A few weeks ago, an interesting writing contest popped up in The New York Times, asking the seemingly simple question: “Is it ethical to eat meat?” My friend Steven Armstrong brought it to my attention, but I have to admit, I wasn’t sure why. (I’m still not, actually, but that’s beside the point.) You see, I became an ardent vegetarian close to two years ago after reading the ever-so-brilliant-and-not-at-all-preachy Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, who also doubles as one of this contest’s judges, to boot!
So what would a chompy old herbivore like myself have to add to a topic such as this? Why did he send me the link? Heh, somebody should totally write a satire. Hey, I should totally write a satire! And off I went, undoubtedly pushing a more pressing project aside for a few hours to craft my cunning snark.
Fast forward a few weeks, and the scaredy-cats posted their list of finalists, containing a few safe entries instead about “reformed vegetarians” and the like. Read them at your own risk, but please not while operating heavy machinery as they may induce drowsiness.
Hating the thought of my <600 word satire masterpiece dying unseen… my Jonathan Swift moment being completely wasted, I thought I’d post it here for my nine friends and faithful readers to enjoy. Heck, maybe I’ll submit it as a Letter to the Editor via Twitter to give it another shot at the printed life it deserved. Hmmm, I should totally do that. Cool, I just did.
Care to help a brother out and RT me? It’s worth a(nother) shot…
— Randy Clemens (@RandyClemensEsq) May 1, 2012
On the ethics of eating meat: a call to action
Perhaps I’ve been living under a rock my whole life, but this writing contest? You mean to tell me there are actually people who think that eating meat isn’t ethical? Really? Not only is it ethical, it’s American and manly! Like me. But beneath my macho exterior, there’s a guy who cares for animals deeply. So much so, that I believe not eating meat is terribly unethical. Wait…what? You might be scratching your head: “How does one love animals and feel a need to kill them?” Allow me to explain.
You see, we’re being bombarded with countless undercover hippie documentaries, often showing poor, de-beaked and wounded chickens jammed together in never-ending rows of tiny battery cages. Others focus on cows that have been packed into disease-ridden feedlots, wallowing through piles of their own feces for their entire lives. Others show pigs that have had their tails cut off (standard practice, without anesthesia no less) that are kept in restrictive crates that prevent them from even being able to turn around. It’s wildly depressing to consider, and frankly, something has to be done.
Fellow carnivores, our time has come! The truth has become clear, and we must acknowledge one simple fact: the less meat we consume, the longer these mistreated creatures have to suffer. Armed with this basic yet powerful message, it is my hope that we can help severely limit farm animal abuse. But we must band together! Luckily, my organization—Meateaters Unanimously Rejoice: Death Equals Righteousness (M.U.R.D.E.R.)—is currently welcoming new members who want to increase their compassionate killing quota to help make this world a more peaceful place.
I need your pledge to help spread M.U.R.D.E.R.’s message far and wide. We need to call on Smithfield, Tyson, and other monolith meat producers to help sponsor our new, powerful commercial we’ve created that shows the deplorable conditions in their own factories, set against a heart-wrenching backdrop of Sarah McLachlan music designed to maximize dramatic effect. And just as the shot of a downer cow being forced around by a forklift comes on, a calm, but concerned voice-over breaks in to reassure disturbed viewers: “Eating more meat is the only way to liberate these poor unfortunate souls from their man-made prisons…”
But beyond advocating for increased meat consumption, we must also focus our efforts on discrediting those few rogue nutjobs who are actually making arguments to promote eating less meat. Jonathan Safran Foer? Vegeterrorist. Mark Bittman? Meh. No one even reads the Times. Michael Pollan, that self-righteous eat-food-not-too-much-mostly-
We can no longer ignore the pain these animals endure. We must push for legislative change requiring bacon on every burger and sliced chicken breast on every salad. Start petitions, harness social media, splurge for the full rack of ribs next time you dine out. Whatever steps you can take will truly make a difference for these tortured creatures. After all, they’re not going to kill themselves. But YOU can help! Be an accessory to M.U.R.D.E.R.! Kill them not just because it’s the ethical thing to do, but because it’s our moral obligation. We might not be able to stop all the suffering, but we are changing the world… one meat lover’s pizza at a time.
P.S. I’m aware that this post is flanked by links to my books, which contain plenty of carnivorous recipes. Previous life… I’m all veg now.