There are many people who will tell us, ‘I love animals and I think they should be treated humanely but I eat meat’ and will see no irony in a declaration that they have possibly never even stopped to consider.
This statement, that I’ve seen so often on too many posts and pages, came into my head at the tragic sight of a flock of dead chickens, whose pale, featherless and flaccid 42 day old corpses were arrayed in the mortuary aisle of a supermarket today. Posed obscenely without heads or feet, they were shrink-wrapped and emblazoned with a red tractor bragging about the ‘quality’ of their cold, dead flesh. They cost about £3.00. That’s €3.36 or $4.06.
When those who claim they ‘love’ yet also consume these pitiful little bodies are looking for the best bargain in the mortuary aisle, I wonder what sort of a life they imagine any individual has had, if the price of their corpse in a supermarket is £3.00?
While we recite the myth about wanting our victims to have ‘enjoyed a good life’, what sort of any kind of life could anyone have had, if the price of their corpse in a supermarket is £3.00? Given the number of humans who made a profit for whatever role they played in this tragedy; the hatchery, the farmer, the transporters taking quietly cheeping crates full of frightened babies to be killed, the slaughterers, the packers, the loaders, the refrigerated vehicles full of silent bodies, the wholesaler and the supermarket and maybe others as well – that’s a hell of a lot of palms to grease out of a measly £3.00.
How much was left for the victim out of that £3.00 for anything other than the barest minimum of every single thing; like comfort, like warmth, like food, like space to move around and all the many other things we value in our own lives? We can’t put a price on our own lives because we each know that our own life is beyond price to us. Each of our victims values their own life in the same way and does not want to die. We have no need and no right to take that treasured life away.
And we have no right to delude ourselves that we care about those whom we kill without cause. Our words cannot stand scrutiny; they make no sense. When we stop demanding harm, harm will no longer be profitable.