OK, so I’m an animal lover. But I’m sick of the over-the-top anthromorphism that kids are being fed. Who’s going to suffer in the long run?
Provoked by a thread on p45rant.com »
The Times: We’re falling into a Mickey Mouse trap if we don’t teach kids the truth about animals »
I have to agree with the The Times article, to some extent. I’m emphatic in my love of animals, and am often guilty of anthropomorphism… I have a long-established obsession with otters, I dote over cats and dogs, but I think I know where to draw the line.
You Are What You eat
Anthropomorphism would appear to be a vital part of childhood – learning the ways of human society through animals stories, and so on. But am I alone in wondering about the conflict between telling kids that animals have feelings and that we shouldn’t kill them… then serving up fish fingers, meatballs or chicken nuggets for tea… generic ‘meat’, mechanically seperated by some anonymous killing machine.
I reckon our urbanised TV-led society has quickly lost any understanding of well, anything outside abstract, commodified constructs. Using the term ‘the environment’ may be the first stage – people referring to ‘it’ as if it’s something other, somewhere else, despite the fact that they’re standing in it. The word ‘nature’ brings similar implications. To by surprise, I’ve heard people in Dublin (not a huge place by any means) referring to the countryside as ‘useless’. ‘Why would we want to go there?’.
Key things from TV: Shark programmes that give the impression that killer sharks are somehow ‘evil’ or ‘rogue’. They’re not that smart, folks. Neither are ‘killer hurricanes’ or computer or biological viruses. Animals don’t nurse grudges, at least not in the way we do, as far as we know.
A recent Ray Mears programme was about the Heroes of Telemark… while gutting a sheep (or was it a reindeer? Can’t quite recall), a Norwegian commando was bemoaning the distancing of even Norwegian people from really gritty life. He (a young man himself) reckoned that all young people should be taught to gut an animal… and that it would be a factor in fostering a respect for animals and the wild elements of nature. I have to say, I can see his point. I’m sure I’ll get torrents of rabid hatemail from vegetarians over this… which is fine. This rant is not about the moral pros and cons of eating meat… I’m more interested in the distance – geographical, commercial, industrial and biological, and the cognitive dissonance that people have about the source of their food.
Let’s ask Tesco to start stocking live free range chickens, and to begin organising plucking classes.
I should write more about this. Or perhaps not. Comments welcome!
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