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  • Ben Thorne

Meat Isn't Murder


(Sorry Morrissey)


Some one was living, breathing, seeing. Then that individual is led into a building where they are confined and eventually shocked, stunned, gassed, stabbed - their throats slits. All while that some one has no means or choice of escape. Certainly sounds like murder doesn’t it? It’s unjust, without consent and sickening. Yet here we are:

murder (noun)   the crime of intentionally killing a person

It’s intentionally killing, that’s for sure. But unfortunately it’s not a crime, and people have preference. ‘Meat is Murder’ is a statement for the future. Meat is like murder. Meat should be murder. 

What’s the fuss? It’s just a saying right?

The language we use has power in our conversations. If we are advocating for a stop to animal suffering, for animal liberation - we want to be as effective as we can be. The words we choose help shape our, and other peoples, ideas. If we make statements that are untrue, no matter what we feel, we risk being put in the 'conspiracy box’. Once we have that label, it’s hard to shake. Our words are devalued to 'extreme’, 'militant’ and 'preachy’. Words like 'murder’ in place of slaughter and 'rape’ for artificial insemination in the dairy industry, can be a turn off for the non-vegan-educated audience. If they have done their research they would most likely agree. But they most likely haven’t, all they know is the laughing cow and chickens with their non-existent thumbs up.

Getting our message across in a way that insists on the horrors of humans use of animals, while keeping them listening is a fine balance. Describing the abusive process is one way.

The pigs in the gas chamber carousel The bolt gun in the head The macerated baby male chicks The human’s fist inside the female cow’s vagina

The list goes on. And this is more effective than the sensationalist soundbites, because it’s true. Images, like those from We Animals, and sounds, like the screams heard from outside a slaughterhouse, speak volumes. They are both true and effective. We can go around shouting 'Meat is Murder’ all day, no one will be listening. But if we have conversations with friends, family, colleagues, students - explaining these cruel processes in detail, answering their questions, we will be heard. So will the animals. That’s what we want. We don’t want to be right, we want to change the situation for the victims of people’s choices. If we can affect these people’s choices, the situation will change quicker. And one day meat will be murder and we can shout it to our hearts content!

But words don’t just stop there. The food industry has used them to create their own images of selling the body parts, and products, of animals. Terms such as dairy instead of cow’s milk, bacon instead of pig’s flesh, free-range eggs instead of chicken eggs, deviate from the individual - the suffering individual. So while meat isn’t murder yet, it is definitely the sliced flesh from a cow, who was been raised to be slaughtered within years, with a bolt gun to it’s head and a knife deep in it’s throat. We don’t need prophetic sound bites, when we have truth and integrity in our convictions. 

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