Thursday, October 22, 2009

fitter, healthier and more productive

Today's boycott: Industrial farmed meats

A friend related a story of once being sick with some kind of nasty bug, for which he took strong medicine. He would wake up in a panic thinking "I'm dying!" It was explained to him that living things share a lot of chemical signatures (hormones or enzymes or something), and that humans and tiny parasites both release similar chemicals when dying. If you kill a ton of bugs inside yourself, you get the chemical signal of all those bugs saying "I'm dying", in your blood, and you think it's your body that's saying it.

You wouldn't want to put this "I'm dying" chemical into your body. That's partly why it's important that animals raised for food aren't slaughtered in a stressful way. How they die matters. But what about how they live?

High-density hog factories are disgusting. There are plenty of surprising and disturbing documentaries that show the terrible conditions in which factory pigs live. People are willing to effectively torture animals if it means greater profit. Pigs are confined in dirty metal pens, squished in together till there's no room to move. The "stench of liquid manure" affects communities for miles around, and makes people sick outside of the farms -- imagine what it does to those living their entire lives inside.

One reason not to eat pork is simply that it's aesthetically and morally gross to eat something that has been raised in such filth and appalling conditions. There are other reasons: I've been told that pork is the closest meat to human flesh, and it doesn't digest easily, it just sits in your intestines rotting as much as being digested. Then there are parasites, etc.

Imagine though that when you eat meat, you are putting into your system the chemical signatures that an animal built up as it lived and grew. You are taking its chemical memories, and making them your own. So if you eat a ton of industrial hog factory meat, could your body be absorbing a feeling of being stressed out all the time, of being confined and crowded, frantic and agitated, living in filth? Could you be absorbing a little constant unhappiness, a desperate need to escape? Whether or not this actually happens, simply thinking about it might make you want to cut back on meat consumption.

Non-factory farms, where animals live and die decently, shouldn't have this problem. If you eat only ethically raised meats, it means lower-density production, which means that we can't all eat huge amounts of meat without requiring an impossibly large environmental footprint. But this isn't a problem; eating less meat is a solution.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This sounds like something Kim would write. But in a good way. And it's part of the reason I stopped eating meat a few years back. Now how do I send this thing...