Friday, January 14, 2011

"Ethically Obligated" to protest "burying animals alive"

I've whined about Erik Marcus, of "Vegan Dot Com" before, you'd think I'd gotten it all out of my system, but no, my Outrage Gland's up and running again, damn you socialised healthcare system, I thought we took care of it!

I dont think its a good image for Vegans if we appear to "fight" with each other over issues constantly.  I've decided to *try* not to mention what other "V*GN activists" do in future.

But this is *crazy*

"Four Million Animals and Counting Buried Alive in South Korea"

When a disease outbreak strikes animal agribusiness, here is South Korea’s method for dealing with the problem: they dig an enormous hole, dump live animals into it by the thousands, and use excavators to push the dirt back over it. Over the past two months, to combat a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak, the country has killed more than a million pigs in this way.

Additionally, South Korea also ordered the killing of just over 100,000 cattle. As it set about killing all these cattle, the government showed staggering incompetence: it procured an anesthetic that can kill when injected in large amounts, but ran out partway through this effort—and proceeded to bury the remaining cattle alive.
In addition to the foot and mouth outbreak, avian flu has simultaneously descended on South Korea. And yet again, the country has responded by burying the animals alive: 2.7 million live birds have so far been bagged and buried.

If you consider animal agribusiness a desirable thing, then the bird cull can probably only be looked at as a necessary public health measure. There is, after all, no vaccine that could protect these birds from swiftly-mutating avian flu. And if the virus went on to infect many or most of the chickens in Korea, it would gain the opportunity to jump the species barrier and unleash the scenario every public health expert fears: a deadly, highly contagious human flu that could kill many millions of people.

Yet there’s no reason why burying animals alive should ever be regarded as an ethically acceptable choice. Between the use of an euthanasia drug and the time needed to make an injection, it needn’t cost much more than fifty cents per chicken to kill each animal prior to burial. So this is really a matter of South Korea and its factory farmers being unwilling to pony up about a million dollars for the sake of sparing these chickens the most horrific of deaths."

"Unlike the United States and Britain, which have large and influential animal protection groups with the clout required to ban the most extreme animal abuses, there are no comparable groups in South Korea. So, despite the fact that South Korea is a member of the World Organization for Animal Health, the country has ignored the group’s guidelines forbidding the burial of live animals (Chapter 7.6, Killing of animals for disease control purposes, Article 7.6.1., Terrestrial Animal Health Code.)

So what we have in South Korea is a country whose leadership is incapable of acting with any decency where farmed animals are concerned."

"What we are witnessing in South Korea is unconscionable animal cruelty occurring on a massive scale, and no reliable way to prevent repeat this scenario from playing out again in the future. It’s a situation the entire world is ethically obligated to confront."


After that huge text dump, where to begin...

A popular way of "promoting Veganism" is to start by focusing on us.  What harms us as human beings.  Climate Change caused by burping "farm" animals?  Rampant disease spread from nonhuman to human animal?  Our natural fear of complicated sounding facts and large figures?  When you want to move house, and the house you want to move to has like, lagoons of "farm" animal poop and stuff, and it smells totally bad? 

And then somehow this all boils down into a "free range", "grass fed" Happy-Meatloaf of "gee, maybe we shouldnt be killing *so many* animals?"

Like a little boy who wants to dress in "girls" dresses (no comment), why do we refuse to acknowledge other animals rights to be themselves?  Why not leave them be, to live their lives how they wish?  Its not like we'd have to pay many thousands of dollars towards gender reassignment surgery for each animal we've allowed to live, its a simple matter of *not killing them* for our pleasure.

I really dont like shock imagery on political matters.  I dont think it works well, I dont want to vote based on fear or anger.  Reporting on these stories with images of animals being dumped from trucks, showing them being buried alive is beneath "Animal Rights activists", it seems to better belong with the American electoral cycle.

Here is the section that most offended me

"Yet there’s no reason why burying animals alive should ever be regarded as an ethically acceptable choice. Between the use of an euthanasia drug and the time needed to make an injection, it needn’t cost much more than fifty cents per chicken to kill each animal prior to burial. So this is really a matter of South Korea and its factory farmers being unwilling to pony up about a million dollars for the sake of sparing these chickens the most horrific of deaths."

Cripes Erik, how do you say these things?  "burying animals alive" is not an "ethically acceptable choice"?  When it costs about "...fifty cents per Chickens to kill each animal prior to burial"?  Better make sure we throw in the label "factory farmers"!  Who the heck knows what it means, its not an industry term, "hello, I'm a third generation factory farmer", its a slander against your opponent, such as "those liberal elites..."

And all this, for "the sake of sparing these Chickens the most horrific of deaths"?  Please Erik, this isn't noble, we're not fighting for providing care to 911 rescue workers here.  Those who risk their lives to save others, Firemen, Firewomen, all people made of flames, volunteers, those people (and fiery monsters) are heroes. I know, my Grandfather was a fireman (did you think I was going to say fire monster?)

We're not "The Good Guys" for asking Chickens to be "put to sleep" before we kill them.  Its not about "sparing these Chickens the most horrific of deaths" either, actually, being buried alive, piled with your brothers and sisters, as you're starved of air,  sounds a lot like "CAK", Controlled Atmosphere Killing.  Many "Animal Rights" activists are apparently *for* this, including "the largest group" PETA:

From the link, did you know "Birds scratch and peck each other—and vomit and defecate on one another—which causes carcass contamination." from the "normal" method of killing Chickens?  You know, the Chickens we eat?  EWWW!  Surely there's some NICE way, a HAPPY way to kill "our food", right?

Give yourself a pat on the back!

"CAK removes oxygen from the birds' atmosphere while they are still in their transport crates. The birds are not "gassed" (i.e., asphyxiated); they die from lack of oxygen, or anoxia, which is a painless process."

So "Animal Rights Activists" say its "ok" as long as these lovely animals, so cute and cuddly, not to mention "yummy" dont feel anything before the big "nights out"?

For Erik to describe a trivial cost, for supposed greed to be the cause of his upset is unreal, please, someone help me out here, why does this guy own Vegan Dot Com again?

Erik, are you going to send "fifty cent" lethal drugs to South Korea, to do your bit in "sparing these chickens the most horrific of deaths."?

I look after many Chickens.  Well no, that's not quite right, they look after themselves, they share food with one another, they watch out for predators during the day, they sleep next to each other at night in solidarity.  They are sentient beings, not permanent babies who never grow up, who need my constant attention.

They are my friends, I've known many of them since before they were born, when their mother put her own interests below those of keeping their eggs safe.  Ms Hen would rarely leave the nest, Chickens usually stand rather than sit, they sleep "standing up" in branches, or on a beam, for example.  Yet there she was, each and every day, sitting in her nest, keeping the eggs warm.  She'd turn them over with her beak too.  Perhaps for a single break of a few minutes each day she'd leave them, when she really needed to eat and drink.  She'd return to the nest in a fit, after squawking loudly in a panic to get back to the eggs.
The resultant Chickens have seen me *nearly* every day of their lives.   They follow me around the garden they live in, and like sitting on me to be patted.  I love them, and they love me.  We're best friends, like friends should be.

Anyone else think Leo Laporte was in the Barney suit?

Erik, I don't give a damn if you spent "[not] much more than fifty cents" first, it would be wrong of you to kill the Chickens who live in my backyard.  They are sentient beings, they like being alive, they like eating apples.

Its wrong to kill my Chicken Friends, not because I like [them], or [they] like me, or even because we're best friends (like all my best friends who are Honorary Members of the Invercargill Vegan Society!). 

Its wrong to kill Chickens, any Chickens, because they have inherent worth greater than a couple bucks per kilogram of their flesh.

Coming from Vegan Dot Com, I wish Erik Marcus would promote *Veganism*, its as easy to be Vegan as not, and I live at the bottom of the world, and have to "slum it" without even a single Vegan restaurant!  Oh, the horrors!

Veganism is the *least* others deserve, not to be seen as a "thing", as an "it", but as our Friends.

My favourite links to share are Professor Gary Francione's Abolitionist Approach website and these great shows, many also from New Zealand

I'm trying my best to promote respect for all animals, I'm one average 23 year old guy, living in a fourth world, minor island nation.  Example, it took us WEEKS to get the initial shipment of iPhone 4's.  I know the USA isn't ranked very high on the Human Development Index either Erik, just observe the media coverage of the fabled Verizon iPhone, "yaaa, now we can rebuy our ($1328 NZD outright) phones, so the new one can get a signal in the worlds only superpower!"

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Verizon iPhone Announcement
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire Blog</a>The Daily Show on Facebook

I'm trying not to focus on what others are doing, but on what I myself can concentrate on, not to care about anyone else, to be selfish, and care only about me, to help *all* animals, human and nonhuman alike.

Its not very difficult new years resolution to imagine, or achieve, it also wouldn't be hard for a "Vegan Dot Com" to promote Veganism.

Erik, how can you claim the entire worlds population is"ethically obligated" to DEMAND Chickens, and other "farm" animals, be killed before being buried in another country, but we can't speak clearly through consumer education about a moral baseline of, you know, not killing (or using) other animals in the first place?

Its not a matter of money, it wont even cost us the fabled fifty cents, lets just let others live!  Perhaps you'll gain a friend who likes to eat Apple from your hand too.


  1. On CAK/CAS, the research suggests that this is not necessarily a painless method of killing or "stunning." You can bet your house that PeTA, in 10 years time, will be producing videos "exposing" the cruelty of the CAK/CAS system.

  2. Thank you very much Dr Yates, I'd read your blog entry before, its great!

    How could it possibly be "painless"? Just imagine if PETA were promoting this, publicly, for Cats and Dogs, "The Final Solution for overpopulation of domesticated Kittens and Puppies! Introducing the new PETA-Grandin 5000, capable of "putting to sleep" over 10...."

    All Chickens deserve the opportunity to eat Apple from our hands, dont you think?

  3. Please keep challenging people who call themselves animal rights advocates who think that preferred killing methods is the goal rather than stopping the killing. It only reinforces speciesism. Thanks for a great post, and I love your chicken friends!


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