Monday, December 24, 2007

"Master Species"

Even the most ardent reactionaries, deluded ‘patriots,’ and apathetic cynics, whose myopic, Panglossian perspectives ensure that they continue to reflexively genuflect to the deeply criminal enterprise of American Capitalism and rationalize the savage imperialism of US foreign policy, are beginning to concede that we are in the midst of a crisis of epic proportions.... As a collective, we human animals have hubristically determined that we are the master species, endowing ourselves with the right to dominate, enslave, torture, humiliate, murder, and eat any sentient being on the planet (with the almost universal exception being the taboo of cannibalism–which is a bit perplexing considering the numerous other evils we inflict upon one another and the fact that human over-population is a tremendous problem). (source)

It is taxing to sit at a table full of critical theorists, feminists, postcolonialists, and other social justice advocates, all excoriating capitalist exploitation while they devour bloody steaks and smear pig ribs and chicken grease across their overfed faces.... In short, the modern 'radical' tradition stands in continuity with the entire Western heritage of anthropocentrism, and in no way can be seen as a liberating philosophy from the standpoint of the environment and other species on this planet. A truly revolutionary social theory and movement must incorporate a new ethics of nature, as it maintains a commitment to Enlightenment norms, human justice, and anti-capitalism. (source)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Evolve or Die

True animal liberation will not come merely through the destruction of the Dachaus and Buchenwalds that the occupiers have built for their victims, but demands nothing less than the driving back of the human species to pre-invasion boundaries.

So, in practical terms, what does this mean? It means the end of environmental pollution and the industrial society which causes it. The end of such things as the private car. The end of methods of agriculture relying on pesticides, artificial fertilizers and other poisons. The end of cities and vast urban conurbations, which are like deserts to most wild animal species. The end of large-scale farming which provides little habitat for them either. And perhaps above all, a drastic cut in the number of the human species. The radical American environmental group Earth First! has estimated that the right level of human population world wide should be about 50 million.Today more than that number live just in Britain - Ronnie Lee (source)

The meaning of Enlightenment is changing. In the eighteenth century it meant overcoming religious dogma and tyranny; in the late twentieth century, it demanded overcoming racism, sexism, homophobia, and other prejudices; now, in the twenty-first century, it requires overcoming speciesism and embracing a universal ethics that honors all life.

We can change; we must. The message of nature is evolve or die. ~ Dr. Steven Best (source)

Monday, December 4, 2006

Flesh Eaters

The Union Stock Yard & Transit Co., or The Yards, operated in the New City community area of Chicago, Illinois for 106 years, helping the city become known as "hog butcher for the world" and the center of the American meat packing industry for decades.... Eventually, the 375-acre (1.52 km2) site had 2300 separate livestock pens in addition to hotels, saloons, restaurants, and offices for merchants and brokers. Led by Timothy Blackstone, a founder and the first president of the Union Stock Yards and Transit Company, "The Yards" experienced tremendous growth. Processing two million animals yearly by 1870, the number had risen to nine million by 1890. Between 1865 and 1900, approximately 400 million livestock were butchered within the confines of the Yards.

Union Stock Yards, 1947

At one time, 500,000 gallons a day of Chicago River water was pumped into the stock yards. So much stock yard waste drained into the South Fork of the river that it came to bear the name Bubbly Creek due to the gaseous products of decomposition. The creek bubbles to this day.

A Farm Sanctuary documentary, covering all aspects of animal suffering caused by confinement and mechanized farms. Featuring Mary Tyler Moore.

The size and scale of the stockyards, along with technological advancements in rail transport and refrigeration, allowed for the creation of some of America's first truly global companies led by entrepreneurs such as Gustavus Franklin Swift and Philip Danforth Armour. The mechanized process with its killing wheel and conveyors helped inspire the automobile assembly line. In addition, hedging transactions by the stockyard companies played a key role in the establishment and growth of the Chicago-based commodity exchanges and futures markets.

Numerous meatpacking companies were concentrated near the yards, including Armour, Swift, Morris, and Hammond. Eventually, meatpacking byproduct manufacturing of leather, soap, fertilizer, glue, imitation ivory, gelatin, shoe polish, buttons, perfume, and violin strings prospered in the neighborhood. (source)

Flesh Eaters; right: Goya, 1819; left: Ante, 1991.

Isn't man an amazing animal? He kills wildlife - birds, kangaroos, deer, all kinds of cats, coyotes, beavers, groundhogs, mice, foxes and dingoes - by the million in order to protect his domestic animals and their feed. Then he kills domestic animals by the billion and eats them. This in turn kills man by the million, because eating all those animals leads to degenerative - and fatal- health conditions like heart disease, kidney disease, and cancer. So then man tortures and kills millions more animals to look for cures for these diseases. Elsewhere, millions of other human beings are being killed by hunger and malnutrition because food they could eat is being used to fatten domestic animals. Meanwhile, some people are dying of sad laughter at the absurdity of man, who kills so easily and so violently, and once a year, sends out cards praying for "Peace on Earth."
From Old MacDonald's Factory Farm by C. David Coats.