Factory Farming (Wrestling with the god of the Gut)

 

Pigs Confined in Gestation Crates

Pigs Confined in Gestation Crates

I started this blog to talk about the questions, about wrestling with the angels, struggling with things I don’t know and things I do know, but don’t quite want to accept.

I’ve gotten a little off-course here.  I’ve been distracted by some important things going on: Emily Maynard’s post about modesty and the controversy that followed, including my two posts (here and here), Mark Driscoll’s slut-shaming of Esther, Hurricane Isaac, and more.

Well, during this month a new struggle has begun within me, a struggle with cruelty to animals … specifically, the animals that make up such a large part of my daily diet.  Kurt Willems’s “God of the Gut” article sent my mind down paths my belly really wished it hadn’t.   Greg Boyd’s “Compassionate Dominion and Factory Farms” sealed the deal. Modern American factory farming is not humane. It just isn’t.  (Warning, the videos are not for the faint of heart).

Let me say that I’m neither a vegetarian nor even a pacifist right now.  I have no problem whatsoever killing and eating animals.  I even hunt a couple of times a year with my uncle.  Any animal living in the wild has to worry about getting eaten.  Herbivores have to worry about predation, and even predators have to worry about being eaten from the inside out by disease or parasites.  So the death of an animal for food is not a problem in my mind.

But I will not abide torture.  And the practices in factory farms, where animals are held in tiny crates (sometimes for their entire lives), are castrated or de-toothed without anesthesia, and are slaughtered sloppily, leaving some alive for the slaughtering process?  That’s torture.

This isn’t an example of something I’m not sure about.  I wouldn’t treat my dogs like that, and pigs are roughly as intelligent as dogs.  I know, I’m not planning to eat my dogs.  But I wouldn’t treat a deer like that, either.

Every hunter has ethical standards, trying to take only shots that are sure, that will kill quickly, that won’t make the animal suffer unnecessarily.  Yet, when it comes to factory farming, there are no such considerations.  Like so much in corporate America, the bottom line is king.

So like I said, I’m not struggling with whether this is right for me to do.  I’m struggling with what a deep-seated pain in the neck it is. I can’t back-check restaurants, so guess who’s a pescetarian when he eats out?  And guess who used to be head-over-heels in love with Rosie’s Barbecue, Strick’s Barbecue, Mug Shots Burgers, and just about any version of chili cheese fries?  Guess who’s got to convince his wife to pay twice as much for meat and 50% for eggs?  Thankfully, she’s been very supportive.

Essentially, my struggle is to not be a wimp.  I’ve read the horror stories.  I know what I have to do.  Now, the struggle is to do it.  Funny how that goes.

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7 comments on “Factory Farming (Wrestling with the god of the Gut)

  1. Bob Lalasz says:

    I commend you for wrestling with these issues, expressing that struggle so eloquently, and making a tough decision based on conscience. There’s a cultural shift going on in America on the cruelties of factory farming — it’s part of the general conversation now in a way it never has been before, and more and more people, regardless of whether they are vegetarians or not, are making just these kinds of private decisions to say: No more. But it’s not easy, and I admire your honesty in sharing how you’ve come to this point.

    • Tim Dedeaux says:

      Thanks. I feel like a whiner sometimes. I mean, talk about first world problems 🙂

      I was just one of those things that once I knew it, I couldn’t “un”-know it (kind of like child laborers and Hershey’s chocolate). And once I knew it, I just couldn’t look at (most) meat the same.

      I’m honestly a little bit scared though. What else do I not know about? What else will I find out about one day and suddenly realize I have to change part of my life?

      Well, whatever it is, I’m sure it will be worth it.

  2. […] just want to briefly note a highly eloquent new blog post by Tim Dedeaux, a hunter and meat-eater, about how he’s come to the decision that factory farming is torture […]

  3. […] been 10 days since my “Wrestling the god of the Gut” post, and I thought I’d give you an update on how the match is […]

  4. […] been 10 days since my “Wrestling the god of the Gut” post, and I thought I’d give you an update on how the match is […]

  5. […] had someone ask me what I was trying to accomplish.  She was specifically talking about boycotting factory farmed meat and eggs, but I suppose the same could be said of several of my “causes,” including: Voting for a third […]

  6. […] my reasons actually go back a while. As you may recall, some time ago (September 2012, actually) I tried to give up on factory farmed meat eggs and dairy. The problem with this was that I still […]

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