Episode 77 Black Chick and Good Feelings
Black Chick, colour changing feathers, comets, fireworks and "all of the lights", Meatfree McCartney, ABC="Factory Farming", 2012 Surf to City Funrun, Team Vegan, the Happiest of Meats, Pretty Lights, Avicii, Flo Rida, Etta James, Tupac and Bruce Hornsby, Veganism and Black Presidents: "Thats Just The Way It Is"
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Hello and welcome to another fine episode of Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals.
I've been so busy with other endeavors, I've fallen behind on the show. I currently have two other interview episodes recorded, waiting to be produced, an interview with a PRO animal experimentation advocate, as in, someone who starts groups that march with banners ENCOURAGING animal experimentation, and another interview with my friend Marty, of Martys Flying Vegan Review .com, a pilot who visits as many Vegan restaurants as possible, and shares his wonderful adventures with all his loyal readers, myself included.
Recently I saw a stock truck, a large two trailer unit, the size of say, two buses joined together, which usually carry sheep to slaughter, quite possibly bulls and cows too. Just as upsettingly, I saw a very small truck, labelled "ABC Foods".
A truck from ABC foods, the same exact "factory egg farm", with "battery cages" where my Rescued Hen friends were saved from, legally by my friends who get them when they are due to be killed, they ask the farmer for Hens. ABC Foods is an innocent sounding name, when its whats labelled "factory farming" of female birds.. The sides of the truck have this whimsically "cute" looking mother hen, gazing down with big dumb eyes at her chicks, who are looking up at her….the image of a "chook". I really do hate that word, "chook", its mostly an Australian term used for a Hen, but it has sort of "silly" connotations, you might use it to be "oh stop being a silly choke", or that if your children are sick, home from school, "I've got a couple of sick chooks to look after". I think of the term "chook" as being like "mongrel", like how it used to be fairly common for dogs to be called "mutts", and cats were "moggies", its not a dignified sounding term, like I think Hen and Rooster are, Chickens has no such baggage. I would never call my Hen Friends "chooks".
Think about the image on the side of the ABC truck, a Hen sitting on a straw nest, with chicks, her babies, her children, she is their mother. Of course this could NEVER happen at the farm, the Hens will never see a Rooster, the baby roosters are killed as soon as possible at the breeding facilities, since they will never have a female cycle, to pass eggs through their bottoms, they are KILLED, so the Hens will never have their eggs fertilized by a male Chicken, a Rooster, they will live as lonely spinsters trapped in wire mesh cages, no straw in sight, no sex, no reproduction, no children, no whimsical cartoon of motherhood, like depicted on the "factory farm"'s trucks. Its blatantly false advertising, if nothing else, that we can feel good about the company, "awww, cute mother hens!". And how often do we think about what REALLY goes into the Non Vegan foods we buy? That we may be continually "shocked!" by the "amazing new footage of animal welfare cruelty on tv!", we may actually smile at the logo on the farms trucks, dropping off cardboard trays of eggs all over the city, but we wont put the two together, that the products we buy *are* from those places where other animals are seen as things, be it on "factory farms", or "free range farms". The idea that someone could watch "shocking expose footage" on television, aimed at changing an Animal Welfare law, and then smiling as they go to the supermarket and buy "barn raised" eggs, with a silly looking cartoon of a proud mother sitting on a straw nest with no doubt peeping chicks underneath her is ridiculous, these eggs could well be from the same exact "farm" shown on television.
Social Conditioning, where we "just know" that Hens equal eggs which equal chicks, we know where their babies come from, from inside the eggs (we often seem to be a little less clear that a male Rooster is involved, the Hen gets all the credit for Chicken Parenting), and we are still ok with EATING those eggs, the effective wombs for unfertilized eggs inside, the potential children of a female bird, kept in a cage, never to see daylight, much less Pina Coladas, a romantic walk on the beach, even in the rain, flowers and a phone call in the morning.
I don't want to sound negative for this episode though, complaining bitterly about logos on the sides of trucks and the word "chook" wont help anyone!
Recently, I ran in the 2012 Surf to City funrun, from Oreti Beach to Queens Park, in the middle of Invercargill. Its 12km in length, and to be fair, I jogged the first four kilometres or so, then alternated jogging with "power walking", I wasn't setting any world records :-)
I recorded some audio clips, before
Actually, it took an hour twenty minutes or something, our times weren't given, the run started later than planned, so I thought it took two hours, it was actually an hour twenty minutes or something like that, the time is irrelevant, as long as I made it across the finish line, after jogging/"power walking" along in a Team Vegan shirt with my friends!
It was a wonderful day, although I was pretty sore the day after, very out of shape! Anything to get the word Vegan out there, to wear our Team Vegan shirts, free advertising for Veganism!
I wrote a blogpost with photos taken on the day, you can find it at www.coexist.co.nz , this shows blog. There were ducks to sit by, the bronze statue of Burt Munros speed record setting motorcycle, as seen in the movie The Worlds Fastest Indian, played by the Hannibal Lecter guy, a carnival complete with ferris wheel….and a farmers market.
I was really taken back by one particular stand at the farmers market, each week theres a market held at Boys High, a local, all male school, sounds pretty sexist! For once, rather than being held at the highschool nextdoor to Queens Park, it was inside the public park itself, very beautiful, underneath the trees along "Coronation Avenue", the pedestrian only road running straight down the middle of Queens Park. For American listeners, a "queen" is a rock band, a chess piece that can move in any direction, and finally an elderly woman interested in cups of tea and corgis, who sends her navy around the world, conquering other lands, putting her head on their money, naming all the best public parks after herself, and making roads where cars are not allowed to drive running straight down the middle of them, how Un American!
Kapuka Pork have a regular stand each week at the Boys High farmers market. Heres a description of Kapuka Pork from their website:
"Kapuka Pork is a small family operated company based at Kapuka, east of Invercargill.
Our passion for fine food and desire to live off the land led us to growing a few free range pigs for our family. The flavour of these grass fed pigs was so outstanding we just had to share it. That clean taste of pork that has led a life not just outdoors but actually on the grass is hard to come by as these days anything seems to go with the term “free range”.
Kapuka Pork pigs are farmed outside in a paddock on grasses and brassicas, which they are free to root up, quality grain feed that has NO antibiotics or growth hormones and seasonal treats such as Central Otago apples and local Southland milk straight from the vat. With the sun on their backs, and mud to roll in, they are free to exert natural pig behaviour. You won’t see pristine paddocks on our farm...We steer clear of chemicals and let our pigs be pigs.
Buy direct from us, the farmer. We’re passionate about providing our family and you with quality pork. We believe that looking after the health and wellbeing of our pigs is paramount. The proof is in the pork - the superior flavour of Kapuka Pork."
The website has all kinds of close up images of happy baby animals, talking about "we don't do this" and "we don't do that", images of sunshine and grass, "the way its meant to be", and then the last words are always about how GREAT the taste is. You're kind, you're ethical, and you're gonna LOVE the taste of these killed pigs. Its really weird, I could perhaps easily understand if people were utterly uninterested in seeing how the animals were, while they were allowed to live, that they would just want to buy the plastic packets of flesh and not think about the rest, but to see these animals alive, and to honestly, genuinely think they are cute, that they are nice…and then pay these people to harm and kill them? Weird.
The worst of it is their "adopt a pig" page, now THIS is the ultimate in "high welfare" "happy meat" :
"Unable to farm your own pig for high quality pork?
Adopt a Kapuka Pork pig for the ultimate Food Provenance experience.
We will grow your pig, give you updates along the way and when IT's ready process IT, package IT and send IT to you – keep IT for yourself or share IT with family and friends.
Sit back and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing exactly what (who) you are eating, where IT came from and that IT was grown with care and respect."
And then THEY were killed, presumably with the same "care and respect", their body parts hacked and cut off, to be sold in shrink-wrapped plastic, sitting in a pool of trapped blood, its disgusting, its revolting to see! And its being sold as "ethical", that you're doing a wonderful thing by caring for these lovely cute baby piglets, by buying this "pork". Its really weird to think about the mindgames involved, how could we possibly believe this is a GOOD thing, when we "Meet our Meat", say "awwwwwww" at all the big banners and pictures of the baby pigs on this farm, and then buy their brothers and sisters bodies, its just gross! And this happens because we are surrounded by others doing the same thing? That we grow up eating "pork", and that we are told about "good welfare", that we believe in these fairytales?
The open air portable refrigerator was one of the most disgusting things I've ever seen, a shelf style refrigerator like you'd see at a supermarket, it was a couple metres high, half a metre or so wide. Inside was big slabs of pig flesh, cut square, red bloody muscle, fat, then skin on top, absolutely disgusting, it looked like human skin, like a square cut from a human body during an autopsy. And it was "free range".
This really made me think about how we present our animal rights message, how we come across. Are we "power jogging" Vegans in Team Vegan shirts, huffing and puffing along to the central city park finish line? Do we promote outright Veganism, or do we promote "ban cages", "end cages", "finish factory farming"? If we promote welfare reforms, should we then in turn see "Kapuka Pork" farm, and its slabs of skin, fat and muscle in a professional looking outdoor shelf refrigerator that they bring to the farmers market each week, and should we congratulate them for "not being as bad as most farms"?
I think Animal Rights should mean Veganism, when we use the term Animal Rights, we are talking about rights, that we are animals, that they are animals, that in most cases they are mammals, that we are mammals too, that we matter, that they matter, that we have rights, that they should have rights. If we are asking for larger cages, or even for "free range" barn living in a field, to have their heads cut off, their feet chopped off, legs hacked away, to be sold in plastic wrapped squares in an expensive portable refrigerator at a weekly farmers market, then we should be honest in saying "Animal Welfare", not using the term Animal Rights.
Using the term "Animal Rights" when we are asking for welfare reforms distorts the messages, it samples and remixes the message. In the case of "Free Range pig flesh", isn't it taking out message of love, peace and respect, and totally chopping and screwing it out of recognition, like a slowed down Southern rap remix?
Really, I'm just making an excuse to play more song clips.
In America, the kids apparently like an Electronic artist calling himself "Pretty Lights" is considered pretty good. The guy basically takes a million samples from old RnB vinyl records and staples them together, big friggin deal, right? Well, they go nuts over it, these damn crazy kids.
His most well known song seems to be "Finally Moving", from the year 2006, and the "Finally Moving Remix" from 2008, which sample an old Etta James record, "Somethings Got A Hold On Me", one line in particular. Heres the original song, from 1962, sung by Ms Etta James, NOT Emmy James, my wonderful Vegan friend up there in Auckland, but Etta James, Etta like in Etiquette, French music producer David Guetta, or even "GETTA real job" :
The song Finally Moving, the remix version also adds in this song, Private Number by Judy Clay and William Bell:
When these songs combine, this is a song "by Pretty Lights":
Now, Swedish producer Avicii sampled Somethings Got A Hold On Me in 2011, to make "Levels"
Which was in turn remixed by American artist, who I quite like, Skrillex…
And finally, the Swedish producer Avicii's song sampling Etta James from 1962, after the American producer Pretty Lights first sampled Etta James in 2006, had the Swedish version of the song featuring the sample from Etta James in 1962 sampled heavily for American rapper Flo Rida (he's from Florida) latter in 2011.
Perhaps this is the most well known of all the damn songs sampling the one Etta James record from 1962, popular in the mainstream, played in night clubs, on radio stations the world over:
On that song, it caught this great review :
"In a more negative review, Digital Spy's Robert Copsey rated it two stars (out of possible five) and wrote that "the sampling of DJ Avicii's 'Levels' - which in turn reswizzles Etta James's 'Something's Got a Hold On Me' - makes this club-rap number sound about as authentic as Asda's tinned spaghetti."
Focusing solely on the Somethings Got A Hold On Me song from 1962, that one song has been grabbed, yanked and twisted into many completely different end results, you have a sort of slow tempo gospel song
and it ends up like this
Its pretty darn far from the original inspiration!
Sampling is rampant in modern music, some artists over rely on grabbing the catchy bits of ancient songs and then repackaging them with booming bass, sound effects and meaningless lyrics over top. I quite like this piece from The Onion, a joke about sampling from way back in 1997:
"NEW YORK—Noted rapper/producer Sean "Puffy" Combs released his hotly anticipated new single Tuesday, "Tha Kidd (Is Not My Son)," which samples Michael Jackson's 1983 smash "Billie Jean" in its entirety and adds nothing. "When I was in the studio mixing and recording, I decided 'Tha Kidd' would work best if I kept all the music and vocals from the original version and then didn't rap over it," Combs said. "So what I did is put in a tape with 'Billie Jean' on it, and then I hit record. The thing turned out great." Combs' current number-one hit, "Eye Of The Tiger," is dedicated to slain rapper Notorious B.I.G."
Why did I pick the particular sampled songs before, all relying around an Etta James vocal? Well, I randomly came across one the Skrillex Remix, and remembered that I'd heard that sample before, in the Flo Rida rap song. So, I checked out that clip on YouTube, and saw this comment from a fan of ANOTHER who'd sampled it, a Pretty Lights fan, who complained about Flo Rida being a "homosexual African American" for "stealing" from Pretty Lights, because the electronic artist had used that sample before the rapper.
I think first impressions leave a lasting impact, thats why I always try to seem as threatening and socially awkward as possible when first meeting someone. The first time we hear a particular sample in a song, we might associate it from then on after with that particular artist, "oh, sometimes, I get a good feeling", yeah, thats a line from a 2006 Pretty Lights song, right? And then some rapper dude stole it in 2011! I've got no idea at all who Etta James is, and really, who cares?"
The first time we hear a claim made by an animal advocacy group, it lasts. Another online comment I came across mentioned a local animal welfare law being changed, with advocates from two different groups each claiming that THEIR particular group was responsible for the law change, it wasn't even clear WHO won this particular perceived victory, only that it must belong to one of the groups, MINE! We won it, not you! Hands off, this is our victory to claim in our monthly please send us money newsletter!
We might end up with Vegans who were campaigning with all their heart to have "factory farms" banned end up indirectly supporting "adopt a pig" free range killed animals instead.
By promoting Veganism, we avoid that potential to be misinterpreted, or metaphorically sampled by another song, our main work taken out of context, with only a line being used, and that line being "Factory Farms are bad", surrounded by "We at Kapuka Pig Flesh kill only the happiest, sweetest, cutest pigs, because we CARE about animals".
By hearing only part of a message too, it can change the whole context, such as when a fairly popular song samples a perhaps lesser known song, at least in terms of my generation. I know the 1998 song Changes by Tupac well:
It sounds pretty negative, right?
Well, I would think most of my generation would be familiar with it, but do we know that it actually HEAVILY samples, as in, rips off wholesale the song "The Way It Is" by Bruce Hornsby and The Range, from way back in 1986? And, as we find out, Mr Shakur left out the very next line in the lyrics…somethings never change………that its easy for others to tell us that, as my father told me, "you cant change the world", well, as we find out here, when it comes to people who put down the idea of any social change, why, "don't you believe them!"
"some things will never change, thats just the way it is……..BUT DONT YOU BELIEVE THEM", "how can you stand to think that way, did you really think about it before you made the rules? Hey, thats just the way it is, some things will never change…. BUT DONT YOU BELIEVE THEM!
Thats kind of an important message to be leaving out of the sample, right? It exactly changes the whole context of the song, the meaning! Somethings never change, contrasting with the original song telling us people might dismiss you, but that you shouldn't believe those who just cast doubts, who try and stop you doing your best to help change things in a positive way.
In fact, when my father told me "ya cant change the world", and he started saying something about "your generation always thinks it can…", I mentioned to him that someone he would have listened to growing up weighed in on the matter, explicitly telling parents that their children might be onto something
Yeah, when I said it, I wasn't quite as "are you aware of your mortality father?" as that! He actually laughed at the time, although he still thinks Veganism is a bunch of nonsense.
Not only was Tupacs song silly not to include the next line of the verse, that we may be told things are bleak, but that we shouldn't listen to doomsday predictions and negativity, that we can look in the mirror, ask the man (or woman) staring back at you to make that change, but the song Changes was wrong about a few other things too!
Well, of course the song was released in 1998, after Tupacs death, indeed shot to death on the Las Vegas strip in a BMW, rat tat tat tat, and thats the way it is indeed, the lyrics recorded years earlier, but on the longterm scale of things, from being "we aint ready to see a Black president", 2008 is really just 1999, 2000, 2001….. ten years later, ten years is not that long, for something seen as impossible ten years ago to be absolutely possible in just a decade.
That line from Changes is mentioned in the song Black President by Nas :
And then theres the victory song, boasting about diamonds and luxury cars, and the Presidents skin colour
Well, the way things are going with inflation, perhaps there WILL be a 5000 dollar note soon enough!
The song Changes was wrong about another thing too
, "…they get jealous when they see you on your mobile phone…" ,
yeah, because everytime *I* see someone on a 1998 era cellphone, I sure am jealous….!
Theres a lovely line in Tupacs song Changes which probably doesn't have enough attention paid to it, about making a positive change, it sounds an awful lot like promoting Veganism to me, we have to change the way we EAT, the way we LIVE, because the old ways arnt working"
Doesn't that sound like Veganism to you?
Now we just need to get a larger population sample, of Vegans, and we too will see a huge change, who knows, maybe in ten years from now, they'll be a Vegan President of America! A 75 year old President Dennis Kucinich, with first lady Elizabeth Kucinich, she'll be 44.
Is there any real reason why we've decided that we care for cats and dogs, and feel differently about cows and chickens? Need it be this way? Non Veganism, "thats just the way it is"? Well, don't you believe them! Believe in yourself, believe in the almighty Steve Jobs, in the power of Michael Jacksons music to inspire love and good will for all the entire human race, the entire animal kingdom!
Things change, and THATS the way it is.
Thank you for suffering through this musical episode of Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals.
You can find the script for this episode, as well as downloads for every episode of Coexisting With Nonhuman Animals at www.coexisting.co.nz
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Thank you for listening.
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