The misery behind “Bright Ideas”

Jerry Sternberg’s commentary, “Bright Ideas” [Nov. 26, 2008] was a perfect example of a common, recently named malady: empathy deficit disorder (EDD). Sternberg muses on the inconveniences he dealt with as a teen when he was moving animals from a stockyard to his family’s rendering plant. His ordeal of transporting old, sick, diseased and disabled animals to their death is treated as some kind of joke. The column is froth with incidences of animal abuse, but there is never one word of consideration for the pain and suffering of the animals. It was all about what a rough day Jerry experienced.

The two-mile walk from the stockyard to the rendering plant was too difficult for some of the animals, and they collapsed. Jerry doesn’t give us the details of how he and his accomplice forced them to get moving again, but the usual methods used are electric prods, kicking, beating and other painful incentives.

Jerry’s day was further inconvenienced because after the grueling trip, the animals broke out of the fence and scattered. Could it be that they were terrified, in great pain, hungry and thirsty? How dare they ruin Jerry’s plans for a fun-filled evening with friends?

I hope I’m not the only person who didn’t find this narrative of animal abuse to be amusing. I wonder what motivated the Mountain Xpress to publish this story? What purpose did it serve? If someone were alive who could recount “humorous” anecdotes about rounding up slaves purchased on Pack Square, would that also be considered print-worthy?

— Terri David
Asheville

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