Scary stories from a lovely place

The difference between people and cows

The Australian government have recently decided to pause our export of live cattle to Indonesia. It is sent live so the abattoirs there can slaughter the cows in culturally appropriate ways. But footage was shown on an Australian current affairs program showing some pretty horrible images of cruelty and mistreatment. A democratic flourish of anger followed from the Australian public and so the government decided to look into the matter.

The images are awful. I just watched them again on Youtube to refresh my memory. I wish I hadn’t. They are really horrible. But I don’t think halting the export is the long term solution. The Indonesian cattle industry will just go elsewhere to source their stock, or Australia will re-start the export once this all blows over. Our relationship with Indonesia is an important one for the future of our region. It needs to be strong, not fragile. Stopping the export also isn’t good for Australian farmers who rely on this overseas market.

I’ve always found it a little strange when people who aren’t vegetarians get upset about cruelty to animals. Again, let me reiterate that I don’t condone the mistreatment or torture of animals, obviously I don’t. But I am conscious that I eat them and unfortunately I don’t catch or nurture and kill them myself. I buy my meat in a shop or from a butcher and so am well removed from the killing process itself. The movie ‘Food Inc’ that Stephen and I watched last year just before I went into labour highlights this problem and encourages the viewers to understand where their food is coming from and the processes, some cruel, some chemical, it goes through from animal to steak. The reality is that any person who consumes meat that is sourced from mass production is engaging in cruelty somewhere along the line.

I’ve also found this story ironic in the light of the Australian government’s possible decision to send 800 asylum seekers to Malaysia. They’ve been looking for a while for a country in South Asia to dump these poor people on, and at the moment the front runner is Malaysia. This nation doesn’t have a brilliant human rights record and recently I saw footage of an asylum seeker in detention there being whipped. He was stripped down to the waist, splayed against a pole being lashed. The images were just as bad, and frighteningly similar to the ones that came out of the abattoir in Indonesia.

Cruelty to animals can often garner more support than mistreatment of humans. It’s not as if safety and dignity for humans is sorted out first by the global community and then animals are cared for. I guess that’s why there are lots of charities raising money for animal rights. And again, animals do deserve rights. But not as many as humans.

Related posts –

Reflection on ‘Food Inc’

U2’s politicising of music

Animal rights and church planting


8 comments on “The difference between people and cows

  1. Bec
    June 9, 2011

    The world is a crazy place… I’m thinking it’s the overwhelming sin of greed that drives it mostly… one that we’ve been tought all too well to have.
    Making a fuss about animals, at least for now, doesn’t effect us and we can feel good about it.
    But people, taking up our resources is too scary so we can overlook a few things.
    Is that what’s happening?
    I hate the mistreatment of the animals and and trying hard to get closer to sourcing meat from more ethical places, we’ve found a great providore which we use, not as much as I’d like to be, and we trust that the animals are being farmed locally in sustainable and humane ways when we purchase from them. The plan is to take our kids (once we have them and they’re old enough) on holidays to some of these farms and show them where their food comes from…
    Maybe I need to be taking them to Malaysia to show them what we do with people we don’t want in our country… but that’s got to be rated R surely.

    • Eyes
      June 9, 2011

      Yes yes yes… this is exactly what I’ve been thinking about all this…

    • kimlovesjozi
      June 9, 2011

      What are the details of your providore?

      • Tim
        June 9, 2011

        Feather and Bone :

        Some of the best meat we’ve ever eaten, and local and sustainable.
        They do (some) non-meats too, but we’ve only ever bought meat.

  2. Bill Rogers
    June 9, 2011

    I understand that animals necessarily have fewer rights than humans (as an example, who would suggest that my pet dog has a right to education?) However, do animals have a lesser than humans to the rights they should enjoy e.g. to humane treatment? Should there be an hierarchy or prioritisation in the enforcement of those right I.e. first human rights then only afterwards animal rights once human rights have been secured globally? Or should activists fight on all fronts simultaneously for human & animal rights to be enforced?

    • kimlovesjozi
      June 9, 2011

      Hi Bill,

      Yes I think that human rights should be fought for and won before the rights of anything else.

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This entry was posted on June 9, 2011 by in Beefs, News and tagged , , , , , , , , .
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