NY Time Book Review Sparks Outrage

The following post was written by a close friend of mine, Phoebe Maestri, regarding a recent NY Time article entitled “The Joys and Pains of Being an Animal.” Anyone who feels deeply for our fellow creatures on this earth would be irked to read either the article or the book (I have not but since this is a preview I can only imagine). Phoebe has tackled this nuisance of an article/book for us and does so in a great fashion. Thanks Phoebe!

I read this article in the NY Times recently, and it simply infuriated me – as a vegan, as a human, as a animal, as a woman, as an Earthling. When asked how Temple Grandin can love animals when she designs ‘stress-free’ slaughter plants, her reply is as follows: “some people think death is the most terrible thing that can happen to an animal.” She argues that “the most important thing for an animal is the quality of its life.” First, let’s silently ruminate on the phrase, “stress-free” slaughterhouse, for a bit shall we?!

Ok, now I would have to agree on one thing – at the end of the queue the only thing that the animals can hope for is death, and a quick one at that – I mean, wouldn’t you? At that point, death is mercy. Death means the pain is gone. The pain of being captive-bolted incorrectly so you still feel everything that will come on top of dealing with the pain of just having a metal rod shoved in your brain. The pain of being slit at the throat while trussed up by the hind legs, hanging upside-down. The pain, in instances of ‘kosher’ slaughter, of being turned upside-down in a loud metal container so that the blood runs down as you lose all sense of surrounding. Death means that the torture is over. The torture of watching your inevitable fate unfold as your friends are slaughtered first – whether they exhibit this in their facial expressions or not, for us to watch through these glass walls (does anyone else see the correlation to zoos here, or is it just me? putting glass walls on slaughter houses would just be like a zoo in a horror film that you scream at – “ooh no! don’t go through that door.”). The torture endured by you and your mates at the hands of the slaughterhouse workers to get you in the queue.

She adds: “The more I observe and learn about how dogs are kept today, I am more convinced that many cattle have better lives than some of the pampered pets. Too many dogs are alone all day with no human or dog companions.” Ok, this to me says she has no idea or insight into the life of a ‘pampered’ pet. A truly pampered pet lives a very full life, I have no doubt. Even when I am home all day, all my pampered pooch does is sleep, chew on a bone, and occasionally ask me to play – not so desperate that I feel guilt when I’m not there. She’s not missing anything when I’m not there because I give her plenty of love when I am there. Who wants to be hovered around all day? Even dogs need “alone-time.” If Grandin wants to talk about pets being alone all day being the cause of their unhappy lives – let’s talk about dogs left out in freezing temperatures to suffer from exposure. Let’s talk about dogs being chained in the yard without access to their water bowl on hot summer days and suffer from dehydration and heat-exhaustion. Let’s talk about a human beating their dog for having an accident in the home without looking for underlying causes that could’ve caused the accident – the human neglecting to let them out, the human not noticing if the dog has taken ill, the human inflicting so much fear in the dog that it begins submissive urination.

“We’re lucky to have Temple Grandin” the author writes?! Lucky? Sure, she may get the message out there that no animal should be in a state of terror during it’s last conscious moments…so shouldn’t it end there. So, instead of eliminating that terror altogether, she would rather just have it on display for us to frighten our children with? “Human beings can be made to feel like cattle, especially in large cities” – or perhaps when they are actually treated like cattle! “Treated like cattle!” Have we forgotten the Holocaust? Have we forgotten slavery in the South? Have we forgotten female Homo sapiens since the dawn of ‘man’?

~~Phoebe Maestri~~

1 Comment

  1. Sara said,

    January 26, 2009 at 2:26 pm

    While I would like to think that having glass walls on slaughterhouses would cause more people to reconsider their choices, I fail to have the faith that people would actually take the time to look at the process of making their meat. The reason slaughterhouses don’t have glass walls is because nobody wants to acknowledge the truth about how their “food” makes it to their plate. With glass walls, people would just live in greater denial of the creation of meat for consumption – not accept the fact that things need to change (and not just with “stress-free slaughter”). The only stress-free slaughter is the absence of slaughter! Ugh!

    You know, another thing…the description of treating humans like ‘cattle’ I find to be a derogatory simile – to the animal in question. This implies that these cattle (or any other animal you describe in treating humans like in a negative fashion) are lesser beings – oh right, they are..I forget. Maybe if people actually made the connection that being ‘treated like cattle’ is actually how the cattle felt when we treat cattle like cattle…I would like to think there would be more vegans in the world. It’s this lack of compassion and elitism against our co-inhabitants of Earth that really burns my toast.


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