Letter writer: Eating meat is bad for animals, you and our planet

Graphic by Lori Deaton

[Last] week’s article glorifying butchers [“The Art of Butchery: An Ancient Craft is Reborn in Asheville,” July 15, Xpress] and the recent one calling for a local slaughterhouse [“The slaughterh­ouse debate: Will WNC Farmers Get a Local Meat Processing Plant?,” June 17, Xpress] prompted me to write. Besides the cruelty of what actually happens there, slaughterhouses are dangerous for workers and pollute our environment. Please see http://avl.mx/1d4.

Call it what you want, but given the choice, the animal would have chosen to live, regardless of whether he or she knew they would be “respectfully” hacked to pieces after being killed.

Yes, it would be nice if the pig that you eat for breakfast didn’t live in a cage pumped full of chemicals. But what does this have to do with “artisan’ butchering?”  And more importantly, animals don’t “offer” themselves up for killing, slaughter and consumption.

All this seems to be an attempt to make people feel OK with eating another sentient animal. As more information comes out about how horrible the conditions are for farmed animals, people are looking for justification for their support of such atrocities.

We are horrified when we hear about other cultures that eat animals we call pets. How are animals we call “food” any different?

Animal products are largely responsible for obesity and the disease epidemic occurring in our country today. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine has excellent information about plant-based diets and health. Please see the website for more information: http://avl.mx/1d5

No matter how you slice, package and sell them, animal parts and products are bad for them, you and our planet.

Ashevilleans consider themselves to be enlightened and aware. Let’s act like it.

— Ann Green


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20 thoughts on “Letter writer: Eating meat is bad for animals, you and our planet

  1. NFB

    Well, it wouldn’t be Mountain Xpress if there wasn’t a least one letter from a member of the self righteous food police proclaiming those who don’t live they way they do aren’t “enlightened and aware” enough to live in Asheville.

    Thus we have this week’s lecture.

    Carry on.

    • chris

      And it wouldn’t be the Mountain Xpress if someone didn’t show up to basically say “screw that, I’ll do what I want when I want, just cuz. FREEDOMS!”

      No one said you weren’t “enlightened and aware” enough. They said, essentially, “those who consider themselves enlightened and aware should act that way”.

      I don’t think anyone would ever expect that from you.

  2. Eye Roller

    Some animals taste really, really good. Let’s shut down every food joint in town that serves meat…basically all of them. Save the animals, screw people.

  3. jack

    Please do some research if you are going to talk about food. Livestock that is kept in small enclosures (which contributes to the poor quality of the muscle) fed grain i.e. mostly corn (‘you are what you eat’ goes for animals too) is going to be unhealthy. However, livestock, for instance cows, that are allowed to graze naturally on grass, and are not fed corn and other grains, is actually very healthy in the right quantities.

    • Guy

      A lot of animals raised as livestock wouldn’t even exist these days without management by humans. They likely wouldn’t survive in the wild competing with the growth of human population and displacement of other species, and you would not see the diversity we have today of farmed animals if it weren’t for the history of humans participating in animal husbandry. Humans actively improve the genetics of said loved animals and give them a chance at happy life as opposed to not existing at all. It’s a tricky balance and not all meat production business are to be supported but it seems wrong to suggest we should not consume animals that we love to eat, love to manage, and that provide us nutrition when consumed responsibly. Consider that there is a a great deal of responsibility involved if one chooses to not eat meat as well. Like knowing where vegetables came from. Seems that getting vegetables from Peru and California has a great negative impact on the environment as well. Also consider the countless groundhogs, earthworms, and microorganism murdered each year to help perpetuate vegetable farming businesses.

  4. Jim

    Wrong. The cause of obesity, especially in kids, is the paranoid culture of mostly women who shelter them behind locked doors under the guise of “safety”. It’s the same mentality that equated spanking to “child abuse”. The culture is manipulated by a bunch of psychopaths and “intellectuals” who belong in looney bins. And in the past would’ve been ridiculed and scolded instead of given credibility.

  5. Stewart

    Great letter, Ann. Don’t let these nasty comments get you down, people will do and say most anything to try to justify their desire for flesh.

    “As long as human beings go on shedding the blood of animals, there will never be any peace. There is only one little step from killing animals to creating gas chambers a la Hitler and concentration camps a la Stalin. There will be no justice as long as a man will stand with a knife or with a gun and destroy those who are weaker than he is.”

    Isaac Bashevis Singer, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor

    • Jason

      I’ve never heard of this person that you quoted but the idea that it’s just a “little step” from killing animals to mass genocide of humans has to be one out the most outlandish, hyperbolic things I’ve ever heard.

      • NFB

        But, unfortunately, vegan activists thrive on hyperbole. I understand and appreciate that there are ethical issues involved in dietary choices (that includes meat, but it also includes the poor conditions HUMAN farm workers must suffer through to pick fruit and vegetables, something we never hear about from the vegan food police) but any prospect I had of becoming a vegan vanished years ago in that very hyperbole: the kind of hyperbole that insisted to me (and still does) that a chicken is the moral equivalent of a human being.

        • Tracy Rose

          The rest of this part of the thread seems to be basically name-calling, which doesn’t advance the discussion at all. Please stick to critiquing the ideas, not the people voicing those idea.

    • NFB

      I dare say that the vast majority of Holocaust survivors would be deeply, deeply offended that raising animals for food is anywhere near comparable to the horrors they suffered and that Singer in no way speaks for them.

      I’d also dare say that the vast majority of Holocaust survivors were and are meat eaters. Kosher, perhaps, but meat eaters all the same.

      • Stewart


        I agree, the majority of Holocaust survivors would, indeed, be offended for the comparison. Hey, we agree on something! :-)
        But the majority of people have supported all sorts of atrocities, and looking to the majority for our moral guidance is problematic. I addressed this in a May 2002 letter to the editor in a Mountain Xpress, I’ll paste it below. While I expect you will disagree, I hope you will at least take the time to read it and understand that the comparison does not come without thought. Thanks.

        Comparing animal slaughter to Holocaust victims is fair

        Jane Carter’s letter [May 1] took Kayla Worden to task for her letter referring to animals being slaughtered while fully conscious (a common slaughterhouse occurrence) as modern-day holocaust victims. Ms. Carter asks that we watch a few interviews with survivors of the Holocaust, and then see if we “can compare the Holocaust to the plight of cramped chickens.”

        Believe me, Ms. Carter, I have not only seen interviews, I have lived among the survivors. As a Jew growing up in Chicago shortly after World War II, I had friends whose parents survived the death camps. Most memorable was my best friend’s mother – a woman with only one arm, a woman I never once remember smiling. Her other arm was apparently torn off in a tug of war by some drunken Nazi soldiers. But that was just the best guess gleaned from questions that mostly went unanswered; no one wanted to talk much about the atrocities. The memories were too fresh. People just wanted to put [the experiences] behind them, work hard, and dream of a better life for their children and for the family members that survived. Rarely was there a reference to the Nazis. The one exception I vividly remember was my grandmother spitting at my first Volkswagen Bug. She never would step inside that car.

        Between five and six million Jews (and millions of non-Jews) were killed by the Nazis. This was an egregious injustice, to say the least. More than 10 billion animals raised for food will lose their lives this year in America alone. They will suffer horrific mutilations and indignities from the day they are born until their throats are slit. Isn’t it counterproductive to waste time deciding who suffers more, which crime is greater?

        It is exactly this attitude – that some lives are more important than others – that perpetuates most injustices. Violence is violence, whether inflicted on a human or non-human animal. It is just plain common sense that if you truly believe in justice, you cannot treat animals unjustly simply because they are unable to defend themselves. If you work for social justice, I commend you and urge you to continue the fight. But try as you might, it is often difficult to influence world events. The one place you can have a positive, life-affirming effect every day is at the dinner table. Becoming a vegetarian – or better yet, a vegan – is an easy way to immediately reduce the suffering in the world.

        For an enlightening discussion of the comparisons between animal exploitation in the United States and Hitler’s Final Solution, I recommend reading Dr. Charles Patterson’s recently published book, Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust. The title of the book comes from a quote by Nobel Laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer, to whom the book is dedicated. Mr. Singer said, “In relation to them, all people are Nazis: for the animals it is an eternal Treblinka.”

        When Ms. Worden refers to the suffering of animals as a holocaust, she is in good company.

        – Stewart David

    • NFB

      “I am not afraid of forgetfulness. I am afraid of banalization, of trivialization and this is part of it.”

      Elie Wiesel, Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor on comparisons of meat with the Holocaust

      • mynameis

        You trit out one holocaust survivor in an attempt to trump the words of another holocaust survivor?

  6. Stewart

    Hey Jason,

    Isaac Bashevis Singer was a Holocaust survivor and won a Nobel Prize for literature.

    Heard of this guy?
    “As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.”
    Leo Tolstoy

    or this guy? “The most violent weapon on earth is the table fork.”


    • Jason

      Thanks Stewart, believe it or not, I can read and all that information about Singer was in your original post. All I said was I’d never heard of him. Thanks for the verification though. And yes, I’ve heard of Tolstoy and Gandhi as well.

      None of those things do anything to change the fact that suggesting there is a “small step” between killing animals and mass genocide is about the same as suggesting there is a “small step” between a person masturbating and a person becoming a rapist.

      • The Real World

        Jason – You are splitting hairs in an attempt to not get the fundamental point that Bashevis Singer and others have made. It’s an utterly valid point. Perhaps you actually don’t comprehend it, that’s possible.

        I have zero doubt that if humans no longer killed animals, there would also be a significant decrease in human against human violence. I hadn’t ever thought about that way before but I can totally see the rationale.

        LOVE the quotes, Stewart….thank you!

      • Stewart

        Hey Jason,

        First, my apologies, I didn’t mean to be snarky or sarcastic when I repeated that Singer was a Holocaust survivor and won a Nobel Prize. When you said you had never heard of him, I just typed in the info, forgetting I had put it in my original post. I should have looked before repeating.

        Now, let me elaborate about how being violent to animals is related to violence towards other humans. In the view of those of us who have extended our circle of compassion beyond the species barrier, eating animals requires embracing a “might makes right” philosophy. Once that is accepted, what are the limitations? Certainly, historically speaking, the violence perpetuated on women, minorities, those of different sexual preference, etc., is, at some level, based on “might makes right.”

        Here is another quote that is relevant: “As long as humanity continues to be the ruthless destroyer of other beings, we will never know health or peace. For as long as people massacre animals, they will kill each other. Indeed, he who sows the seed of murder and pain cannot reap joy and love. –Pythagoras

        And one more: “I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.” Leonardo Da Vinci“

  7. Stewart

    What a weird analogy. Unlike a rapist, a person masturbating doesn’t harm someone else.

    “The animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for whites or women for men.” Alice Walker

  8. Mel

    Killing animals and eating meat is MURDER. I would write more, but I am running late for my prescription of mifepristone in combination with a prostaglandin analog – but if I am past 9 weeks, I will go for a suction-aspiration or a Dilation and Curettage (D&C).

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