18 February 2009

Courtesy of my ethics textbook...

"Most people believe, in a vague way, that while the slaughterhouse might be an unpleasant place, animals raised for food are otherwise treated well enough. But, Singer points out, nothing could be further from the truth. Veal calves, for example, spend their lives in pens too small to allow them to turn around or even to lie down comfortably--but from the producers' point of view, that is good, because exercise toughens the muscles, which reduces the "quality" of the meat; and besides, allowing the animals adequate living space would be expensive. In these pens, the calves cannot perform such basic actions as grooming themselves, which they naturally desire to do, because there is not room for them them to twist their heads around. The calves clearly miss their mothers, and like human infants, they want something to suck--they can be seen trying vainly to suck the sides of their stalls. In order to keep their meat pale and tasty, they are fed a liquid diet deficient in both iron and roughage. Naturally, they develop cravings for these things. The calves' craving for iron becomes so strong that, if allowed to turn around, they will lick at their own urine, although calves normally find this repugnant. The tiny stalls, which prevent the animals from turning, solve this "problem." The craving for roughage is especially strong, since without it the calves cannot form a cud to chew. They cannot be given any straw for bedding, since the animals would be driven to eat it, which would affect the meat."


  1. That's why I only eat chicken breasts. Poor baby cows.

  2. I remember Singer from my ethics class too. That guy is pretty serious. He gives away all of his disposable income to charity.

    Anyway, the last meal I ate before I got appendicitis this Monday was veal ravioli. I always felt there was especially bad karma associated with that meat, but I hadn't had it in so long. The mere feeling didn't stop me from spending all of Sunday making that ravioli.

    Was this the universe giving me my hard earned lesson about veal? Maybe not, but I certainly won't be eating it for a long time.

  3. Nat: It was karma, and you are now, officially, fucked for life.