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Sat, Jun. 17th, 2006, 09:30 pm
Poor Sheepies

Goths against Meat

I went down to Borough Market this morning (although my original plan was to ignore the event [that I am about to mention, but haven't yet due to my rather worrying obsession with parentheses {and of course nesting them correctly}] and sleep in until at least 10am [8 hours kip after getting the last tube home last night], but as ever my complete and utter bastard of a body clock decided that 7am was a much better time for a productive boy like myself to awaken. Bastard) to see some sheep driven from there to Smithfields via the wobbly bridge. After a brief wander through the market, where I was good and didn't buy anything too frivolous (although the big bunch of supa-tasty radishes come close and the blacky-blue-in-the-middle french potatoes are currently being classified), I found the sheep in a pen in front of Southwark Cathedral. In front of the pen were some sheep-wranglers (cowhands, perchance), in front of them a fence and in front of that a bunch of animal rights protestors, including the young lady above. From time to time they shouted rather nasty things at anyone near them and if someone was so foolish as to ask them to explain their objections (in some cases to find out whether they were all on the same side) most of the protestors launched in barked tirades about the hypocritical nature of everyone nearby and the barbaricness of a non-vegan way of life. This, as can probably be guessed, did not gain them many friends. I, on reflection, was rather against the idea of the sheep, in full wooly (100% natural) coats, being chivvied through the very hot streets of olde Londone towne, while being chased by a crowd of baying Londoners and tourists - it was hot and the numbers of people by the time they got to the river must have made it a rather distressing experience for them. However, there was no way that I was going to admit that to the beligerent arses who shouted at the Bishop of Southwark, telling him that he had a 666 carved into his forehead. Any vague sympathy I had disappeared when a guy walked up to one of the most vocal people in the protest and asked, "So what's going on then?". The hypocrisy of the askers religous leanings and the vegan-ness of the ranters shoes all came in to play, while foam collected in the corners of his mouth. Surprisingly, the guy with the ALF tattoos was a lot calmer (when not shouting), even if he did look scary.

I also bought some shoes today. They aren't vegan. But they are smart enough for me to wear to the new office that we are moving into on Monday. Hopefully it will be perfect, shiny and new. If it's finished.

Sat, Jun. 17th, 2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
elvum

I saw a couple of the sheep that got left behind, and they seemed reasonably happy, with bales of straw, shade, water and stuff. Probably in the top 1% of sheep worldwide, welfare-wise. TBH Borough Market (with its organic butchers and wild-meat stalls) is probably not the most appropriate place to start kicking up a fuss about the treatment of animals reared for meat...

Sun, Jun. 18th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
billyabbott

Why picket Tesco though? They sell cheap veggies with hundred of food miles and as such are fine... (sarchasm).

Although I can't talk too much about food miles, as my local butcher sells Orkney reared beef...

Sun, Jun. 18th, 2006 09:54 pm (UTC)
elvum

I was hoping they'd bugger off and picket some factory farms, actually. Either they'd actually do something to improve the state of animal welfare in this country, or they'd "accidentally" get a hopper full of entrails tipped over them - I think I'd be happy either way... ;-)

Sun, Jun. 18th, 2006 10:35 pm (UTC)
billyabbott

The fact that factory farms are nowhere near me also adds to the appeal of the picketing there.

Sat, Jun. 17th, 2006 10:52 pm (UTC)
prgp

What is that a picture of (on her sign)?

If vegans are so upset by me eating animals, would they offer to take it's place? (note: I doubt vegans taste all that good, but ...)

Otherwise I want a *good* suggestion as to where I get my daily dose of meat?

I know they won't, as the ALF lot won't even take the animal's places when it is required to test the important new drugs that make people's lives better - if they did then it would probably speed the process up (as the closest test subject to humans are, erm, humans) ...
</minrant>

Sun, Jun. 18th, 2006 05:36 pm (UTC)
billyabbott

It was of a bloody animal being messily killed.
The ALF scare me - "We're on the side of animal welfare, and we'll kill you if you aren't". Extremist pro-lifers comparison anyone?

Sun, Jun. 18th, 2006 07:54 pm (UTC)
prgp

It was of a bloody animal being messily killed.

Ah, that old trick - show a picture that has nothing to do with what you are protesting about and try to make people believe it has ...

The ALF scare me - "We're on the side of animal welfare, and we'll kill you if you aren't". Extremist pro-lifers comparison anyone?

Hypocrites - both groups are just that !

"You can't do 'X', but *we* can and will do to stop you ..."

*spit*

(sorry)

Mon, Jun. 19th, 2006 01:47 pm (UTC)
johnckirk

I'm not sure whether you're being sarcastic here, so if I've missed the joke then I apologise. On the assumption that you're serious, I offer the following analogy.

Teacher: "Plagiarism is wrong, so you shouldn't copy your essays off people on the internet."
Me: "Ok, can I copy your essays instead?"
Teacher: "No!"
Me: "Well, who am I supposed to copy from? You're not making any sense."
Teacher: "You're not supposed to copy off anyone!"

(I tried to choose a fairly low-key analogy, rather than saying "If you eat meat then you're as bad as Stalin.")

As for suggestions, my own approach is to go for fake meat. Admittedly, some of it is more convincing than others, but it works for me as a substitute. That said, I'd be happy to see research being done into vat-grown, or replicated meat (a la Star Trek).

I think that the animal testing issue is more complex than most people realise (on both sides of the debate). I'm planning to do my own LJ entry about this in due course, but one interesting thing that came up in my induction for my current job is the Nuremberg treaty - basically, companies aren't allowed to test drugs on humans before they've been tested on animals, because this led to nasty things in the past. So, people who are protesting at the companies who do animal tests are missing the point - they "should" be lobbying the government to change the law.

And for what it's worth, I think that a large number of animal rights activists are complete nutjobs, bordering on terrorists.

Mon, Jun. 19th, 2006 02:42 pm (UTC)
prgp

I wasn't being completely serious, no !

The comparing eating meat and being as bad as Stalin is like a veggie being compared to being as bad as Hilter ... bit of a silly arguement really.

WRT animal testing, they are happy to use products that have been tested on animal, but saving other people's lives well that is out of the question (yes, I was aware that human testing cannot even take place on willing human subjects until animal testing has been done). The problems start when people confuse their options of right and wrong for absolutes (see the puritans)

I would go so far as state that (IMHO) if you use terror as a tactic then you are a terrorist (sans modern political spin) - I don't care if you call yourself a "freedom fighter" or "liberator", if you use terror, you are a terrorist, plain and simple ...

"Two 'wrongs' do not a 'right' make" - pity they never seem to have learn that (or that "the ends justify the means" is not valid)

Mon, Jun. 19th, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC)
johnckirk

WRT animal testing, they are happy to use products that have been tested on animal

In fairness, I think this is a bit of a tricky issue too. For instance, suppose that a particular company did animal testing for shampoo etc. in the past, but has now "seen the light" and no longer tests any of their new cosmetic products on animals. Is it now ok to use an old product that was tested on animals in the past, or should you boycott them for perpetuity? I've seen some small print from companies like Superdrug, who say "We won't buy our ingredients from any company that's done animal testing within the last 5 years", which seems like a reasonable compromise to me.

Or how about if two companies sell the same product, but one does animal testing and the other one doesn't. Is it ok to buy the product from the second company, who are arguably getting the best of both worlds (appearing ethical but taking the first company's results into account)?

Taking a human analogy, I've heard that there was a similar issue after WW2 - the Nazis had developed certain medicines by testing them on Jews in the concentration camps. So, is it right for us to profit from that? I.e. now that we have the knowledge, and those people are dead, should we make the best of it by using the knowledge to save lives, or should we just destroy all the test results and wait until we can gather the information in a more ethical manner? I'm not an expert on this part of history, but my understanding is that Jewish leaders were given the choice of what to do, and they chose to let the results be published.

Obviously opinions will vary on this, but I don't think that people are automatically hypocrites if they say:
a) I think animal testing is wrong.
b) I will use product X that was tested on animals.

(This combination of views may not be correct, but I do think that it can be consistent.)

Mon, Jun. 19th, 2006 03:29 pm (UTC)
prgp

Well that sounds like a problem for people's own moral compass. Should they let the long dead animals have died in vain by boycotting the product ?

The problem is that I'm not so much with the caring whether animals where tested on - "necessary evil" springs to mind.

Re. the two companies - this is why I don't get too worried about the right and wrong of pass testing, otherwise I wouldn't use anything ...

Don't get me wrong I do care that the animals are suffering, but WRT to medicine so me a better way and I will be on the bandwagon advocating it. WRT cosmetics I don't use much and that which I do use has been tested on humans for decades ...

Me, I think that if we have the knowledge then if it benefits mankind it should be used, BUT we should also be aware of the COST of the knowledge.

Regarding (b) I was meaning recently (as in while they were picketting) not something tested 50years ago when no-one really made an issue of the testing ... probably should have been more clear on that point.

Mon, Jun. 19th, 2006 05:49 pm (UTC)
rplackett

**this was going to be a paragraph about the unethical manner in which decompression data (used today for dive safety) was gathered, but i deleted it because it was rather over dramatic given the situation, here is the conclusion**

So by loose analogy vegitarians can (and should) use shampoo or their detergent of choice even if precursor products wernt ethically sound.

Sun, Jun. 18th, 2006 10:38 am (UTC)
2shortplanks

I was expecting a tattoo of something completely different.

Sun, Jun. 18th, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC)
billyabbott

I think you can be arrested for that kind of ALF tattoo.

Mon, Jun. 19th, 2006 11:49 am (UTC)
shuripentu

Why is it that animal rights idiots piss me off even more than factory farming does?

Mon, Jun. 19th, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC)
prgp

Because factory farming, while "evil", doesn't get on it's high horse ...

"Animal rights idiots" advocate (or believe) that they are more "moral" that the rest of us ...