Those crazy kids at PETA are at it again: they put out an ad just in time for Thanksgiving, to try to dissuade all you evil meat-eaters from downing a turkey and fixin’s this year.
But there’s a slight twist on this year’s approach: instead of Pamela Anderson doing her darnedest to look earnest as she talks about KFC chickens being tortured, PETA has partnered with the friendly folks who brought you “Hannibal” for this cheery little number.
Gillian Anderson stars in this video, directed by “Hannibal” showrunner Bryan Fuller. I won’t reveal the surprise ending to the video, but suffice it to say it will resonate with “Hannibal” fans.
Fuller explains how his time working on “Hannibal” has changed his view on the food that he eats:
“I’ve found in writing “Hannibal” is that I’m humanizing animals in the same way that I look at actual human beings and seeing more similarities than I see differences. And so that has made it much more difficult to eat meat.”
A very important element of the Hannibal Lecter franchise, in my opinion, is to challenge the way we think of meat, and the way we think about what we eat. That is totally fair. Our bodies are made of meat– like, edible meat. At some point we have to come to terms with the fact that our smarty-pants human brains are stuck inside a meat-body.
I appreciate this PETA ad for asking us to reconcile ourselves with where our meat comes from: that is always a laudable goal.
But, for real, you guys, there is a big difference between eating an animal and eating a human. Animals are sentient, and have some limited intelligence, but they are not in the same intelligence class as humans. Let’s look at Descartes’ law: “I think, therefore I am.” Non-human animals have not achieved that level of cognition, that we know of.
Here’s my two cents’ worth: I am completely in-line with PETA in terms of kindness to animals, no animal testing, etc. I also believe in eating a local diet— the Hollywood folks in California can eat a local veggie-based diet relatively easily (with all the fabulous fat-filled avocados and coconuts growing locally).
But I live in Canada. I can grow vegetables outdoors for about four months of the year, maybe stretching it to six for root veg. The rest of the year, I am reliant on local farms and greenhouses for food, if I am to eat locally. I work hard to freeze and can a lot of my summer (and local farm) produce so that I can eat local produce all year.
I also purchase a half-cow, a half-pig, and a dozen or so chickens from local farms– all humanely raised and humanely killed, frozen in one of my three (!) freezers. I thank the animal as I prepare it, and discuss with my kiddos how important it is to respect dead animals. We need to treat living animals with kindness, and use the Golden Rule as our compass for how to treat them. When it comes time to kill them, we need to ensure that they don’t feel pain, physically or psychologically. We ensure not to waste any of their beautiful bodies.
Animals can be raised in an environmentally responsible way; in fact, animals are necessary to a small farm’s ecosystem. Livestock animals, plants, and humans all have a symbiotic relationship on a homestead. For example, chickens will happily peck at the ground for bugs and eat kitchen scraps from the family, snarfing down some grains here and there (which the farm can grow), then they poop out wonderful, nutrient rich fertilizer for the soil, which helps the plants grow. The humans eat the chickens’ eggs, then when the ol’ broads kick the bucket, humans eat the chicken meat. Almost a complete circle of life within less than an acre of land. Plus the humans, chickens, and plants all get ideal nourishment.
Don’t get me wrong: I stand 100% with PETA when it comes to factory farming. But the problem is the PETA doesn’t distinguish between factory farms and small, symbiotic farms and homesteads, and chooses to damn all omnivores.
This Thanksgiving, if PETA’s message resonates with you but you are unable (or unwilling!) to give up the ol’ turkey dinner, maybe just take a moment to thank the lovely animal that died for your meal. That’s the best way, in my opinion, to start being a more responsible omnivore.
Featured image is a screengrab from video.