I applaud the idea of supporting the health and well being of animals and it’s certainly worthwhile to encourage others to rethink how they bring food to tables. PETA has a long history in the fight for this but have they always brought so much religion into it? I first noticed it in regards to wanting to alter the bible (as if changing an “it” to a “she” will make a difference in terms of how a chicken gets treated) but here’s another:
God created humans and other animals out of flesh, blood and bone. We share the same five physiological senses and the ability to feel pain. God designed us this way. God designed pigs to root around in the soil for food and play with one another. God designed chickens to make nests, lay eggs, raise their chicks and establish communities (the “pecking order”).
Yet agribusiness today denies animals the fulfillment of their most fundamental needs. Agricultural scientists “play God” by manipulating animals to grow so quickly that their hearts, lungs and limbs can’t keep up…
with a few more examples of bad health and living arrangements following. Is all this god talk going to guilt these companies into more ethical set-ups? I have my doubts about that. Profits are what they care about and so long as the majority of people are willing to buy what they’re offering, they’ll continue to offer it.
I’m reading a book right now called Stuffed: an insider’s look into who’s (really) making America fat. It’s by Hank Cardello, who was in food business for a lot of years. The idea that food needs to be thought about ethically, organically, or healthy in general is very new concept, really. Attempts to make food better for us have been met with a lot of resistance, either by the companies unwilling to risk changing their product, or the customers themselves. He doesn’t mention much in the way of the animal business, except when writing about the “improved” food pyramid (page 90-94) and the politicking that went on with the Cattlemen’s Beef Assocation and dairy manufacturers. They worried that the new design would stigmatize their products as less healthy in terms of portions thus make people less likely to buy a lot of them.
We can’t all become vegetarians overnight. Even if we did, what would happen to these animals? They’d be rendered unnecessary, beyond medical help, and would have to be wastefully slaughtered. It’s not the fact that these companies are “playing god” with these animals. Humans have practiced specialized breeding for hundreds of years on all kinds of species and will continue to do so. The issue should be with how they do it, not the fact that they are. Until there is a bigger public push for change, from grass roots to big government, all the talk in the world won’t make a difference.