Posts Tagged ‘animal rights

27
Jul
09

Indian Part Two: Hypocrisy?

In my article Indian, I talked about some of man’s cruelty to animals that perhaps most of us are not even aware of. One of the examples I used was the farmed chicken (another was about the tethering or chaining of dogs):

The farmed chicken is one of the most unfortunate creatures on the planet. Imagine being born and raised all of your 45-day life in cramped captivity, fed and injected with chemicals to artificially speed up growth, not once being able to experience sex, and enduring rough transport in a steel cage with little or no protection from the hot sun, wing-to-wing with your brothers and sisters who are just as thirsty and stressed as you, to the slaughterhouse where they cut your throat and let you bleed to death. They don’t even shock you into unconsciousness first.

Ironically, the fighting cock is infinitely luckier. Well fed, well cared for, petted and sheltered, they are not made to fight until they are about a year old. If they die in a fight they often die quickly and painlessly through a blade to the heart, and the last moments of their lives are pure adrenaline. And if they never lose after so many fights, they will retire as studs, chasing and mating with the hens all around.

Although not as lucky as the fighting cock, the native chicken still enjoys better treatment than its farmed cousins. Even though their throats will still be cut to make them bleed to death, at least they get to enjoy life running around and chasing the hens. And when they die, they die being hunted for food like a wild animal, as how Nature intended all animals should die. (from Indian)

Then I had a little predicament. Presently I am trying to raise catfish (hito) in drums, with as many as two hundred per barrel. At first I felt some guilt and even judged myself to be a hypocrite because I was advocating animal rights but violating them at the same time. But then after some pondering, I figured that perhaps the chicken and the catfish are very much different when it comes to being raised in an overcrowded environment.

First, I think chickens are way smarter than catfish because they have social structures and protective instincts towards their young. The catfish’s only social structure, on the other hand, is simply that no catfish smaller than the biggest catfish’s mouth can keep on swimming for long.

Second, I do not inject my catfish with chemicals to speed up their growth. Imagine a 45-day­ old chicken (it’s still a chick actually), with a chick’s bones and internal structure, forced to carry almost one kilogram of its own weight. To us humans, it would be like a child with the body size and weight of an adult, trying to stand up and walk.

Lastly, while the farmed chicken is raised in a hot environment, I always keep my catfish cool by controlling the ambient factors to make their lives as comfortable and happy (catfish-happy) as possible. So when the time comes that someone eventually eats them, at least they lived a life as good as any catfish could hope for.

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14
Jun
09

Indian

(First published in February 2009)

It’s almost three in the afternoon and I am alone in my room. Curtains drawn against the sun and the air conditioner set on high, I am comfortably sitting on my high-back chair and contemplating the blessings of our time.

For one, we can now turn dark into light, light into dark, warm into cold, cold into warm, day into night, night into day. Our ancestors, on the other hand, had to set their schedules to the rising and setting of the sun. But we, we can sleep all day after partying all night. I wonder if our ancestors partied at all.

And many wonder how just over a decade ago we managed without cellphones. Well all I can say is, before cellphones, when we were set to meet someone we would go to the agreed place on time. And a person who stood you up was called “Indian” (I wonder about the origin of this usage of that word). But in this age of mobile communications, we never hear that word anymore in that particular context because we can now text that we are going to be late or request to move the meeting to another date. Oh how civilized we had become.

And more humane. I’ve seen movies and read books about the Dark Ages when kings and knights take other people’s property, liberty, and even lives at will. But now, even our prisoners have rights. Even the animals have rights, at least in developed countries.

Ah, animals. Thomas Paine wrote, “The measure of a man is how he treats animals.” With our intelligence and technology, animals are at our mercy. And yet how mercilessly we treat them. For those who think that our society is not guilty of animal cruelty, let me tell you about the chicken, part of which I’ve learned from an episode of Boston Legal.

The farmed chicken is one of the most unfortunate creatures on the planet. Imagine being born and raised all of your 45-day life in cramped captivity, fed and injected with chemicals to artificially speed up growth, not once being able to experience sex, and enduring rough transport in a steel cage with little or no protection from the hot sun, wing-to-wing with your brothers and sisters who are just as thirsty and stressed as you, to the slaughterhouse where they cut your thoat and let you bleed to death. They don’t even shock you into unconsciousness first.

Ironically, the fighting cock is infinitely luckier. Well fed, well cared for, petted and sheltered, they are not made to fight until they are about a year old. If they die in a fight they often die quickly and painlessly through a blade to the heart, and the last moments of their lives are pure adrenaline. And if they never lose after so many fights, they will retire as studs, chasing and mating with the hens all around.

Although not as lucky as the fighting cock, the native chicken still enjoys better treatment than its farmed cousins. Even though their throats will still be cut to make them bleed to death, at least they get to enjoy life running around and chasing the hens. And when they die, they die being hunted for food like a wild animal, as how Nature intended all animals should die.

I remember this book, When Bad Things Happen To Good People. The author, a Jewish Rabbi, said that although all animals have a sense of death during deadly situations, like when a gazelle runs for its life from a chasing cheetah, only man lives in the valley of the shadow of death, meaning being consciously aware of one’s own mortality even when one is in a perfectly safe situation. But if I were a farmed chicken, I would gladly welcome the awareness of an impending death that would free me from this cage.

Now man’s cruelty does not limit itself to the farmed chicken. Contrary to many people’s good intentions, the dog, man’s best friend, is often a victim of cruelty. And I am not talking about deliberate beating and other forms of abuse. I am talking about tethering, or the chaining of dogs.

I have read from an a Humane Society website that dogs “are naturally social beings who thrive on interaction with human beings and other animals.” Chaining them causes immense psychological damage that results in aggressive and territorial behavior. Dogs also have a highly-developed sense of smell, and an unfettered dog would never urinate or defecate where it eats and sleeps. But the chained dog has no choice. Imagine having to eat and sleep on the same area where you urinate and defecate – and having a highly-developed sense of smell at that.

Ah, man’s humanity. Although we still have a long way to go, I am proud to say that we had already come a long, long way from the Dark Ages, and now we oftentimes treat animals better than we used to treat our fellow men. innerminds inner minds




Attempts at uncovering the underlying simplicity beneath apparently complex concepts as well as the core complexity within seemingly straightforward issues

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