How do we get from kindness to animals to "let’s slaughter them"?

On any given week, you'll find the Xpress teeming with pleas for adopting homeless dogs and cats. You'll also find multiple ads offering to sell you pieces of dead chickens, pigs, cows etc. Such is the schizophrenic relationship between humans and animals.

Rarely, though, will you come across so much ink devoted to eating a species that many consider to be a companion animal (see "A great appearing act: Rabbit shows up on local plates," Sept. 2). The article chronicled the growing local demand for rabbit flesh, yet the only mention of ethical considerations was to note that customers have "apparently recovered from the Easter Bunny syndrome that struck the rabbit industry a few decades ago." A local restaurateur referred to his presentation of rabbit corpses by saying: "They're really cute."

Health author Harvey Diamond highlighted the natural affinity children have for animals this way: "You put a baby in a crib with an apple and a rabbit. If it eats the rabbit and plays with the apple, I'll buy you a new car." I suspect the restaurateur's kids would find the bunnies cuter alive than dead. As they grow, children are taught to offer kindness to some species and to either take pleasure in or, at best, be indifferent to the suffering of others.

In most states, you can be charged with a felony if you are cruel to an animal. Yet many of the same states, including North Carolina, specifically exempt egregious institutional cruelties inflicted upon animals raised for food. I've often wondered why different societies choose to revere some species and eat others. It's clearly not based on intelligence, since chickens score higher on cognitive function tests than do dogs or cats. And it's well-known that pigs are much smarter than dogs. Cuteness must not be the criteria, as most people likely find a bunny more pleasing to the eye than, say, a bulldog.

English philosopher Jeremy Bentham said, "The question is not, can they reason? Nor, can they talk? But, can they suffer?" If we seek a kinder, gentler world, why not start at the dinner table? For recipes and other information, visit

— Stewart David


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10 thoughts on “How do we get from kindness to animals to "let’s slaughter them"?

  1. travelah

    … by getting the grill up to 500 degrees and sizzzzzzling those succulent steaks and ribs. The only thing cruel is delaying my sitting to the table.

    … give your seedpodder advocacy a break. Everytime you post one of these silly excuses for a letter, I just get a hankerng for something meaty … pulled pork, bacon, marinated steaks …. ahhh chicken breasts grilled with a cajun rub …… write another letter .. quick now.

  2. Bernard P

    Thank you Stewart for a well written and logical article. I may add that different cultures around the globe prefer different animals as “food”. In Southest Asia, dogs and cats are killed, butchered, and eaten. Yet if you did that here, and were caught, you’d be charged with cruelty to animals. In India, the cow is revered because cows are the source of milk, cheese, yogurt, and ice cream for the strict lacto-vegetarian Hindus. I don’t know the laws there, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it is illegal there to kill, butcher, and eat a cow. Yet here in this country, people think nothing of going to a market and buying “hamburger” for supper. Go figure.

    I say, if it has a face and suffers in the process of pleasing our palates, then it is a bad thing. One can live a much healthier, and moral, lifestyle by choosing not to eat meat. In fact, heavy red meat consumption is a major cause of cancer, heart trouble and obesity.

    Let’s start thinking about what we are eating, and how it got on our plates.

  3. joeinmadco

    When I was a wee little ‘un, I had a natural affinity to feed from my mom’s boobs and pee in my pants. Should I do these things as an adult too?

    Bernard, since you speak of logic and ethics so confidently, you should easily realize that Stew’s letter is nothing more than an attempt at emotional appeal.

    And, by the way, rabbit is pretty good.

  4. Piffy!

    [b]You put a baby in a crib with an apple and a rabbit. If it eats the rabbit and plays with the apple, I’ll buy you a new car.”[/b]

    What a perfect example of the Vegan Mind. if a baby doesnt eat a live rabbit then obviously, people shouldn’t eat meat? How old of a baby? cuz not too many baby’s i know would eat the apple, either. who has ever seen a baby eat an apple? a whole apple, placed in from of them?

    hell, they’d probably stick some car keys in their mouth. should we eat car keys?

  5. Piffy!

    oh, and anything from Sally Fallons’ book “Nourishing Traditions” would serve you much better than any of the ignorance at “”

  6. GoodGrief

    This funny little letter reminds me of a cute story.
    A long time ago,a little boy found a pair of bunny rabbits. He asked his parents if he could keep them and they said yes. He took good care of them and before he knew it they had lots and lots of baby bunnies. So many babies that they had to get a bigger cage and start selling all the bunnies. I mean they had thousands of the cute little things! They made so much money selling all those bunnies to local restaurants and families and were able to have the things they needed. It was great. We raised chickens too, but that’s another story.

  7. Piffy!

    [b]And, by the way, rabbit is pretty good. [/b]

    tastes like chicken.

    i bet stewie will claim eating rabbit contributes to global warming.

  8. Asheville Dweller

    Well you can’t grill it till you kill it. Gotta love these letters that have poor bits of so called information. A Baby, An Apple and a Rabbit walk into a bar.

  9. Piffy!

    I tried it. The rabbit ate my baby and the apple. So i ate the rabbit. Is that canabalism?

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