Sunday, November 30, 2008

Preaching

Bizarro is brought to you today by Holidays of the Future.

Each year I am nauseated by the hypocritical practice of pardoning a turkey at Thanksgiving. As legend has it, Lincoln started this because his son had become attached to a turkey living on the White House grounds and didn't want to see it killed. Now modern-day presidents do it with a smirk on their face and a wink to the crowd.

The latest Palin debacle last week was among the most egregious "pardons" in recent memory. While she interviewed on camera afterward, a local yocal was slaughtering turkeys ten feet behind her. The media jumped on this as a foolish and insensitive thing to do, and it was, but who are we kidding? In spite of the pocketful of turkeys who are pardoned by various politicians each year, millions of turkeys meet their painful death for this day of "thanks" and season of "peace on earth."

I know that most Americans do not share my views on the rights of all animals to live a life free of unnatural molestation (a mouse dying at the hands of a cat is natural, billions of animals confined in cages and crates being butchered alive each year for the sake of human taste buds and profit is not) but why are we so careful to spare ourselves the sight of our actions? If you're going to eat these creatures, have the integrity to watch some videos of the process they endure and you subsidize. Then get to know one in an unstressed environment, like a sanctuary, and tell me you still feel entitled to torture them to death for a few moments of sensory pleasure. (Especially when there are delicious alternatives.) These animals are sensitive, affectionate, individual beings who know fear, pain, love, grief, comfort and terror. Just like you.

"It's natural. They aren't like us. That's what they're here for. It's tradition. It's always been this way. The economy depends on it."
Exactly what most white Americans would have said about slavery and African Americans 200 years ago. Tradition is no excuse for abuse.

Sorry for the rant, this season of hypocracy brings out the worst in me. I promise the next post will be about humor.

34 comments:

isee3dtoo said...

Well your preaching is working to some degree. I was eating a hamburger and starting thinking about where all the other parts ended up. Well that was a month ago and I haven't touched beef since.

On the subject of tofu though, why do they have to make Tofurky (i.e. make it taste like turkey) to get people to eat it? I have never understood the idea of meat flavored tofu. Don't the makers of Tofurky have to eat real turkey to get the flavor right? It is the same for mock crab, why would anyone want to eat it? (I really don't like carb to begin with but mock crab makes me cringe.)

ldisme said...

what a wacky world we live in, heh. never mind all the added chemicals to most meats, nitrates and nitrites anyone?
at least your cartoon mae me laugh, in a sighing sorta way.

nsatkinson said...

I'm in agreement with you here on everything but the "Tofurky." The stuff tastes like nothing so much as bologna, and the less said about the cat-food texture the better.

Deisy said...

I'm vegan and I agree with you completely.

Michelle said...

Bravo Dan! I could not agree with you more!
As for Tofurkey, it reminds me of the many conversations I have had with my neighbour who will go into a long description of some poor animal that he has recently grilled and tell me how delicious it was etc etc etc and then say "Oh, I forgot, you don't like meat."
Once again I assure him that when I did eat meat, I enjoyed the taste probably as much as he does, but I have made a conscious decision to not eat other creatures. That being said, I still enjoy the flavours associated with turkey - just not the death associated with it - and so I choose to celebrate festive occasions with a Tofurky!

Jeremy said...

I felt the same way, Dan, when I saw this story. As a meat eater I figured people would accept this as part of their lifestyle. I know I did to some degree when I ate meat.

They even went so far as to censor the turkey's corpse on some news programs. Yet, they don't censor a cooked turkey's corpse when shown on any channel. A dead body is a dead body.

A guy I sit next to at work used to work in a chicken slaughtering factory and felt compelled to describe the process to me when we were talking about this story. I listened intently, making faces here and there. Then I went to PETA.org and donated a little more money and read some articles to regain composure.

Mesiu said...

Jerking tradition, convenience and hypocrisy right back in society’s face. Everyone donate to Dan!

xen said...

Great read! I fully agree with you.

Alice (as in Wonderland) said...

Agree with you completely, Dan. The Palin interview was the most horrible thing I've seen in a while, and I hope everybody remembers that video should this wacko ever run for anything outside Alaska. Not only is she horribly cruel, but she has no flippin' common sense (she was warned about the backdrop!)

Anonymous said...

season of hypocrisy indeed: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-toysrus30-2008nov30,0,71300.story

isee3dtoo said...

Okay I know the physiological reasoning behind it however I throw out this question just to play Devil's advocate:

If human's are not designed to eat meat, then why do they crave meat flavored tofu like tofurky?

Jezzka said...

i find turkey to be quite bland, and pilgrims to be disgustingly un-stylish, seriously, hats with belt buckles...pifftt, get outta here.

i did spend the day away dancing in my underwear and listening to old records. i made some dumplings with jicama, corn and shitake mushrooms, what do you want from me? i am asian. our holidays are way cooler, they involve red envelopes filled with money and setting off explosives at people's doors to ward off demons; you can't beat that.

pretty much just thankful i was not in mumbai...R.I.P.

isee3dtoo said...

Asian holidays do sound better, but I didn't know they included the "dancing in my underwear" ritual.

Wandering Child said...

I'm a vegetarian and I agree %100. Thank you for this post.

Jezzka said...

oh, the dancing in my underwear is something i do every day, like breathing. in the summer, there is no underwear.

some days, when the moon shines low to the horizon, it can appear like i am standing completely still, but really i am dancing at speeds so fast your eyes, nor mind can capture the individual movements; i take dancing, like food, very seriously.

Jennie Panic said...

never appologize for your "preaching" more people need to hear it and there is nothing to be sorry for when it comes to wanting animals to be free!

Chris said...

Preach it, brother! I, too, had a meat free Thanksgiving that I enjoyed immensely. No need for a disgusting Tofurky, though -- there are always plenty of sides to fill my belly!

agony said...

I'm Canadian, and I'm a little baffled by the 'pardoning a turkey" thing. Has this really been going on all these years? This is the first I've ever heard of it. Usually we are kept pretty well aware of the customs of your tribe, one way or another - has this one been kept a secret?
If so, I have to say I'm not really surprised - I wouldn't have let it get out either....

Tanja said...

Yay for the rant! :)

Leigh said...

When I was a kid my best friend's family had a pet turkey. His name was "Turkey Lurkey". He was an extremely mean creature but was very good at hiding this fact from the adults. He would wait for us to come out and then would chase us. The adults assumed that we were teasing him and it took a long time for the adults to finally see what was really happening.

Needless to say, it was unacceptable to the adults for children to be chased and pecked by the turkey once they realized we were not teasing it so they killed the turkey. We were required to be witness to the death of Turkey Lurkey and then we ate him. I also learned about tendons via his claw a few days later.

I don't eat a lot of meat but when I do I make it a point to get it from good farmers (which is easy to do since Sonoma County is so close).

Cat Mom said...

I'm with you. Have been for decades.

I have always maintained that unless you personally can kill and dress your food, you have no business eating it. Buying something in a plastic-wrapped package and trying to pretend you don't know where it comes from and how much suffering it represents is not an act of integrity.

I was thinking about this earlier today, and remembering a conversation I had 10-15 years ago with some marketing person who asked me why I don't eat meat, She had a questionnaire to fill out. I told her it was for moral reasons. She asked if it was for religious reasons. I said no, there was no religion involved. I consider it morally wrong. I know I got put under "religious", because "moral" wasn't a choice on her questionnaire.

Why is it that people think that morals come from religion, anyway? Except for the absolute basics (thou shalt not kill...only other humans, apparently), religious morals are mostly fake morals.

P.S. I happen to really like Tofurkey, and I don't think it tastes like turkey, particularly.

Anonymous said...

Congrats, Dan. You've successfully attracted every nutty vegan on the web to your blog.

Julie said...

Wildly unfunny and forced comic, Piraro.

braynor said...

Following on your cat and mouse example, is it okay if I trap a wild turkey in a net and club it to death? or run deer/bison off a cliff or into a pit? Both are classical ways to get meat.

Rebecca C. Brown said...

"If humans are not designed to eat meat, then why do they crave meat flavored tofu like tofurky?"

On this blog you won't find many folks who think humans were "designed," but I know what you're getting at. :)

Most vegans understand that, pre-agriculture, humans ate meat here and there; according to the anthropological evidence I've read up on, humans at meat every few weeks or so, just like chimps and bonobos and gorillas do today. It's that daily meat eating that's so unnatural. And most of us object to the notion that we "need" meat. I've been a vegan for 11 years as of today, and I'm one of the more fit and healthy people I know.

Most vegans and vegetarians I know aren't nuts about meat substitute products. Some of us enjoy them every so often, while others of us avoid them like kids avoid soap. Having a bite of Tofurkey once or twice a year is a fun way to continue the meat-based traditions that a lot of us had as children. Plus it doesn't actually taste like turkey!

I crave dark chocolate all the time, but cocoa was unknown to my ancestors (white people) until about 500 years ago. I think cravings have very little to do with what we evolved to eat and more to do with what tastes delicious!

isee3dtoo said...

Rebecca:

I buy that. I was listening to a NPR report on science friday how smell is important and that smell, taste, and display takes up back to "comfort" foods. I think Thanksgiving is just one big comfort food event and so if Tofurky takes you back to some comforting event, more power to it.

However, I will never forget in grad school a friend asked me to pick up some Vegetarian Chicken Soup and that still doesn't make sense. Chicken broth means real chicken to me.

beforewisdom said...

I hear ya Dan.

Somebody posted the Sara Palin/Turkey newsclip on digg.com. Many, many people chastised Palin for being insensitive. When I made the fairly straight forward and common sense suggestion that the people who had a problem with what they saw might want to consider not eating turkey my comment was voted down so low it made Lame Duck President Bush's approval rating look good.

Judy said...

I'm a vegetarian and always wondered what "tofurky" tasted like - I think I'll pass.

Palins inane pardon in front of the abattoir truly shows her views of animals - she's too desensitized to give a damn.

I thought the comic would have been better if the trees around the "pardoned" tree were being cut down.

Tanja said...

"If human's are not designed to eat meat, then why do they crave meat flavored tofu like tofurky?"

isee3dtoo, it's just about choice. As you suggest, one explanation for why some people like plant-based foods that remind them of meat (and why should we need an explanation anyway?) could be that many of us are accustomed to the flavour of meat from our childhood, and those memories (like certain smells or revisiting places where we used to play as children) may have positive connotations because they are connected with holiday BBQs on the beach, family dinners, etc. (Some people might give you exactly the same reason for hating the flavour of meat.) You should also bear in mind, however, that people who eat animals rarely get any kind of "pure" flavour of meat (how often do you eat raw flesh cut fresh from the backside of a pig?). Flesh is usually dressed up in herbs and spices, and it is that flavour that people like. Children like to drown it in ketchup (I used to, anyway). Either way, it doesn't matter. What matters is whether someone suffers as a result of our choices. Personally, I don't particularly seek out fake meats, but if they're available, and they're definitely vegan, I'll eat them. Why not? Who cares what else (or who else, as it were) they taste like?

(The flesh of pigs is supposed to taste like human meat... so following your - devil's advocate - argument, if humans are not designed to eat each other (or are they?), then why do some people crave the flesh of animals who taste (apparently) like humans? Does that make it ok to factory farm or trap a handful of your neighbours and eat them? - The question is, of course, rhetorical, before someone gets all overexcited about it. It just shows that the argument is really quite meaningless.)

I like your description of your conscience sneaking up on you and your growing awareness when you eat a hamburger. Don't worry, it will get worse, haha. And in view of that, you will be relieved to hear that there is absolutely no requirement to eat or like tofurkey or mock crab.

Anonymous said...

As I recall, some of the past president pardoned turkeys didn't last long at their new home (a petting zoo comes to mind).

Anonymous said...

I see that you have found your place in the new administration-elect; you have traded your cartoonist position for cheap-shot artist!
The party you are pushing is comprised of traitors to this country and deserve the worst that can be conceived.

llewis5411@rogers.com said...

I don't think that it is necessary to watch animals be slaughtered in order to what? Feel guilty about being an omnivore? I drive a car made out of steel that runs on gasoline. Do I need to visit a steel mill or oil refinery in order to drive? Or look at what happens to people who work in such places for any length of time? They usually have signs posted at the plant gates "Safety is number one! Over ten minutes without an employee death or dismemberment" Cheers!

jmarcv said...

http://www.amazon.com/Hey-Pete-Lets-More-Meat/dp/B001HF84RI/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=dmusic&qid=1228448904&sr=8-1

jmarcv said...

>I have always maintained that unless you personally can kill and dress your food, you have no business eating it.

Agree, for me anyway, catmom. That was my take 30 years ago when I decided that despite the fact that my metabolism did not do well with vegetarianism (yes I mixed my proteins... sheesh!) I would have to be if I could not see the consequences of my decision. I would not have hired assasins masking my sins. Because of this, I'll bet I waste less of anything than a vegan would. Just because we dont have the auditory equipment to hear a carrot screaming in pain as we eat it while it is still alive is justification for such disdain on eating anything else on the planet. What does intelligence have to do with it? Are carrots dumb?

llewis5411@rogers.com, steel is not edible, and it doesnt scream when you drive it. Whats your point?

And which of you vegans will buy the land and feed the animals not eaten? Probably neuter them. Thats real fun. Humane and natural too.

My farmer drives the cows in the trucks to new pastures full of delectable grasses. They get so used to them that when the jig is up, they quietly go to the slaughterhouse, and have absolutely no stress up to the last. Hell, thats they way I would like to go!

But let a bull live for 20 years with no sex... and let them stare their old age in the face like we humans do... thats what you vegans call humane? LOL!!!!!

But that doesnt mean I dont agree with Dan in this case.