Monday, July 30, 2007

The Honeymoon is Over

There comes a certain point in every relationship. The point, following starry-eyed adoration, euphoria, and the feeling that this is THE ONE, where you realize that maybe he's not so great after all.

That point came for me a couple of weeks ago. I thought I'd found the guy I could trust, believe in, who shared my thoughts and understood me. And as so often happens, my dream was shattered by an unexpected email.

Barak Obama pissed me off.

I'd sent one of those sponsored email campaign messages urging my senator, etc. etc., etc. In this case, it was to ask him to support a Downed Animal bill. Now, I've often heard that one of Obama's gifts is the ability to avoid a direct question. But on me? Who loved him?

I had to read the message three times before I realized he was telling me, No Dice.

I can't find the email (odd, but true), but the gist of his message was that while downed cows might prove a health risk, pigs often can't walk on their own accord at the slaughterhouse because of things such as exhaustion or their own extreme weight. Therefore, the Downed Animal bill would put an unfair financial burden on pig farmers.

Let's put the humane issue aside for the moment (because he clearly has) and ask this question: if the only argument is that the meat be safe for human consumption, and if pigs brought to slaughter are often unable to walk for a variety of reasons, does it not stand to reason that any pig that is raised and/or transported in such a way that leaves it unable to walk is probably not being raised under conditions that lead to healthy meat? If no real thought is given to the welfare of the pig, then no thought is given to the quality of the meat, because no animal raised under healthy circumstances will arrive unable to walk. The healthiest meat is the meat raised most humanely, because you aren't fighting filth and overcrowding and cannibalism. It just works out that way. While I would never eat an animal anyway, I still have a lot more respect for farmers who raise animals as animals, rather than as machines.

I guess I just have the audacity to hope that we will expect better from and for ourselves than brutalized, poorly fed animals pumped up on antibiotics.

Goodbye, Barak. Your lips have strayed to the asses of Midwestern pig farmers, and my heart is broken.

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