Letter writer: Why invite a slaughterhouse to Asheville?

Graphic by Lori Deaton

I’d like to second the sentiments expressed last week in a letter by Miriam Hard, “Slaughterhouse ‘Blues’ Is Shocking” [Sept. 21, Xpress]. She voices distress at “the violence that we are capable of as human beings with our meat-eating habits.” I share her shock and distress in the depths of my soul.

Here’s a quiz for you. What is the most vegan city in the world? And the most vegan country? The answers: Berlin and Israel.The Israeli army actually makes vegan meals available for soldiers. And what is the common history that Germans and Israeli Jews share? The Holocaust. And yes, Israeli animal rights activists actually use the language of “the Holocaust of the animals.” The striking difference, however, is in the numbers. If you added Hitler’s and Stalin’s and Pol Pot’s mass killings together, you’d get but a fraction of the billions of animals slaughtered in a year for our dining pleasure.

Why would we want to invite into our Asheville community an industry with an exceedingly high rate of mental illness and suicide among its workers? By the same token, how can meat eaters, Holocaust-like, avert their eyes and cover their ears to the horrors of slaughter so that they may “unknowingly” consume the flesh of other sentient creatures.

Conservative speech writer Matthew Scully, in his 2002 book, Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy, writes: “When every year tens of millions of creatures go to their death without knowing the least measure of human kindness, it is time to question the old assumptions, to ask what we are doing and what spirit drives us on.”

I implore you to pause between bites, think about it, hear their cries, and then, think again.

— Cynthia Sampson

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42 thoughts on “Letter writer: Why invite a slaughterhouse to Asheville?

  1. suerenity1

    I agree with you Cynthia. thanks for sharing this! Too gruesome to even imagine! We need to show compassion for ALL life!

    • suerenity1

      Yes Cynthia, from today’s program (Blessing of Annimals’ Day)”Humanity’s true moral test…consists of its attitude towards those who are at its mercy : animals-
      and of course, there’s Gandhi’s quote- “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” Many others, aside from quotes, the golden rule needs to apply to people and to animals too! (especially today when we have so many alternative healthy food choices!)

      • Cynthia Sampson

        Thank you for your responses. Yesterday (Sunday), the day of the Blessing of the Animals that you refer to, I wore my T-shirt with the Gandhi quote on it that you cite: “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated”. We’re on the same page!

  2. Negrodamus

    Why invite a slaughterhouse to Asheville?

    Be a visionary. Look at it as an opportunity to be transformational! Not a slaughterhouse (oh gag!), but an artisan abattoir (such irresistible sophisticated international flair) with a trendy name like Slaughterhouse Five (Google you literary dilettantes!). Imagine the benefits to our local healers: development of revolutionary hoof reflexology; deep tissue massage on cows plied with local craft beers producing tenderized beef rivaling Kobe beef; end-if-life counseling with empathetic poetry readings – “Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light!” It’s just a win-win all around. Think transformational! (Forsooth! I foresee a TEDx invitation forthcoming)

    • The Real World

      LOL….hilarious! Thanks for the levity.

      Forsooth….now there’s a word I haven’t heard in a long while.

    • Cynthia Sampson

      Ahhh, so poetic, so visionary. So Ashevillian. Ditto on “forsooth”. Send me a link, please, when the TEDx video is posted.

      • Negrodamus

        Not that long ago it actually would have been very Ashevillian. There used to be a rendering plant down by the river. It smelled really bad driving by it. Disgustingly bad. People who worked there would get that smell in their skin. How do I know? A neighbor worked there and came home smelling so bad sometimes that he and his wife would get into ungodly fights over it. I’m talking windows open, screaming at the top of their lungs. Sounded like they were going to kill each other. Poor guy, he was just trying to make a living.

  3. Val

    But does ISREAL really count? They may be kind to animals; yet slaughter Palestinians….
    !!Free GAZA!!

    • Deplorable Infidel

      do palistinians really count? where is the country of palestine ? FREE ISRAEL !

      • Val

        The country of Palestine (if mentioned as such by a Republican candidate in the company of Zionist campaign donors; quickly sink in the polls … Ask pig man Chris Christie!) has been completely taken over by ISREAL.

        • Lulz

          LOL, so funny. A liberal loon who hates Jews yet have you looked at a lot of the last names of those on the left and in the media? They’re all secular Jews. So why do American Jews hate Israel? Better yet, why do American Jews hate America? Let me give you a clue as to what I mean. Bothwell, Newman, Manheimer, etc are all Jews.

          • Val

            U are such a simpleton…. What would make you conclude I hate Jews??? B/c I recognize they oppress Palestinians? Would that make me “hate Jews”?

    • Cynthia Sampson

      I’m with you, Val, on the Israeli State’s treatment of the Palestinians. I revile what they do, like destroying Palestinian gardens so they need to buy high-priced produce from the Jews. But then, neither side is above reproach in their destructiveness and feeding hatred. This is conjecture, but I’d like to think that vegan animal rights activists on either side of the conflict would have a different stance toward the other side than their governments do. If they abhor all violence towards nonhuman animals, do they abhor violence among their human neighbors too? And as for the Israeli military making vegan meals available, since military service in Israel is obligatory, again, I’d like to think that maybe, just maybe, the vegan soldiers are of a different stripe. That in some small way they are setting a moral example.

  4. John Penley

    Well, killling any human and animal life is terrible, but one thing your choice of examples proves is that being Vegan and not killing animals does not make a human being less likely to slaughter other humans.

    • Sue Taylor

      From my experience, the vegetarian people I have met are compassionate- to people and to animals!

    • Cynthia Sampson

      Please see my response to Val above. I guess how we might extrapolate out from your comment, John, is to apply that test to vegans everywhere. Certainly Germany is not a violent State any more; and in fact has taken in a great many refugees fleeing war and devastation. As for the United States, there are millions of vegans like myself here; in fact the fastest growing demographic is Millennials. But our government practices violence abroad; and we see people-on-people violence in our prisons and cities and countrysides and schools and universities and roadways and the list goes on and on. I’m not sure that reflects on my veganism, however, as I do not knowingly engage in violence of any kind, whether against animals or people. Referencing Sue Taylor’s comment, the vegans I know are all “compassionate — to people and to animals!” There is, however, often a correlation between abuse of people and abuse of animals on the part of violent offenders.

      • boatrocker

        I’ve always wondered- do vegans breast feed or are they the ones who ‘booby shame’ women in public who do as milk from a human is still milk?

  5. Scotty Morgan

    An old Indian saying: “A vegetarian is just a poor hunter”

  6. Bright

    Asheville…you call yourself high minded? You are heading in the same direction as failed cities have. Don’t have enough bloodshed in the world? Well, hey, bring it to your city…bloodshed is bloodshed. “You kill the animal; you eat the animal; then the animal kills you.”

  7. boatrocker

    After much cogitation,
    yes- let’s bring a slaughterhouse to Asheville.

    Thanks to all the cute references to Vonnegut’s novel that has absolutely nothing to do with slaughterhouses.
    I doubt any righty shills who reference that author have read any of his works except “Harrison Bergeron”, which Rush/O’Reilly/Hannity types love to cite as a ‘source’. Don’t sully one of my favorite writers, Tea Partiers. Next thing you’ll tell me is Orwell was a free market capitalist.

    I say yes to a slaughterhouse in Asheville for the following reasons-

    1- Let’s put it right in the heart of the restaurant district, wherever that may be. The same way that if you use a phone made in an Asian sweatshop, you should be able to see the child labor involved for your addiction to convenience. You know, the same factories who put nets outside the windows for all the suicides from deplorable working conditions such that ‘Muricans can use their thumbs to ‘communicate’.

    2- Let’s see how the Chamber of Commerce/Tourism types would spin a slaughterhouse in full view, smell, and earshot of where the precious little flowers of the almighty tourism industry eat.

    3- Hey, at least it’s local, right?

    4- Maybe the outtatown hoteliers could allow employees who work there to live within (gasp!) eyesight of the folks who can afford a $300 a night room.
    As in forcing them to make eye contact with the people they snap their fingers at and
    (in the words of Kat, a writer for you guys, paraphrased- ‘ask for more ranch dressing’- if a Mtn x writer says it, well, it is truth).

    5- Let’s just make Floridiot,Charlotte and various other tourists feel uncomfortable, much like when White America found out last year during the Superbowl that Beyonce is black.

    • Lulz

      LOL, white America is awake. It’s the bubble living elite that are some how not realizing the sleeping giant that they’re prodding. Beyonce would do good to go without police escorts and protection while out in public.

      • boatrocker

        Exactly, because somewhere out there is a Stormfront. org type with a rifle waiting for the right moment to put her in the same place as say
        Dr. Rev. Mrtin Luther King, Jr. Thanks for encouraging all those loons, loon.

      • Bright

        …secondarily, consider setting forth a plan to cordon off those insulting sightseeing busses (i.e., the purple assininity that drives around and parks in front of the French Broad Food Coop). Long time residents of Aville don’t appreciate being inconvenienced by these tourists who seem to have nothing more to do than use the bathrooms and be ignorant. Perhaps a zoo type arena that’s self-contained…

  8. Oz Thomas

    I became a vegetarian over a dozen years ago and later a vegan because I couldn’t square my beliefs with the way animals are treated in slaughterhouses and even in farms labeled free range and pasture raised as there is little one has to do to put these labels on a food.
    Being a vegetarian was a difficult process, but worth it because I felt it was worth it. I think many people become vegetarian for similar reasons, and I see that you find relieveing suffering a valueable thing to pursue, however I do not see the association of the holocaust with slaughterhouses an effective argument or a good way to win people over.
    Argument for shock value is not effective, but there are other ways to influence people. Be a good person and a vegetarian and your influence will be felt without forcing your point. Educate people about what labels like free range actually mean. Allow people the choice to make their own decisions.
    Being compleately vegan is quite difficult and some people are not able to process vegetables as well, but many have changed due to the education of the masses and the influence of good vegan people. Making arguments for shock value is in my opinion only sure to scare people away from you and paints the community in a bad light.

    • boatrocker

      Most vegetarians I’ve met could not grow a garden to save their lives. Most hunters I’ve met can grow a garden and give thanks to their creator of choice for The Circle of Life. Omnivores Matter.

    • Cynthia Sampson

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Oz Thomas. This letter to the editor was certainly a departure for me. A previous letter lifted up what great mothers farmed animals are (https://mountainx.com/opinion/letter-writer-celebrate-mothers-day-with-kindness-to-animal-mothers-too/; posted on May 6, 2015). Another somewhat more graphic piece asked “creation care” types what part of creation qualifies for our care, what part doesn’t make the cut, and on what basis do they draw the line (AVL Citizen-Times, “What qualifies as creation that is worthy of our care? June 16, 2014). I also know from my professional work that “people are different,” and different personality types are motivated in different ways: some by positive messages/examples, some by (yes) shame, and others by other kinds of messages/motivations (culture, religion, ideology, narcissistic self interest, etc., etc.) Sometimes one needs to call a spade a spade. It’s not for everybody, but that’s the choice I made this time. I hear the animals’ cries, and if my letter motivates one person to pause between bites and think again, it will have been worth it. I’m grateful for the lively conversation the letter has generated here in these comment boxes!

        • Cynthia Sampson

          Of course they do! Nothing could be more natural than for a baby to nurse at his/her mother’s breast, including nonhuman babies nursing from their nonhuman mothers. Humans are the only species that so massively and brutally exploits the mother’s milk of another species. I’ll spare you the specifics of the dairy industry, but could dig out a source or two if you want to know more.

          • boatrocker

            Oh my goodness thank you so much for answering that question, Ms. Sampson. For not being a vegan I’ve often wondered and you’re the first to actually address that point here.

            If I’m hearing you correctly, ‘human booby milk’ (to use the proper medical definition) is ok, but milk from critters in a 3’x3′ pen is not.
            Cool- I get it.

            Now if only I could get a vege/vegetarian to address the idea of the American Indian ‘Circle of Life’ for hunting as it applies to vege/vegans, I’d gladly stop asking so many uncomfortable questions.

  9. ApePeeD

    That’s a leap of logic there.

    Because Jews do it and Germans do it and because of the Holocaust and oh, my, god, you should do it, too.


    • boatrocker

      Agreed. The Germans gave us polka music, but no thanks.
      Jews (the more by the book type) don’t eat bacon or shellfish.
      Shrimp and bacon from my cold dead hands.

      I still say a slaughterhouse should be built right where all the tourists can see, hear and smell it.
      What could possibly go wrong?

      • The Real World

        Point of clarification: polka music originated early to mid 19th century in the Czech Republic (then Czechoslovakia).

        I don’t get locals who disparage “the tourists”. How do people not grasp that without them we would have probably HALF the number of terrific local businesses, artists, musicians, etc. than we currently do? No way the local population could support all of this great stuff.

        • boatrocker

          Maybe 1/2 of all the great stuff in town is enough and 2/2 (or the current amount) is simply overkill.
          Do you really need 1 million restaurants and breweries to choose from?
          Ever heard of Thomas Malthus’ idea of a carrying capacity? If not, the modern day hippies simply call it

          Free market capitalism in its purest form is often compared to cancer, which kills the host with
          unregulated growth.

          And great, so polka music originated in the Czech Republic. It doesn’t make it any more palatable to these ears
          oom pah oom pah pah.

          How did Asheville, praytell, previously support 1/2 of all the great music, art, food, festivals etc before the hoteliers gently took us by the hand and showed us the light? Does an obnoxious purple bus really = progress?

          • Negrodamus

            One man’s art is another person’s garbage. The times, they are a changin’…

        • NFB

          Not the mention a large number of the people who complain about tourists first came to Asheville as tourists themselves.

          • boatrocker

            I kinda liked the fact that Asheville was a nice mountain town in a nice area of the country and I was familiar with the WNC area for growing up within a tank of gas from here and working here for a few years before moving. A gal or two had something to do with it, and so did rivers you can paddle as well as those pretty mountains.

            Had I known then, I would have just built a hotel with a bunch of restaurants, microbreweries and yoga studios in it.
            Ahhh, 20/20 hindsight.

            If a slaughterhouse comes to this area, I predict it will be well hidden from the city so as to ‘keep up appearances’.

          • NFB

            “I kinda liked the fact that Asheville was a nice mountain town in a nice area of the country ”

            So did a lot of people. That’s why they came here as tourists (and Asheville has been a tourist town virtually since its founding so that’s really nothing new) and then decided to move here and then started complaining about tourists and people moving here. Great for them to do, horrid for others to do.

          • Negrodamus

            IMO it’s only horrid when they drive up the cost of living, bring their big city ways with them, and/or californicate the place.

    • Cynthia Sampson

      My leap of logic is that Germans and Jews understand the Holocaust and that many of them are making the evolutionary leap to cease exploiting other species — to not participate in “the Holocaust of the animals” … to not subject other creatures to what their ancestors, in the case of Germany, subjected other humans to, or in the case of Israeli Jews, were subjected to.

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