The most appalling PETA commerical not made by PETA

I had never heard of “halal” before today and rather wish I hadn’t. In a nutshell, Islamic dietary law (why is there inevitably an aspect of ancient and mindless superstition accompanying every contemporary example of persistent barbarism?) dictates that animals must be slaughtered in a certain way in order to render their remains fit for consumption. Under halal, this means cutting the front of the throat, severing the windpipe and vasculature but leaving the spinal cord intact so that the animal bleeds out while alive and conscious, supposedly resulting in “purer” meat.

Obviously this is as painless and humane as a nearly instantaneous death per electrocution. Actually it’s not — I’m just seeing if you’re awake. If you are able to get more than a third of the way, you have a lot more resolve than I do.

I suppose the natural question morphs into a number of interrelated slippery-slope considerations: if it’s not OK to cruelly kill other animals for food when we don’t need to, why is it OK to kill them at all? And if cows and sheep are partially or entirely off-limits, why is it OK to eat chicken, fish, oysters, or even ants?

All I know is that I am already not much of a red-meat fan and think this marks a good time for me to strongly consider limiting myself to foods gained from the wholesale slaughter of things that grow on trees or vines or in the ground. I get plenty of protein from egg whites and skim milk and don’t enjoy meat enough to justify the thoughts that have often crossed my mind and are now assured of doing every time I dip a fork in the direction of anything that once bled. I don’t know how the people in that video can do their jobs.

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  1. #1 by Warren on February 23, 2011 - 12:59 pm

    Ah, the rules of halal. The extremely nasty cynic in me wants to comment about how Islam kills its food in the same way it kills unbelievers, and note how many people are outraged at the slaughter of a cow but want to temporize on how to deal with religious radical fuckwits.

    I’m not actually that cynical, since I realize that brutality is a universal coin we all trade in. So is disinterest. It’s the combination of the two that turns out to be so savagely lethal.

    My sense is that the cow-slaughter video was actually initially distributed by people who have a clear agenda to turn public opinion against Islam. Interesting that it derailed here in favor of semi-vegetarianism.

  2. #2 by hopper3011 on February 25, 2011 - 12:26 pm

    “I get plenty of protein from egg whites and skim milk and don’t enjoy meat enough to justify the thoughts that have often crossed my mind and are now assured of doing every time I dip a fork in the direction of anything that once bled.”

    Have you ever watched a cow (or a chicken, for that matter)slaughtered in the “normal” way? It’s no more attractive than what you’re seeing on that video. People who talk about painless slaughter simply haven’t a clue.

    As for getting your protein from eggs and milk, check out a battery farm some time, or a dairy. Even organic and free range eggs and milk have an element of animal abuse, in as much as they still treat animals as commodities, rather than living beings.

    “I don’t know how the people in that video can do their jobs.”

    Neither do I, but as a meat eater I’m glad they do so I don’t have to. If you want to see true callousness, watch some video of the sorting rooms on a chick hatchery – makes what the guys in your video are doing seem like light entertainment.

  3. #3 by kemibe on February 25, 2011 - 8:17 pm

    hopper — I realize that this is all a matter of degree and that I’m merely choosing a cut-off point that suits my personal sensibilities. The video has made me think a little more about *all* kinds of systematic animal killing for food, not just this kind. But if “Fast Food Nation” wasn’t enough to keep me from the very occasional trip to Mickey D’s, I’m skeptical of my own resolve here.

  4. #4 by Barlow on March 14, 2011 - 3:44 pm

    I watched the whole video. It would be a tough job to work there and I wouldn’t want to work there. I am speciesist. I don’t have a problem eating meat or using leather or whatever. I would like the cows to have a good life and to die as painlessly as possible and for its parts to be valued and used.

    While in college, I had to read a book by Roderick Nash. Nash proposed that over time ethics change and evolve and the circle of whom is givin rights expands. At first people only gave rights to themselves and their family. Then rights moved to their tribe and then to the region.. Then to the nation. Then to all races and then all humans. Then it will include animals (endangered species act is an example). I think he argued we are just on the tip of this one. After that it would go to plants then to all life and then to rocks and then finally to the universe. I don’t think we will go much beyond where we are now.

    Peter Singer gets into a lot of this stuff too when he talks about abortion and other stuff that relates to Harty in the other blog post. Singer’s utilitarian ideas make him believe that if someone doesn’t have any family or anyone else that would care if he/she dies and the person is in a coma and incapable of feeling pain, that person’s life is worth less than a pet pig that is loved by a big family. Since more people will feel pain from the pig’s death plus the pig feeling pain, the pig’s life has more value.

    Singer uses the same argument with a new born baby that the family does not want.

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