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“Enjoying the BEST chicken dinner.” ~R.W.P

October 16– “Enjoying the BEST chicken dinner — at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.”

October 16– “Back for lunch, an amazing Cuban pork sandwich with homemade chips, so good — at Porto’s Bakery.”

October 15– “Onion loaf — at Tony Roma’s Ribs, Seafood & Steak.”

October 13– “Filet mignon with crab cakes. All gone.”

October 12– “Enjoying desserts — at Porto’s Bakery and Cafe in Burbank,CA.”

October 12– “Having biscuits and gravy — at Mrs. Knott’s Chicken Dinner Restaurant.”
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Day after day this week, a “Facebook friend” (an acquaintance from high school) made a point to commentate as he ate his way through his southern California vacation.  I held back my strong urge to post a comment on his picture of the dead cow with the dead crab.  The picture of the dead chicken (above)– however– was more than I could take.  After all, I see the chicken trucks regularly on my way to work.  So, I made this comment:

I’m just picturing what those poor tortured birds went through…

The response I got was this:

“Elisa, we get it.  You don’t eat meat.  Please keep your negativity to your own page.  You are not going to change anyones mind.”

My second comment:

My “negativity” is simply the truth.  Those birds were tortured for your meal…no doubt about it.  Yes, you’re absolutely correct– I won’t change any minds that are closed to empathy and compassion.  And yet– I have changed minds.  Those people have told me so.

R.W.P’s next response was to “unfriend” me.

————————

I’m going to expand on my original response here, now that I’ve had the chance to reflect for a while.  Here are some questions and comments that come to mind.

  1. No, I don’t think R.W.P does “get it” at all.  If he truly got “it,” then he wouldn’t be eating animals either.
  2. “It” is not about me.  “It” is not about what I eat.  “It” is about empathizing with other living beings and acting with compassion.
  3. What is the “we” all about?  “Elisa, we get it.”  Is R.W.P attempting to speak for all of my non-vegan Facebook friends?  Instead of the dialogue staying between us, is he recruiting his own imaginary crew of backers so that he can feel more supported in his animal consumption?  As if animal consumers aren’t already in the majority?  (Yet– in that one Facebook moment, there was just 1 animal advocate and 1 animal consumer.)
  4. Take notice of what R.W.P didn’t say.  He didn’t say, “No, Elisa, you’re wrong.  Those birds weren’t tortured.”   Think about that.
  5. Did I spoil some of R.W.P’s palate pleasure with my negative truth telling?  Did I temper his Facebooking enthusiasm by exposing the experience of the chicken underneath the breading?  For even just a few seconds– did I force R.W.P to also picture what those poor tortured birds went through?
  6. I’m not going to change ANYone‘s mind?  Not even one?  What a horrible world to imagine 😦
  7. I’m not going to change anyone’s minds about what?  (“What” could mean just about anything.)
  8. Finally…

I’m noticing a pattern on Facebook.  “Keep it on your Facebook page.”  R.W.P isn’t the first FB friend to type that, and he certainly won’t be the last.  But, I’ve figured out one thing with certainty through this latest Facebook experience:

As long as my “voice” on behalf of animals stays on my Facebook page, then no one else has to “listen.”  Close-minded people can just scroll down the page.  Pretend not to see.  Refuse to look.  Deny.

On the other hand, when I comment on a friend’s Facebook page, it’s different.  My voice, the animal’s voice, can no longer be ignored.  The ugly, violent, bloody, negative (!) reality demands acknowledgement, whether the friend on the receiving end makes a written comment about it or not.

The “problem” for some people is that they’re suddenly forced to take some of the personal responsibility that they’d been avoiding.  They can no longer pretend that they aren’t an active participant in the violence.  They can no longer pass the buck.  The buck just stopped with them.  It’s threatening.

What might happen next?  You get unfriended.

“Friends like these, huh, Gary?”

Bottom line:  It’s not about me and it’s not about you.  It’s about the bird.  It’s about the living being.  That piece of “chicken” belonged to an animal who cared about her own life.  Please picture the kind of life that the chicken would have wanted.  Please protect that life.

Check out this 6/06/12 article from the “Newsroom” of the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC):

Survey Shows Few Sows in Open Housing.”

NPPC is the “global voice for the U.S. pork industry, protecting the livelihoods of America’s 67,000 pork producers.”

Survey says…

  • 82.7% of sows spend some time in gestation stalls.
  • 17.3% of sows spend a portion of gestation in open pens.

The survey included pork operations of 1000 or more sows.  Responses were received from 70 operations, equaling 3.6 million of the nation’s 5.7 million sows.

Here is the breakdown– by size of operation– of the percentage of sows who live in “open” pens for some portion of gestation:

  • 20.2% – operations with 1,000-9,999 sows.
  • 18.9% – operations with 10,000-99,999 sows.
  • 16.4% – operations with >100,000 sows.

It seems that the NPPC is “concerned” about “recent pronouncements by food companies that they will use only pork from operations that are gestation-stall free.”

Here are the words from NPPC President R.C. Hunt, a pork producer from Wilson, N.C.:

“Today’s survey shows that these food companies obviously haven’t thought through the complexities, logistics or implications of their requests.  Simply making an announcement without understanding the entire supply chain’s ability to meet these requests or the challenges involved is utterly befuddling.

“Given that few sows always are in open housing and that producers may use both individual and group housing, it would be extremely difficult and costly for the pork supply chain to sort, segregate and trace product to meet the requirements of these food companies.”

“Regardless, this issue is about giving animals the best care possible, and hog farmers like me know through years of experience that individual housing provides that best care.”

—————-

Dear Mr. Hunt,

Indeed, I do share your concern about food companies “only” using pork from operations that are gestation-stall free.  I feel your pain.

No, I feel the pigs’ pain.  My concern is with food companies using pork from any animal killing operation.

So you want to discuss complexities, logistics, implications and challenges, Mr. Hunt?  Fine…

  1. It is complex for an intelligent animal to understand why she is confined with 1000s of other animals, whether in “individual” or “group” housing.
  2. It is a logistical problem for a pig to implement his own escape from entrapment.
  3. Pigs do understand the implication of pain being inflicted upon them.
  4. It is challenging for a pig to live when her blood drains out of her neck.

Yes, I find it extremely difficult to comprehend how cutting up young pigs can be the end result of giving them the best care possible.  I’m utterly befuddled.

So you want to discuss costs?

Pork is infinitely costly to each and every individual pig who is killed unnecessarily.  (Pigs are 100% unnecessary in the human diet.)

Yes, Mr. Hunt-  the costs are way too high.  Why don’t you treat this time of increasing pressure as a time of opportunity?  This is the perfect time for you and other producers to get out of the pig exploitation industry.

Help meet the demand for healthy, organic, non-GMO vegan foods:  fruits, vegetables, beans/legumes, nuts/seeds and whole grains.

In your own words:  Regardless, this issue is about giving animals the best care possible.

Animal killing cannot coexist with animal care.  Sentient beings deserve moral consideration.  Animals have their own interests.  We need to stop exploiting the lives of others.

Go VEGAN.

(The image is a screenshot of this HSUS video.  For another related blog post, see Animal Care Experts.)

"There are those who are appalled because I am so vocal about injustice, yet I am equally appalled by their silence." Lujene Clark

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"My purpose is not to offend you, it is to provoke you to think." Unknown

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