I posted the following diary on my own blog, La Vida Locavore but it's so dang funny, I decided to cross-post it here. I regularly listen to this Big Ag radio show and when they get really funny I write it up for my site (like here when the beef industry talks about Meatless Mondays). This one might be the best ever!!!
I listened to a fantastic episode of the Hannity of Industrial Agriculture's show - AgriTalk with Mike Adams. It's the May 12 episode, if you want to hear it for yourself. They were at an Animal Agriculture summit, ranting about the crazy animal rights nuts on the left (you know, the Humane Society) who wants to pass legislation or ballot initiatives in several states around the country to make the lives of factory farm animals very slightly less miserable.
I've transcribed it below. Be warned, what you are about to read is insane, arrogant, and at times, totally insulting.
I'm only including the 2nd guest here, because he's the truly funny one. If you want to read what the other guest had to say, to get an idea of what their strategy is for fighting back to protect their right to mistreat animals, go here.
Guest #2 was a Baptist minister named Dr. Wes Jamison. Mike began by asking him about the animal rights' groups use of religion in their arguments:
Jamison: Mike, that’s very true. One of the issues we face in this debate is why do animals even matter? Often times we talk about animal welfare and animal rights and no one ever says why should we even care. If you believe in evolution, then we won.
Wait... hit the pause button. You believe in evolution? That's news. OK, keep going.
And.. why would we wring our hands about it? If dolphins don’t like it, they should grow opposing thumbs and farm us maybe a million years from now. We won the evolutionary battle, but for some reason people have inside of them this desire to want to protect these animals.
So does that mean that because we won the war in Iraq, anything we did in Abu Ghraib was OK because if they didn't like it, they should have come to the U.S. and taken over us? And, on a less sarcastic note - that's ridiculous. Yes we're higher up on the food chain, but the way we are raising animals now isn't only cruel to the animals, it's unhealthy for us. I don't think the idea is to get to the top of the food chain and then purposefully make yourself sick by wrecking your food. Pasture-raised animals - animals that live the way they evolved to live, and they way we evolved alongside them as we domesticated them and ate them - are far healthier than factory farmed animals. We're polluting our environment with factory farms, making it less inhabitable for us, and we're producing inferior quality meat, milk, and eggs.
The Humane Society is going there naturally for three reasons, going to the religious side of the issue for three reasons. First of all, is the financial aspect. People of faith give more money than people who do not have faith. Not only to their denominations but to any causes that they deem fit, so it is a financial aspect. If you can recruit people of faith to your cause, they will give money.
Obviously, those animal rights nuts are totally after the religious people's money.
Number two, American politics, because of our incremental political system, requires sustained intensity over time to change things. There is nothing more effective at sustaining zeal in our political system than a religious cause. In fact if you look back through American history, the great changes in our culture have been brought by religious causes, whether it be abolition, or the civil rights movement, and some people even argue today that the environmental movement had to become somewhat religious in order to bring about its changes. And so, number two, to have those kinds of activists that will engage for decades at a time, religion provides that rationale.
And third, one of the things we’re finding is that the animal welfare debate is non-partisan cuz it hinges upon pet ownership. So whether you’re liberal, conservative, Democrat, or Republican, if you own pets, you are very receptive to an argument about animal welfare and a religious argument provides one more leverage point on the hinge for the Humane Society of the United States to help convince people this cause is right and just. Because you have quite a few people in there – if you look at the spectrum, right in the middle there’s that group of people that are kind of fuzzy on where they stand on some of these things and they are very susceptible to some of these messages.
OK, this is my favorite part...
I kind of look at it like that bell-shaped curve, on the extreme right hand side you’re gonna have people that know their Koran, that know their Bible, that know their Torah, that know their tradition and theology that clearly gives them permission and calls the use of animals good. Not only is it value neutral but all three traditions say that animal use – in fact killing animals for human benefit – is a good thing.
I specifically recall my rabbi telling us in Sunday School that we were supposed to treat animals well according to Jewish tradition. He didn't say don't eat them, but you're not supposed to abuse them during their lives.
The on the other side are the hardcore atheists or people who don’t believe any sort of faith tradition and they tend, from our research, that they don’t really care what you say, they’re gonna eat animals anyway.
I'm a "hardcore atheist" vegetarian. What do you make of that?
In that middle, that squishy middle is people who call themselves spiritual, who call themselves religious, but really don’t know what that means. They are very fertile recruiting ground for what I call meaning entrepreneurs – people who go out and actually define for them what it is they actually think. And so what you’ll have is you’ll have people like... the Humane Society of the United States begin to make statements that are outlandish and absolute nonsense for a person who actually knows their denominational theology. But if you don’t, and it resonates with your pre-existing values regarding humans and animals, you’ll begin to say "Ahh yes, God is a God of compassion. Factory farming is not compassionate, therefore God hates factory farming." That’s a sort of sophisticated argument the Humane Society is going to use.
Wow. Just... wow. First off - about the idea that God hates factory farming... do you have a copyright or can I use that on T-shirts and bumper stickers? Cuz I think you're onto something there.
Second, about that compassionate God thing? Yeah. I think that's what the New Testament was about, wasn't it? But also: HOW TOTALLY INSULTING! So if your values don't line up exactly with his interpretation of the Bible, you're wrong and that's that? And if your values include compassion to animals, first of all you're being religious the wrong way, but second of all, you're being used and fooled by animal welfare organizations? How absolutely arrogant.
He continues (responding to a new question about why people give their money to HSUS):
A lot of people give money to protect pets but we’re finding, in our research, that the argument goes something like this: You treat one animal – you put one animal in the center of your heart and you put another animal in the center of your plate. You’re a hypocrite and should feel very bad for doing that. So we’re not asking you to stop eating a pig while loving a cat. You should help us with $20 and a vote to make the life of a pig a little bit better. So what the Humane Society and the Farm Sanctuary have stumbled upon is the ability to exacerbate and amplify the guilt of pet owners regarding the treatment of farm animals. And the argument goes like this: We’re not going to ask you to stop eating meat but at least be compassionate. We’re not even asking you to treat the pig like you treat your cat. But help us make it a little bit better.
And that's wrong? Seriously, there's the animal welfare argument, but all of the issues surrounding animal agriculture are intertwined. Factory farming is cruel, but is also destructive to the environment, to food safety, to the effectiveness of human antibiotics, and to human health in general. People who contribute to animal welfare causes are working towards reform on each of those issues by making the lives of pigs better, even if they still they eat them.
Long term strategy, of course, is to increase regulation through legislation and litigation to the point where competitive advantage is removed. So we either have to offshore our production or, more or less because of competitive advantage, we go out of business.
Competitive advantage against who? Against plant-based foods and against ethically and sustainably raised animal products. Nobody's asking for the entire U.S. meat industry to go out of business. The goal is to shift competitive advantage back to the farmers we want to encourage - the ones who raise animals on pasture, humanely and sustainably, who produce healthier food.
There's one last line I want to share from the interview. If you're religious and you haven't been offended yet, enjoy!
Once you begin to believe in the religious understanding of animals and the idea that you are called by this nebulous Santa Claus god figure to treat animals well, it’s amazing the sacrifices you’ll make and the amount of time you’ll make them to bring this cause to fruition.