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  1.         In “Meat and Milk Factories”, Peter Singer and Jim Mason discuss the methods used on
  2. farms.  The authors also explain the living conditions used with cows, and the relation it has to
  3. human psychology.  Midway through the essay, the following question was presented.
  5. "Is it part of the gulf we draw between ourselves and other animals that leads farmers to
  6. talk of animals as 'farrowing' rather than 'giving birth,' 'feeding' rather than 'eating,' and
  7. 'gestating' rather than 'being pregnant'?"
  9. This seems like a simple question, and to me, it is.  However, the explanation is a bit
  10. deeper, like the question itself. The short answer is an obvious “yes.”
  12. We, as human beings, feel the need to place a barrier between the human race and
  13. anything else considered an animal.  In fact, it goes deeper than that.  Humans often separate
  14. themselves from other humans, in the form of racial barriers, sexist barriers, and the ever-heated
  15. debate of “straight versus gay” couples. As for the topic on hand, people will always deem it
  16. necessary to separate humans from other animals.  The main reason I see behind this is simple.  
  17. Humans want to stay on top of the food chain, and want it to become clear.
  19. To elaborate on this, let’s use an example.  A hunter will be the target for this scenario.  
  20. A hunter’s job is simple: He hunts and sells what he catches for money, whether it’s fur,
  21. skin, ivory, or a live animal.  Since he will be killing animals most of the time, he can’t
  22. afford to think of whether or not an animal’s family is alive.  He can’t waste time wondering
  23. about the semantics behind it.  He has a job, and he’ll do it, regardless of the target. Why is this?
  24. He views the target as an animal. It’s a creature, not a person. It doesn’t have feelings, as far as
  25. he’s concerned.
  26. Now, imagine animals could talk. The hunter can hear the animals he hunts crying and
  27. pleading as he goes after them. Does that get into your head? For the most part, it should.  The
  28. second you can understand someone or something talking, it instantly becomes harder to harm it,
  29. wouldn’t you agree?  Of course, that depends on the person you ask, but I’d still imagine hearing
  30. something crying like that would make an impact, regardless.  Technically speaking, all humans
  31. are mammals, and all mammals are animals.  Note how we feel the need to separate ourselves
  32. from everything else.
  34. Next is the subject of why cows aren’t “giving birth”, but “farrowing”.  Imagine, if you
  35. will, a pregnant woman. Before we even know the sex of the baby, we know one thing. The
  36. woman in question is going to be bringing a new life into the world.  As such, you don’t want her
  37. to suffer any kind of harm, physical or otherwise, right? So why is it that when a cow is
  38. pregnant, or any other animal for that matter, we are not nearly as sympathetic to her injuries? It
  39. is because the cow is not a person. Now, that probably sounds like a REALLY stupid statement,
  40. right?
  41. “Of course the cow isn’t a person, because it’s a cow!”
  42. Obvious statements aside, let me explain what I mean. In the human’s mind, anything
  43. that isn’t a human (and possibly, other humans he happens not to like) are beneath him.  Cows
  44. aren’t “on the same level” with humans.  Due to the ensuing thoughts, this makes cow a good
  45. source for food and nutrition.  Of course, if they’re allowed to run wild, it’d be hard to find them.  
  46. To resolve this, people place them in fenced-off areas. They can’t escape now.  To show
  47. similarities, let’s picture this.  Take a free man and place him in a jail cell.  He’ll begin to panic
  48. within the first ten minutes, guaranteed.  After that, he’ll begin to plead.  He’ll stop thinking
  49. logically, and become more and more desperate. Before long, he would’ve been reduced to
  50. begging on his hands and knees for freedom.  A cow is unable to convey all these emotions so
  51. easily, and is therefore reduced to making motions with his/her head, chewing on bars, etc.  
  52. Going back to the pregnant woman argument, have you ever wondered why we call a baby cow a
  53. calf?  To me, the answer is simple.  If we called a baby cow a baby, or even called a pregnant
  54. cow “pregnant”, the guilt would leave us unable to eat the cow so easily.  After all, nobody
  55. wants to eat a baby, right?  In a similar trend, who would be able to bear seeing a pregnant
  56. woman in a tiny cage, such as the ones the “farrowing” cows are placed in? Simply put, you
  57. wouldn’t, and you couldn’t.  I’m sure anyone who reads this knows a would-be mother who
  58. suffered a miscarriage.  Maybe you know a friend who does, instead.  The pain that comes from
  59. a miscarriage is terrible.  Now, some of these cows are pregnant their whole lives.  When they
  60. finally give birth, their babies are simply taken from them, and are most likely never seen again.
  61. When that mother finally “expends her usefulness”, she’s sentenced to death via the
  62. slaughterhouse.  Can you imagine a life of being pregnant, never to see the light of day? To make
  63. it worse, when you finally have your child, it simply disappears from your life forever.  You’re
  64. sentenced to a life of this, and when you’re finally free of it, you die.
  66. I personally cringe at the thought of this, and I’d imagine most people would also hate the
  67. thought of that kind of life.  So this raises the question: Why don’t we care when we inflict this
  68. life upon cows?  It’s the same most people don’t care that they’re mass-slaughtered, kept in
  69. pathetically cages, and never allowed freedom- They’re below humans. Humans are obsessed
  70. with rank and ensuring they remain on top of the pyramid.  Killing a dog is not equivalent to
  71. killing a human, and I doubt it ever will be.
  73. In closing, the reason we distinguish ourselves from animals like we do is equal parts
  74. natural and unnatural.  I believe it’s some part of a person’s sub-conscious to believe they are
  75. better at something, and it’s incredibly easy for that to come out against an animal like that.  It
  76. could also be self-justification, one of the mind’s self-defense tricks. To lessen the shock of
  77. seeing cows in this kind of living condition, our mind cushions the shock with “reasoning”, such
  78. as: “Oh, it’s just a cow, there’s tons of them. It’s not like a person’s dying or something. This
  79. happens everyday.” The ironic part about this is that at this point, there’s probably more people
  80. than cows, even if you take the slaughterhouse out of the equation.  To summarize, this position
  81. people have will probably always remain, even if the terms used for cows are changed.  It’s far
  82. too late for people to start caring enough for that to change, and the majority won’t care enough
  83. to try changing it, anyway.  For a species obsessed with self-growth and maintaining a dominant
  84. position, this is the only option we have in front of us, like it or not.
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