Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Heat and Animals: The Big Double Standard

Nowhere is the double standard about our treatment of animals more clear than when we're experiencing a heatwave, as we are right now. Newspapers, TV channels and the Internet perform an invaluable service by warning people - over and over again - about the dangers of locking pets in cars.

Sadly, despite these warnings, pets - especially dogs - keep perishing in the blistering heat from being locked inside of cars in the daytime sun.

But where is this public concern about animals that omnivores consume as food? Where is the concern for pigs and chickens, cows and other animals whose lives are cut short for the human dinner table?

Answer: It's not there. Well, maybe I shouldn't say it's nonexistent. After all, true animal rights advocates and vegans (typically, one and the same) point out that animals being transported to their mass-murder destinations are often traveling in sweltering heat, experiencing unthinkable misery in the final moments of their lives.

If you dare, watch this video (posted above) of pigs being delivered on an extremely hot day (July 12, 2011) to Quality Meat Packers in Toronto.

Here is the scenario, as explained by TorontoPigSave on Rabble.ca:

On Tuesday, July 12, 2011 at about 2pm, a local resident -- Teresa -- witnessed pigs that were very hot, dehydrated and wounded, including several pigs with bloody snouts in one transport truck. She was shocked to see about 10 transport trucks waiting in line in the hot sun to be unloaded at Toronto's Quality Meat Packers, including three trucks waiting on Wellington Street West. Distressed by what she witnessed, she ran into the plant and asked to speak to the manager. She demanded that they address the crisis. She was asked to leave.

Teresa texted her friends and various NGOs and through social media Toronto Pig Save was informed at about 4 p.m. We immediately visited the site.

The footage in this video is of one transport truck waiting in line at about 4 p.m.; most of the trucks had left the site already. The pigs are clearly in distress -- extremely hot, dehydrated, overcrowded, and many with wounds, including one with an open eye wound. The pigs are very vocal communicating to each other and perhaps to us as well, crying for help.

The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) has set up a media alert and aform letter you can send to your MP, but please personalize the letter and refer to this case of July 12 and this video.

Video footage: Anita Krajnc, Photo stills: Teresa Ascencao, Toronto Pig Save

How can any thinking, feeling human being watch this video and not feel a deep sense of shame in the human race? How is that we have reached a point where compassionate values have become so shrivelled up as to be nonexistent? How can any man or woman or child, young or old, look into the eyes of the pigs in the video above and not feel a sense of despair so profound, so heart-wrenching, that it is almost completely overwhelming?

The scenes you see in the video, of pigs crammed into trucks in the deadly heat, squealing with discomfort and pain and disorientation, should haunt every human being until his or her dying day. Imagine being inside of a piping hot, cramped space, no room to move, noses pressed so hard against the transport truck walls that blood is coming out. And all of this right before an army of human beings - probably most of them being paid just barely enough to survive themselves - swarm down on you, and herd you into a final dark place before your life ends?

When I was young, I liked to believe that goodness would triumph. Truth would out. Compassion would sweep into the hearts of people, like an unstoppable tidal wave. And justice would prevail in all corners.

Then I witness scenes like the one above, so painful as to break the heart. How can a race that pays a select few individuals low wages to do the sorts of things that we see in this video to sentient beings - and then collectively looks the other way at the suffering - possibly redeem itself?

1 comment:

  1. I don't know, in answer to your question about the path to redemption. Maybe you were being rhetorical but even so...if I consider that the strength of reaction is roughly equivalent to the triggering action's strength...then I question whether our species will survive the reaction to our collective destructiveness...when it arrives.

    I would suspect that more lives have been wiped out by our species than by any other species in the history of the planet...and most of those murders and exterminations have occured in the past 100 years (due to our population numbers and technological "advances"). We live in a tide of blood, misery and death that we are the perpetrators of.

    It is the case that human animals have in them the capacity for great good and life-enhancing behaviors. That capacity, tragically, is coupled with the concomitant ability for profound destruction and callousness. On the basis of culturally condoned and supported behaviors, we are woefully lacking in exhibitions of the former and horrifically prolific at exhibiting the latter.

    If I were in charge of a planet and the life thereon, I don't know if I would want human animals on my planet. Is a Mozart or Leonardo or Beethoven worth a holocaust? Is a Freud or Darwin or Einstein worth slaughterhouses and dairy?

    Age brings the opportunity to have experiences...my experiences and observations are decidedly painful and bleak regarding any weighing and/or judging of the behavior of human animals.