Loving Doggies, Eating Piggies and Wearing Cows

From all-creatures.org
Animal Rights Articles

Moo-ving people toward compassionate living

Visit our Home Page
Write us with your comments

Loving Doggies, Eating Piggies and Wearing Cows

[Ed. Note: We disagree with Mr. Hall's conclusion but we are glad to report his openness to "vegetarian treatises...that try to appeal to our better nature."]

By Bill Hall, TheNewsTribune.com
March 2010

Joy’s attitude is more generous than many previous vegetarian treatises in that it tries to appeal to our better nature, thereby revealing her friendly belief that we have one. In effect, this book asks how people as sweet as we are could be so loving with some animals while heartlessly devouring others.

Dr. Melanie Joy, the provocative vegetarian who rubs the noses of meat eaters like me in our hamburgers and pork chops, has written a book that asks meat people a question about our inconsistent relationship with animals:

Why do we treat some like beloved relatives and others like dinner?

In the book, Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism, she suggests that we have been taught by our culture to treat some animals like family. We treat dogs like substitute children, albeit weird little children who are too lazy to learn how to read and write.

She pretty much has us dead to rights when she asks why we love the doggies, regardless of their marginal behavior, while eating pigs, an animal that many assert is more intelligent than dogs and no more slobby.

Does that make any more sense than the fact that some people eat dogs while others find the idea of eating pigs to be disgusting? Why is an animal a pet in one culture and stroganoff in another?

The normal vegetarian harangue is that we meat eaters are morally inferior. Ordinarily, we tend to reciprocate in kind – partly because we have tasted tofu and feel genuinely sorry for anyone who subsists on a food with the texture of coagulated snot.

Joy’s attitude is more generous than many previous vegetarian treatises in that it tries to appeal to our better nature, thereby revealing her friendly belief that we have one. In effect, this book asks how people as sweet as we are could be so loving with some animals while heartlessly devouring others.

She suggests that we are merely in denial about where that steak or pork roast came from. She thinks she can convert some of us by holding up our warm affection for dogs against our unconsciously savage affection for bacon.

Actually, we aren’t totally carnivorous. As a species, we are naturally omnivorous, going through life half carnivore and half vegetarian.

Previously, I have been asked another provocative question on this topic by an old friend who takes a sorrowful view of the way our world works. My friend asks: “How could God or Mother Nature or whomever create a world in which the only way a cougar can survive is by killing and eating bunnies?”

We humans also exist by killing other creatures. But a totally vegetarian diet, though a noble gesture, is not our natural tendency. Just as big cats were designed and built to eat the flesh of other creatures, and just as cows were designed and built to eat nothing but vegetables, humans were designed and built to go both ways.

That is a fact, and vegetarianism is the benevolent deviation. Humans were built primarily with a super-survival ability to exist on whatever we can get our paws on, animal, vegetable or chewy rock.

That versatility is still a matter of survival for millions of starving people in the world. Vegetarianism (plantism) is a luxury of the fortunate.

But it’s true that we lucky ones in affluent societies do have the kinder choice of eating veggies alone. However, converting things like dogs into nothing but inedible companions is essentially abnormal for our kind.

We are all a little weird. Some of us practice carnism. And the Melanie Joys, bless their kind hearts, practice petism, converting potential protein into artificial relatives.