In case you haven’t noticed yet you should know that we are all in deep shit. Nature itself is turning on us, and the damage caused to the world by people in the past fifty years alone has triggered a series of climatic changes that already look to be moving towards a global catastrophe of extinction event magnitude. Each one of us is complicit in the very destruction on the only planet we can call home. What never fails to amaze me is how little the vast majority of us care about what we are doing and the consequences of our actions. Our choices, not only at the ballot box, but in the supermarket, the petrol station, and the bank, are in themselves tiny mutations, but taken by billions in their hundreds of thousands they have amassed to create a tidal wave of destruction. Modern living has so alienated us from the world that we are content to delegate our responsibility for the environment to compromised political systems and corporations that are by their very nature incapable of moral reflection. Few of us are aware just how very vulnerable we have made ourselves in the hands of deeply psychotic and inhuman institutions, but this is our reality.
In the United States of America, the most prosperous industrialised nation on the face of the earth, a country of no less than 319 million people, there are only thirteen slaughterhouses. The average American consumes an average of 120 kg of meat per year – meaning that each mammoth meat processing plant must produce almost three million metric tonnes of meat annually. This works out at thirty-two-and-a-half million heads of cattle, eight-and-a-half billion chickens, one-hundred-and-twelve million pigs, two million sheep, and two-hundred-and-forty-million turkeys (and the rest). Other than the horrifying scale of this industrial butchery we have to calculate the effects of the fossil fuels consumed in transport, storage, and refrigeration by this single industry – the profits of which benefit just four Goliath corporations. For all the ‘food’ these factories produce there is no such thing as a free lunch. Farming at this scale inflicts terrible damage on the environment, and the standardised use of growth hormones, antibiotics, and chemicals in these processes are now killing human beings. This is a single industry among thousands like it in a single nation. It all adds up. A long time ago we, as a civilisation, crossed the line of planet earth’s sustainability.
A note on the disturbing video: I had a few worries about sharing this video. It is distressing in the extreme. I have made the decision to share it because these creatures are intelligent and they feel as much pain as we do. Had these be scenes of cruelty towards people there would be an outcry. Animals – these animals – somehow do not merit our concern. Yet they are no different from the animals you and I love and care for as family pets. The choice to eat some and not others is arbitrary.