can only hope each of these four animals met their fate by a butcher with mercy and not one that subscribes to the methods of our factory slaughterhouses.
Look into this pig’s eyes. He knew the fate that awaited him.
A couple of days ago I received a message about a photo I had shared on my Facebook wall. The photograph showed a cage full of dogs packed on top of one another awaiting slaughter in an Asian country.
The message came from an American of Asian descent. She said that the original photo had many “racist” comments and asked if I was aware of it. I was not but I have seen such comments on many photos depicting the treatment of animals in Asian countries.
I was reminded of a story I read online in the early years of the internet. The accompanying photos remain engrained in my brain.
The story was about raccoon dogs, which are raised overseas to provide fur trim on coats. The photos showed a fur farmer cutting off the animal’s feet so it could not get away. Then it was skinned alive. Finally, it was thrown into a pile to die.
American animal rescuers have a great deal of animosity towards those in other countries who skin animals alive, torture them or eat animals we think of as pets. But what is the difference between skinning a dog alive and skinning a cow alive?
I was raised with the belief that American livestock are treated humanely, even in death. Little did I know.
That neat little nicely wrapped white package containing a steak, chops or ribs, if coming from a factory slaughterhouse, represents an animal that was quite possibly hung on a hook, ripped open and skinned alive. If that didn’t kill it, then it died as its limbs organs were being removed.
I am not a vegan. I am not even convinced it is healthy or that we are meant to not eat meat.
I do believe we cannot continue to maim and torture without consequences, especially when there are more humane methods. And I believe we have no business casting stones until we set our own house in order.
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