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Animals In Print
The On-Line Newsletter

From 14 February 2002 Issue

NOTE: The following column appeared in the Valley Morning Star.  Please read it and then read the thought provoking response from an exceptionally perceptive Man, Ed Haymond.

Hopefully you will feel motivated to send Dr. Baxter Black a polite letter pointing out his mistaken assumptions.  Terrorism against our country doesn't promote or excuse terrorism and abuse of sentient animals.  A horror is horror, regardless of species.

ON THE EDGE OF COMMON SENSE
by Baxter Black, DVM
week of Feb. 11, 2002

CAN THE PUBLIC HANDLE THE TRUTH?   

Can the public handle the truth?
    “Mommy, where do babies come from?”
    “The stork brings them, dear.”
    “Mommy, where does milk come from?”
    “The grocery store, now be quiet and eat your hot dog.”

There are folks who continue to believe milk comes from the grocery store long after they've quit putting out milk and cookies for Santa.  But when is a good time for Junior to be told the hamburger or chicken nuggets He's eating required a live sacrifice.

It is obvious that many consumers are long past voting age before they vaguely began to relate agriculture to food, cowboy to cow, or lamb to chop.

A frequent tactic of animal rights people is to paint the killing of animals for consumption as a ghastly act.  It can be very effective in the susceptible.  However, for the vast 97% of us,
we accept it as a part of life's cycle.

In the politically correct years leading up to September 11th, livestock producers and marketers have become very timid.   Mincing around words like packing house, slaughter and death.  This is being done to deliberately separate what consumers eat, from the cuddly
lamb Beeny Babies and the little red hen, of story book fame.

I’ve often felt that urban people who eat food can handle the truth.  They don’t have to get blood on their hands but neither must they be treated like two-year-olds.  The ‘growing up’ of America since 9-11 has made us look at things less frivolously.  We have less interest in, and tolerance for loonies, dividers, whiners and slackers.

What once was considered eccentric is now considered juvenile or irritating.  Common sense has returned as a guideline in airports, law enforcement, and commerce.  This common sense also carries over into our daily lives.  We are now making practical concessions without “making a big deal of it’, to long lines, internet viruses, or I.D.
checks and government intrusion.  We need only to look toward New York City or Kabul to realize how petty our own griping can seem.

This renewed acceptance of reality has opened people’s eyes to things they once ignored, i.e., home grown oil, genetically modified foods and animal agriculture.  And we who supply the necessities of life can assume that the public knows the truth and can accept it.

So the next time your sister’s 19-year-old techno geek son says he sure likes the buffalo wings at the sports bar, you might remind him that’s why chickens can’t fly.

Valley Morning Star
1310 S. Commerce St.
Harlingen, TX. 78550
Fax (956) 430-6233
Letters ( for publication) are limited to 250 words.

===================================
RESPONSE

Editor:

Dr. Baxter Black’s recent column asks, "Can the public handle the truth?" about extensive animal suffering in our society.  I answer: Sure!  Humans have a remarkable ability to disregard egregious suffering when they are told that the "necessities of life" require its continuance.  Furthermore, they often develop a bloodlust that demands its expansion on an ever-larger scale to satisfy their frivolous personal desires.

I agree that language should not be re-worked to disguise reality, and neither should we allow the facts about the practices themselves to remain hidden.  However, our tendency to conceal truth through the use of ambiguous terms and other more physical tactics is the best indicator that we are afraid to confront the most important question.

It is not, "Can the public handle the truth?"  Indeed, we may find an enormous capacity for "acceptance of reality," however wretched.  But our status as intrinsically moral beings forces us to ask, "How *ought* we to treat animals?" -- and anyone who protests anything on grounds that it is morally objectionable presupposes that moral sense is functioning correctly, rather than being shut down through slothful indifference.

With his column, Dr. Black has written the preface to a handbook of procedures on how to
implement the very worst kind of society.  We begin by establishing ethical passivity, refusing to examine the permissibility of our own "realistic" practices.  Ironically, once
moral neutrality is joined to what is called "knowledge" and "truth," we are well prepared for the rule of insanity rather than "common sense."

Ed Haymond
Shelby, NC

Source:  ehaymond@webkorner.com

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