Wednesday, January 12, 2011

the arrogance of human theories of utility

Mark Schatzker has made a fey career for himself as an apologist for the meat industry and father-knows-best, rat-pack propaganda. This latest misrepresentation of the issues (from skewering data to suit the contentious notion that horsemeat is fit for consumption, to glossing over the more-than-average nightmarishness of equine slaughterhouses) is just another notch in his junk belt.

What piqued my ire most is the argument,

"The majority of horses aren’t raised for the table. Only a small number – somewhere between 1 and 10 per cent – are born and raised expressly for human consumption. The others only become meat if and when their usefulness to humans has expired.

Yet this simple fact of horses’ existence makes slaughtering them imperative. When they’re too old to go on trail rides or too slow to win races, they may still live for another 10 or 15 years. Keeping horses requires land and money. The odd wealthy hobby farmer may be willing to support a horse through its golden years. But most owners just don’t have the money."

First of all, I think its high time we recognize our role and real responsibilities toward the animal kingdom. We've taken on a surreal bloat with our dominator follies of mind if we fancy ourselves overlords of the natural world. In truth we're nothing more than custodians who have forgotten our humble place in the chain of wonders on this planet, becoming instead dark exploitators and facile-minded collaborators in a rank, Orwellian nightmare.

"A small group of people argue that human beings were originally hunter-gatherers who evolved eating the flesh of animals. This is a self-serving myth that is simply historically inaccurate. This mythical view implies that human evolution began with the ice age (20,000 years ago), when meat-eating became temporarily essential for survival. This relatively recent time period is not the point of historical origin for humans on the planet, but it was a dark passage, in which our survival needs eclipsed our compassion and empathy." [Dr. Gabriel Cousens]

Before we shackled and domesticated our brethren and violated the integrity of the earth for profit and amusement, natural forces harmonized the rise and fall of populations and habitat. Contemporary insanity of the human herd at its worst fancies itself ultimate adjudicator over life and death as a way to mitigate its impotence in the face of larger cosmic and terrestrial dynamics. This is no different than the circuitous behaviour of bullies who flatter agents of authority, establishing records of good behaviour and submission, only to ruthlessly abuse the vulnerable the second an unobserved opportunity presents, making victims pay the toll for the bully's resentment of moral controls in the first.

That we have betrayed our moral compass in mass patterns of genocide, forcing emigration from the wild to organized work and death camps, harnessing the noble flora and fauna to human will-to-power and its attendant, unchecked madnesses is a mixed and shameful history. Hardly anywhere do we see examples of man working symbiotically with resources, either plant, mineral, soil or animal, and on the few occasions that we have, it's been either under resented duress or an uncommon, rebel effort denigrated by consumer apologists who would rather have no controls on their greed, disaffection, or appetites.

"The human ancestor called “Lucy” (Australopithecus afarensis) is believed to have walked the earth 3.2 million years ago, and her mandibular structure (spatulate canines) clearly indicates that she subsisted primarily on plants. In fact “her” canines were less developed than modern human canines, making an even stronger case for human nutrition being plant source. In all of the vertebrate world, the teeth structure tells us which animals are carnivorous or not. The bigger the canines, the more likely that species was and is designed for a carnivorous diet. Humans have clear plant-source-only teeth. There are several other anatomical reasons humans are plant-source-only, but the teeth is the strongest indicator." [Dr. Gabriel Cousens]

That many who take up the hobby of equine subordination find themselves overextended by the responsibilities they've undertaken is no excuse for butchery. The schizoid extension of a callous utility argument, this arrogant assumption that everything should be judged and quartered according to shifting human notions of what can be called to heel and exploited for short-term gain and base delectation, is only a heartbeat away from counsel to early euthanasia for the sick and the elderly who have become a burden to their careproviders or families.

"In the discussion there are two strong points that overwhelmingly support plants as humanity’s natural food. The first evidence is anatomical and genetic. The old adage “dentition determines diet” means that the shape of an animal’s teeth tell us what they are designed to eat. Skeletal remains of ancient humans show us that our dental structure has changed very little over millions of years. Our dental structure was designed to eat fruit, nuts, seeds, and greens. In truth, one need not look any farther than our closest mammalian relatives for nutritional tips. Humans share 99.4% of their genetic makeup with frugivorous chimpanzees. Dogs, to which humans are commonly compared to, by those trying to justify an omnivorous diet, share merely 75% homologous genes with humans." [Dr. Gabriel Cousens]

Its an atrocity that human forces have taken so well and so thoroughly to this fetishistic need to subordinate, imprison and torture other forms of life, allotting to ourselves a free and unapologetic reign to nurse and give form to a strain of sadism and lust for destruction without consequence that if applied to other humans would be an outrage. We insist on hocus pocus distinctions and de-sensitization campaigns to quell any niggling misgivings we might have about the truth of our conduct, and lock ourselves into a vicious cycle of murder, the consumption of violent proceeds, and the perpetuation of the selfish and low-brow states of mind and heart such a diet disposes to.

"Plant-source nutrition, however, has still been the primary diet of humanity during the last 10,000 years of recorded history. And there are many examples of cultures that thrived on plant-source-only nutrition, including Herodotus’ Pelagasians, who existed 5,000 years ago and had an average age of 200 years on close to a 100% live food plant-source-only diet. (I actually visited Greece to verify their existence and where they lived.) Herodotus, the father of history, also pointed out that plant-source-only cultures were less war-like, and more spiritually and culturally evolved.

Such famous vegetarians include: Leonardo de Vinci, Pythagoras, Pluto, Plutarch, St. Francis of Assisi, Martin Luther, Isaac Newton, Voltaire, John Wesley, Benjamin Franklin, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Susan B. Anthony, Leo Tolstoy, Henry Ford, Mahatma Gandhi, and Albert Einstein. Plant-source-only cultures included the Essenes, the Hunzas, the Aztecs, the Mayans, the Zapotec, the Native American Choctaws, and the ancient Cherokees. It is significant that two major studies by Native Americans themselves showed that 60% of Native Americans were agriculturalists subsisting primarily on plants. The buffalo culture that emerged on the Great Plains was short-lived and was the direct result of European invasion and influence. The teachings of the White Buffalo Calf Women was to be plant-source-only, unless there were no other foods to eat; and then the buffalo would offer itself for survival food." [Dr. Gabriel Cousens]

Horses, like all animals, should be repatriated into the wilds where they belong, and those that are destined to participate in human custodianship should be treated as equals with full recourse to the same code of rights we afford ourselves. Any attempt at neutralizing world conflicts, all efforts to eliminate the maintaining causes of poverty and suffering, will ever come to nought until we rebuild from the ground up a consistently moral code of being, reassigning to the planet, its resources and cells of consciousness, the royal, sacred role reductionist boohoo rationality has robbed it of. The world is not for us to plunder, it is our teacher and essential co-factor. We forget this at our continued peril.

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