Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Truth and Non-Violence versus "Happy Meat"

I use the principle of non-violent approximation in my blog entry on anti-cruelty laws, from August 20, 2012. I argue simply that it minimizes violence to animals to eradicate factory farming. However, it does not minimize violence to animals to use a deceptive euphemism such as “happy meat”. We need to push back against such commercial slogans.

Here are some violations associated with the phrase "happy meat":

  1. It is designed to pump consumers to buy meat, which is wrong to encourage as eating meat is ethically wrong: it violates animals.
  2. It violates the truth to say that animals are “meat”. That is like saying a human being is "meat" which people do when they have oppressive attitudes: cynical contempt for those killed in war, oppressive comments on women, and so on. Thinking of animals as "meat" only conduces towards their violation as though it is already a done deal or after the fact. Yet many animal murders for flesh-eating are impending.
  3. The truth is violated once again because meat is part of a corpse and can be neither happy nor unhappy. It is a logically incoherent notion.
  4. Finally, Gandhi's twin chief beloved ideals of truth and non-violence are transgressed because the animals themselves are not happy in slaughterhouses, whatever innovations Temple Grandin may have leveraged on some "industries".
So "happy meat" is neither happy nor could meat even intelligibly be happy. This is corporate garbage-talk of the first order. When the Francionists try to associate such language with anti-cruelty law advocates, they are creating a straw man argument (technically: an argument attributed to an opponent that the latter does not really hold). Guess what? The straw man you've created is smiling back at you. But I myself do not smile at linguistic abominations such as "happy meat". I'm grateful to Spencer Lo for asking me about this slogan as he is writing his own very thoughtful commentary on this topic.

P.S. Some people will have well-intended concerns about spikes in meat consumption leading to more suffering and death. But such concerns do not map out a long-term, comparative pattern. To see how this pans out, please read my article linked to here.


A Selection of Related Articles

Sztybel, David. "Animal Rights Law: Fundamentalism versus Pragmatism". Journal for Critical Animal Studies 5 (1) (2007): 1-37.

go there

Short version of "Animal Rights Law".

go there

Sztybel, David. "Incrementalist Animal Law: Welcome to the Real World".

go there

Sztybel, David. "Sztybelian Pragmatism versus Francionist Pseudo-Pragmatism".

go there

A Selection of Related Blog Entries

Anti-Cruelty Laws and Non-Violent Approximation

Use Not Treatment: Francione’s Cracked Nutshell

Francione Flees Debate with Me Again, Runs into the “Animal Jury”

The False Dilemma: Veganizing versus Legalizing

Veganism as a Baseline for Animal Rights: Two Different Senses

Francione's Three Feeble Critiques of My Views

Startling Decline in Meat Consumption Proves Francionists Are Wrong Once Again!

The Greatness of the Great Ape Project under Attack!

Francione Totally Misinterprets Singer

Francione's Animal Rights Theory

Francione on Unnecessary Suffering

My Appearance on AR Zone

D-Day for Francionists

Sztybel versus Francione on Animals' Property Status

The Red Carpet

Playing into the Hands of Animal Exploiters

The Abolitionist ApproachES

Francione's Mighty Boomerang

Dr. David Sztybel Home Page

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