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6544429 Tom Regan but for the Sake of Some Little Mouthful of Fl

6544429 Tom Regan but for the Sake of Some Little Mouthful of Fl

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Published by: RicardoSoulForce on Jun 07, 2009
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Tom ReganBut for the Sake of Some Little Mouthful Of Flesh...Edição Guinefort
Most people like animals. Cats and dogs are favorites. But the good feelings manypeople have for whales and dolphins, baby seals and elephants show that even wildanimals can come within the mantle of our affections. Animals don’t have to livewith us to be liked by us. Children reveal how generous we are in our natural loveof animals. Any grade school teacher knows that nothing gets the attention ofyoungsters like a class visit by an animal, whatever the species. Children’sbedrooms are veritable menageries of stuffed creatures, and the stories youngpeople eagerly read, listen to, or watch are as much about the travails of bearsand rabbits as they are about the adventures of human beings. Even adults find itnatural to drive cars named Mustang, Lynx, and Cougar, or to root for athleticteams called the Colts, Rams, or Cardinals. Some of the habits of childhood remainfor a lifetime. One of these habits concerns food. Most people who live in theWestern world are taught to eat meat from infancy onward. And most people whoacquire this habit never give it up. Perhaps some never stop to think about it.But whether thought about or not, we face a strange paradox: On the one hand,people naturally love animals; on the other, they eat them. How is it possible toeat what one loves? One possible answer is that people do not love the animalsthey eat or eat the animals they love. And it is true that comparatively fewWesterners feel much affection for domesticated “food animals,” as they are called— cows, pigs, chickens and turkeys, for example. Why these animals tend not to beloved by us, while others are, poses many interesting questions. We in the Westare shocked to learn that Koreans and other Asians eat dogs. And yet Hindus are noless aghast that Westerners eat cow, and many other people from various parts ofthe world wonder how humans can eat any animal. Love is fickle, it seems, even inthe case of our love for animals. It is difficult to understand how some peoplecan adamantly refuse to eat cats and dogs because they love them, and then turnaround and gladly eat other animals who are not essentially different. Cows andpigs, for example, just like dogs and cats, see and hear, are hungry and thirsty,feel pain and pleasure, like companionship and warmth. If we do not eat the2
latter, how can it be fair or rational to eat the former? Perhaps part of theanswer lies in the fact that people do not have to kill the animals they eat.Other people do this for them. So perhaps the ancient adage, “Out of sight, out ofmind,” applies. Because we do not see animals die, perhaps we can pretend they arenot killed. By not being a party to their slaughter people can have apsychological shield that protects them from seeing steaks and chops as parts ofdead animals — as pieces of corpses. Certainly many people would give up eatingmeat if they had to slaughter animals themselves. The emotional trauma would betoo great. These psychological defenses may not be strong enough. How would wefare psychologically if the walls of slaughterhouses were made of glass? Whatwould we feel and do if we SAW the death of so-called “food animals”? Might notthe psychological shield break if people peered through these glass walls and sawthe meat on their plate for what it really is, not for what they pretend it to be?But slaughterhouses do not have glass walls. And few people ever venture inside.And why should they? Whatever the details, everybody understands without lookingthat they can’t be pretty. So why go in? Who wants or needs to see all the bloodand gore? Most people are satisfied with this response, at least until they beginto think about many things that aren’t “pretty” — the mass graves of innocentwomen and children massacred in Vietnam, for example, and the mercilessexploitation of Jews at the hands of Nazis. We do not want to look, of course, andwe do not enjoy what we see. Yet we understand the need to confront the truth,however ugly it may be, lest we forget. We owe the victims of large-scale humanevil at least this much. Do we owe less to the animals slaughtered for food?Certainly the statistics are staggering: over 5 billion slaughtered annually, justin the United States, approximately 4,000 killed every second of every day. Interms of sheer numbers even the worst human atrocities are dwarfed by comparison.Of these atrocities we understand the need to remind ourselves. In the face ofanimal slaughter we look away. How can it be right to force ourselves to confrontthe3

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