Animal Emotions

Do animals think and feel?

Chickens and Pigs: Incredible Cruelty Claimed To Be Humane

Scalding chickens alive and beating pigs to death are judged to be acceptable practices in the food industry. Can you imagine the pain suffered by chickens when 175 per minute are processed by a food inspector before being boiled and dismembered often when conscious, or by pigs being slammed into the ground and left to die? Many inspectors think this is just fine. Read More

I hate it when people say

I hate it when people say they wouldn't treat a dog like that. It implies that it is okay to treat a dog badly. Especially here when they are comparing it to cruelty to other animals as if dogs are even lowlier.

Canada is a major pork exporter

I appreciate this article, and hope people take your call for action to heart and contact the USDA and Puratone, etc.
Most of the pork raised in Canada is exported, not consumed locally. The largest importer of Canadian pork is, naturally, the USA:
http://www.cmc-cvc.com/english/industry_statistic_e.asp
As for food safety, I would encourage everyone to read Tim Pachirat's book, "Every 12 seconds". He went undercover (as a researcher, not activist) to document the workings of a slaughterhosue/meat packing plant. The inspection system is really a farce, a cat and mouse game that the inspectors know is completely ineffective in protecting human health. I don't know much about chicken slaughter, but the plant he worked in was "processing" cattle.
Does anyone know if a 'meat packing plant' is different than a slaughterhouse, or is it just a term made to make consumers more comfortable with their animal-consuming way of life?

euphemisms to soothe the conscience

It is most definitely the latter!

euphemisms to soothe the conscience

It is most definitely the latter!

Excellent article!

Great information and links. I am glad to see Psychology Today covering this issue. I signed both petitions as well. Keep up the great work.

The Efficient Predator Hypothesis

Your previous post, in the wake of the Newtown massacre, contended that intra-species violence is much rarer in nature than we are inclined to believe. But for the purposes of this discussion, the violence we need to discuss is inter-species; i.e., between predator and prey.

I recently found myself in an (online) argument with an individual who justified the deaths of billions of sentient creatures as simply the result of Darwinian evolution. According to his hypothesis, homo sapiens has evolved to become a highly efficient killer. He noted that predators in the wild are not troubled by considerations of sentimentality or ethics, and therefore believes that we - as just another predator - should be likewise exempted from any moral constraints cooked up by moralizing blowhards like me.

This, of course, is one of the carnivore's favorite responses when attacked (and they do so hate to be attacked). They ignore the massive quantitative and qualitative differences between the industrialized killing of, say, Tyson Foods, and the natural killing of a rabbit by a coyote. Nothing in nature, I would submit, even remotely approaches the scale and intentionality of factory farming. (And no natural predator kills for profit.)

Further, the argument from evolution ignores the possibility that we might evolve mentally to a point where we see our huge impact on the rest of the biosphere as highly problematic. As a thinking species, we have a special duty of care toward the rest of nature that sustains us (whether we find it useful or not). And since eating meat is not even necessary for our health and well-being, we should not even be comparing ourselves to obligate carnivores in the first place.

I would be interested to know, Dr. Bekoff, how you deal with this line of argument.

Thank you PT and Mr. Bekoff

Thank you PT and Mr. Bekoff for this vital information! Please continue to be a voice for the voiceless and spread the very ugly truth that these meat production companies would rather nobody hear. Thank you for also touching on the fact that the human toll is a high one as well, as these companies view their workers as machines/commodities just as they do the non-human animals. Anyone fed up and ready to begin the move to a cruelty-free diet, check out chooseveg.com :) Happy 2013, all!

Save the world GO VEGAN. Why

Save the world GO VEGAN. Why not!! theres so much to eat, why cause this terrible suffering, or rivers run with the blood of the tortured and murdered. Stop it now or its the end of the human specie.

Eat like a chimpanzee! Follow the 90/10 rule!

We are so much like our distant cousin, the Chimp. The Chimp's diet is primarily vegetarian with only 10% from animal foods. I'm not saying we should adopt the same diet as the chimp, that would be occasionally eating a lizard or another monkey but we could easily seldom include an animal product like an egg and not kill the chicken. We don't have to kill the animal nor mistreat the animal. By the way, no dog, cat or any animal, including pigs and/or chickens should ever treated bad. Our entire family has maintained excellent health and weight for the last 20 years on a vegetarian diet, anyone can do it and be the healthier for it.

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Marc Bekoff, Ph.D., is Professor Emeritus of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

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