I enjoyed reading about Arthur Morgan School's (AMS) "Pick Your Own Poultry Workshop" (Small Bites, May 26), where kids "have the opportunity to choose then kill and dress their own chickens." As AMS Admissions Director Meghan Lundy-Jones noted, "If you're going to eat meat, you might as well know what goes into it." I agree, and think this optional program should be required of all meat-eaters. I wasn't surprised to read that it leads some kids to become vegetarians. Children have a natural affinity for animals, and faced with the reality of their food choices, they'll often make compassionate decisions.
The AMS website includes the following: "Students and staff honor the Quaker values of simplicity, responsibility, service, personal integrity, nonviolent conflict resolution and respect for self, others and the environment." Where is the respect for the chicken, and where is the nonviolent conflict resolution? Seems like the lesson here is "might makes right," plain and simple.
I encourage those who think that animals raised on small farms are treated humanely to watch "FREE RANGE: A Short Documentary" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jMF5ZW2QvYg. The family farmer profiled "specializes in turning vegetarians into meat-eaters" and "believes in treating animals with respect." While he doesn't subject the animals he raises to some of the more egregious cruelties they systematically endure on factory farms and at commercial slaughterhouses, he didn't convert me. Less suffering and abuse is better than more, but I don't find what he does to be at all respectful. Webster's New World Dictionary defines humane as "having what are considered the best qualities of human beings: kind, tender, merciful, sympathetic, etc." Can robbing animals of their lives to satisfy a culinary preference to eat their corpses ever be called humane, or does using the phrase "humane meat" distort the very meaning of the word?
— Stewart David