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Feb 18

Written by: Jennifer Kumar, LMSW, Cultural Adjustment Coach/Mentor
Monday, February 18, 2008

Today the news outlets blasted the morning headlines- “Massive Numbers of Pounds of Beef Recalled.” In the news, they showed photos of cows being abused. We could not handle the photos or the mere narration that accompanied these gruesome images, and turned the channel.

As a vegetarian since 1998, I avoid eating meat. Of course, some close to me still try to encourage me to come back to the meat-eating side. Though the choice of foods may become wider and more readily available, being that American is a country that relies on a meat-based diet, I decline. Though it would be oh-so-easy to go back, many including myself often wonder what encourages me to stay on this side of the fence.

It is the main topic of these news reports this morning- animal abuse. Of course media needs sensational and extreme viewpoints on stories to air them, some may argue, so these situations are not typical.

I say to this: MAYBE.

I agree most beef farmers don’t mistreat their animals by hitting them, picking them up with machinery and dropping them or any number of tortures that may be revealed during the outbreak of this story.

I don’t agree that most beef farmers do not participate in some kind of abuse.

In this sense, I define abuse as “any unnatural method to produce meat that is not God’s way.”

God created cows as vegetarian animals. Why do or did farmers feed cows with fodder mixed with dead animal parts including cow remains, to encourage a more robust beef leading to mad cow disease?

God wants cows to give milk on their schedule. Is it natural to provide hormones and encourage higher birth rate in cows to keep the cow’s mammary glands working overtime? Is it natural to hook cows to machines for milking that destroys the udders and can cripple cows?

If these things were done to humans it would be considered inhumane? So, just because this treatment is inflicted upon animals, why can it not be considered inhumane?

Of course mass production and using these methods has resulted in a food industry that allows for lower food prices. Even poor people can afford meat produced in this way.

But what does this due to the human psyche? We are so divorced from our natural food cycle. What happened if right now we all had to hunt and gather all our own food? How many people would continue to eat meat? All the processing that goes into the piece you buy from the store would not exist- the meat eater would be in charge of every part of this process. I know there are people out there who do this- and to them kudos, knowing where your food comes from and how it is grown or raised (for the “lucky ones” who hunt in the wild).

But, for the rest of us who decide to buy that hamburger from our local fast food outlet or the rump roast from the local grocery store- more is blindly accepted than the mere taste of the food going inside the body. Eating this, some argue, places the eater in the process of the final outcome. Maybe the eater did not raise the cow or kill the cow or abuse that cow that the eater is eating, but the fact you are eating it, purchasing it and digesting it makes the eater partially responsible for what has happened in the process.

This is why I refuse to eat meat. This is why many who continue to eat meat are very careful about where they get their meat from. Many of us however do not have access to these choices out of economical or other reasons. For instance, much of the beef recalled lies in the cafeterias of schools attended by America’s children. Do they have a choice but to participate? How many of us really question this process? What can one person do? What can you do?

Related Posts/Articles:  Google News Search: “Beef Recall ‘February 18, 2008’”

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Is it time to turn the channel?


** I refused to link directly articles, photos or videos of this story because it is so disturbing to the senses.


Copyright ©2008 Jennifer Jayanthi Kumar


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