I keep thinking of Gary Larson and his old Far Side cartoons, updated for 2009.
So this man with a briefcase is standing at the door of a cow’s house. The cow, looking skeptical, peers at the questionaire and asks:
“Isn’t there a ‘Would rather not die at all’ option?”
I refer to the increasingly popular movement, among people who can afford it, to opt for “farm-raised” or “grass-fed” or “pasture-raised” food animals, paying a few bucks more to eat creatures who have at least had some semblance of a “normal” life under the sun rather than being confined in these horrible factory farms, standing in their own excrement and being pumped full of antibiotics to ward off the diseases their confinement brings. (Yummy!)
The “farm-raised” movement is a humane step forward. I don’t want to belittle it. And, having had my own difficulties in completely dropping meat from my diet, I know how hard it is to deny oneself that pleasure.
It’s nice that people are thinking a bit about animal welfare. It’s commendable that McDonald’s, which has to be the biggest beef buyer in the world, has started these Responsible Purchasing programs and refuses to subsidize the most dismal factory farms.
But let’s not kid ourselves or get to feeling overly noble here, folks. Given a voice, all these pasture-raised cows and real-mud pigs would say: “Uh, thanks, but if it’s all the same to you, we’d rather not be killed at all. How about a nice tofu sandwich?”