Posts Tagged ‘factory farming’

“Changing nature to get the food we eat”: Karen Davis on the Speciesist Indoctrination of Children

Saturday, January 1st, 2011 by

2011-01-01 - 3-2-1 Contact Mags - 0010

A pile of 3-2-1 Contact magazines that I found in my filled-to-overflowing library.
Have a problem, who me?
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In Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An inside look at the modern poultry industry (1996; revised 2009) animal advocate Karen Davis offers an exhaustive and heart-wrenching examination of the “poultry” industry, which is responsible for the exploitation and slaughter of an astounding 10 billion chickens annually (in the U.S. alone; worldwide, 40 billion chickens are raised and killed for their meat and eggs ever year). During her journey from the wild to the farm – and from conception to death – Davis touches upon some of the social and psychological mechanisms that pave the way for these atrocities.

Humans are taught from an early age that the earth’s resources – including other sentient beings – were “put here for our use.” We create a false divide between “us” and “them” by denying our own animal nature: there are “humans” and there are “animals.” We deny our similarities – the ability to feel pain, experience emotions such as love and joy (and sadness and fear), form and nurture fulfilling relationships – while simultaneously looking to our relatively minor but wonderfully diverse differences as an excuse to objectify, enslave and exploit the “other.” Nonhuman animals are largely considered property – “its” – more akin to a tree or tomato plant than a human being. Simply put, we exist in a supremely speciesist and anthropocentric culture – and we indoctrinate each successive generation into accepting this skewed and oppressive worldview.

Pop culture, including books, television, and movies, are central to this indoctrination. For example, Davis singles out two children’s shows for criticism – both of which were staples in my own childhood: Reading Rainbow (1983-2005?) and 3-2-1 Contact (1980–1992) – to demonstrate this process:

Chick hatching projects teach children and teachers that bringing a life into the world is not a grave responsibility with ultimate consequences for the life created. Children’s public television has contributed to this desensitization and to the fallacy that chickens have no natural origin or need for a family life. The Reading Rainbow public television program “Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones,” based on a book by Ruth Heller, shows that other kinds of animals besides chickens lay eggs. However, chickens are the only ones represented in barren surroundings. One heartless scene shows a baby chick struggling out of its egg alone on a bare table, while ugly, insensitive music blares, “I’m breaking out.”

The 3-2-1 Contact show “Pignews: Chickens and Pigs” has aired frequently on children’s public television. Promoting the agribusiness theme of “changing nature to get the food we eat,” it shows hatchery footage of newborn chicks being hurled down stainless steel conveyors, tumbling in revolving sexing carousels, flung down dark holes, and brutally handled by chicken sexers who grab them, toss them, and hold them by one wing while asserting that none of this hurts them at all. These scenes alternate with rapid sequence images of mass-produced fruits and vegetables. Children are brightly told that “farmers are changing how we grow 100 million baby chicks a week, 3 million pounds of tomatoes, 36 billion pounds of potatoes.” Chickens are described against a background of upbeat music as a “monocrop” suited to the “conveyor belt and assembly line, as in a factory.”

Is it any wonder that many people regard chickens as some sort of weird chimerical concoction comprising a vegetable and a machine? (p. 21)

[A full discussion of Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs is well beyond the scope of this blog, but you can read a rather lengthy review I published on V for Vegan.

If the psychology of animal exploitation is a topic that piques your interest, check out Melanie Joy’s Why We Love Dogs, Eat Pigs, and Wear Cows: An Introduction to Carnism (2009), which I reviewed here.

Finally, parents in search of animal-friendly entertainment to enjoy with their children will find a friend in VegBooks.]

link love, 2010-04-17

Saturday, April 17th, 2010 by
  • Add your voice to Biz Markie’s Earth Day remix of “Just a Friend”!

    In honor of Earth Day, Biz Markie and the Climate Protection Action Fund want you to rap (or lip sync) along to a “clean energy” version of his ’80s classic “Just a Friend.” Repower America will provide the lyrics and instructions; you just need a web cam and an internet connection. Here are the details:

    What do Earth Day, YouTube’s home page and a rap classic have in common?

    You.

    On April 22, we’ll be releasing a remix of the top-ten-hit song “Just a Friend” performed by Biz Markie and Repower America supporters from across the country. It’s going to be featured all day on YouTube’s home page — and you can be part of the fun!

    You don’t need a perfect singing voice to get involved — and for that matter, you don’t even need to know the song. In fact, the chorus to Biz Markie’s song is famous for being beautifully off-key. If you’re still not convinced that you’re ready to bust out rapping on tape, just lip-sync or dance in your video. (Or get your kids to.) The only thing that matters is that you participate — in whatever way works for you.

    We’ve got everything else you need to sing along — lyrics, music and a video showing you how to record your own version.

    Check it out and add your voice to the Biz Markie Earth Day remix right now: http://cpaf.RepowerAmerica.org/Remix

    Naturally, the “eco-friendly” lyrics ignore the role of meat, egg and dairy production in climate change – which is well in keeping with environmental organizations’ unwillingness to address human privilege and its many attendant ills. That said, perhaps some of you more creative types can work a reference or two to veganism into your own video? If you’re interested, you have to move fast – the deadline for submissions is midnight tomorrow night, April 18th. Eastern time, I presume?

  • In an upcoming episode, the long-running NBC procedural crime drama Law & Order: SVU will feature an animal rights plotline:

    After a young woman is sexually assaulted and murdered, Detectives Olivia Benson (Mariska Hargitay) and Eliot Stabler (Chris Meloni) track down the woman’s boyfriend – their first suspect – but learn that he is a devout vegan who wouldn’t hurt a fly. They soon find that the victim had been deeply involved in the fight to expose questionable practices in the meat-packing industry, even going undercover at a large company to find out the truth. Benson goes undercover herself to retrace the woman’s footsteps and to identify who the victim might have angered along the way.

    “Beef” will air this Wednesday, April 21, on NBC at 10PM EDT.

    (Many thanks to Vegan Burnout and POP! guest-blogger Shannon for the heads-up!)

  • (More…)

    UPC: Fowl Play Screening & Presentation by Karen Davis in NYC 5/15

    Sunday, March 28th, 2010 by

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    From: United Poultry Concerns
    Date: Fri, Mar 26, 2010 at 1:42 PM
    Subject: [UPC] Fowl Play Screening and UPC Presentation in New York City May 15

    Fowl Play Screening and UPC Presentation in New York City May 15
    Join United Poultry Concerns & Mercy For Animals at the Columbus Library!

    Promotional artwork for the movie FOWL PLAY.

    United Poultry Concerns and Mercy For Animals invite you to attend a screening of MFA’s award winning film Fowl Play and a presentation by UPC president Karen Davis in honor of International Respect for Chickens Month/May.

    Hosted by the Columbus Library on Saturday, May 15 from 11:30am to 2:00pm – the day preceding the Third Annual Veggie Pride Parade in NYC – this event will be followed by leafleting for chickens!

    Fowl Play Screening and Chicken Presentation will be held at:

    Columbus Library
    742 10th Ave (between 50th & 51st Streets)
    New York, NY 10019-7019
    (212) 586-5098

    Saturday, May 15, 2010

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    (mini) link love, 2010-03-14

    Sunday, March 14th, 2010 by
  • This Thursday, March 18 and Friday, March 19, tune into Planet Green to watch Coal Country – then enter to win a copy of Plundering Appalachia from Earthjustice! Contest rules and details here.
  • Thursday, April 22 marks the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. In honor of the occasion, the No Impact Project is helping citizens host screenings of No Impact Man throughout the country (world?).

    Here are the details, via New American Dream:

    It’s the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Let’s do something about it! Turn off your TV. Stop shopping. Eat a carrot. Get on a bike. Put a moratorium on litter. And join our friends the No Impact Project, Slow Food USA and 1Sky for an action-oriented screening of No Impact Man. During the week of Earth Day 2010, you are invited to bring your community together to watch, discuss and act. The theme of this event is the impact of food production on climate change and what your community can do to take action. Check out the No Impact Man trailer and contact Lindsay to learn how you can become a host. To find a screening in your neighborhood, click here.

    Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to attend (or host!) a local screening, boxes of vegan baked goods and vegan starter kits in tow!

  • Saturday, April 24, Vancouver-based animal advocacy group Liberation BC will be screening Meat the Truth; doors open at 3:30 PM. For additional details, see their latest newsletter or events page – or shoot ’em an email at info [at] liberationbc.org.
  • Did I miss something? Promote your local event, tell us all about your favorite new release, and share other animal-friendly pop culture goodies in the comments!

    Farm Sanctuary: Hit Fox Show Bones to Spotlight Farm Sanctuary Footage

    Thursday, November 5th, 2009 by

    Crossposted from V for Vegan.

    I just spotted this notice from Farm Sanctuary in my inbox and thought I’d share. Tune in to Fox tonight at 8PM Eastern time, where the “darkly comic procedural drama”* Bones will feature undercover factory farm footage secured by Farm Sanctuary and specially requested by the show’s star – fellow vegan Emily Deschanel.

    Alas, I won’t be watching. Though I adore Bones, I’m somewhat of a newbie fan, and am only halfway through Season 4 on DVD. Tonight’s episode will languish on my DVR until the Mr. and I catch up. So no spoilers, mkay?

    ———- Forwarded message ———-
    Date: Thu, Nov 5, 2009 at 4:04 PM
    Subject: TONIGHT: Hit Fox Show “Bones” to Spotlight Farm Sanctuary Factory Farming Footage

    Kelly,

    Very exciting news! Tonight’s episode (8pm/7 Central) of the hit FOX show “Bones” will be spotlighting Farm Sanctuary footage of cruel factory farming practices. Please see below for full details. Make sure to tune in and please spread the word!

    All the best,

    Meredith

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

    Farm Sanctuary Footage of Cruel Factory Farming Practices Spotlighted on Hit FOX TV Show “Bones”

    NEW YORK, NY – November 5, 2009 – Tonight’s episode of the hit FOX television show “Bones” (airing at 8pm/7 Central), starring vegan actress and Farm Sanctuary supporter Emily Deschanel, will prominently feature factory farming footage secured by Farm Sanctuary, the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization, as part of a plot-line surrounding a murder that takes place at a chicken farm.

    The footage, which was requested by Deschanel, will educate thousands of mainstream viewers about the cruel conditions animals are forced to endure on factory farms. The episode also features a character who rescues a pig and asks her coworkers for donations so that she can sponsor her at a sanctuary.

    To further raise awareness of the horrors of factory farming, FOX is featuring a special message from Deschanel on their website (http://fox.com/bones/) urging people to support Farm Sanctuary by sponsoring an animal in need.

    To learn more about “adopting” one of Farm Sanctuary’s rescued animals, please visit farmsanctuary.org.

    (More…)

    The horrors of modern fetus farms.

    Wednesday, March 18th, 2009 by

    Crossposted from V for Vegan.

    The (d)evolution of animal agriculture sounds so much more insidious (and comical, natch!) when applied to human vs. non-human animals!

    (Cue fetus frenzy at 1:10.)
     

     
    If only they could grow in vitro embryos. Oh, wait.

    Videos in this post

    March 16, 2009 – Stem Sell
    John Oliver does his best Bush impression to prove science is undermining America.

    Paul McCartney & The Chicken Council duke it out on The Colbert Report!

    Sunday, February 1st, 2009 by

    Crossposted from V for Vegan.

    OK, well, not really. Paul McCartney appeared on Wednesday’s episode, the same episode wherein Stephen “broke” the “buffalo wing” shortage crisis story. But Stephen didn’t interview the obligatory white dude from the National Chicken Council until the next night, so he and McCartney never met. I doubt McCartney was even privy to the Superbowl/”buffalo wing” story, since his interview was pre-recorded. Still, catchy title, dontchathink?

    Plus, vegetarianism did come up during McCartney’s interview. Check it:
     

     
    Now for the “buffalo wing” shortage, which spanned two segments. The Richard Lobb interview is by far the more interesting of the two clips, so if you watch only one video, make it the second one below.
     
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    Silken Tofu for Nader!

    Saturday, November 8th, 2008 by

    Crossposted from V for Vegan.

    Stephen Colbert weighs in on the passage of California’s Proposition 2 on Wednesday’s post-election ThreatDown:

    Appropriately, “Food Rights” is Threat #2, about three minutes in.

    Videos in this post

    The Colbert Report, Wednesday, November 5, 2008
    ThreatDown – Black Presidents
    American voters must not watch TV, or they would know that every time a black man is president something terrible happens. (04:44)