A young woman once explained me that, she only eats organic meat because factory farms are sick and she doesn’t want to take part in such things. I answered that, if I were in the condemned cell, I would be pleased if it was padded, with a cable TV and mating every evening. It would be better than to sleep in dirt, hungry, with rats biting into me and a warden smacking my face. It would be thousand times better, but the purpose is absolutely the same.

Would you like to be a Jew, Jehovah’s Witness, German anti-fascist or Romany girl in Auschwitz if it was tidy? I guess you wouldn’t. Would gas chambers be alright if the death was quick and painless? They wouldn’t. Of course it is better than Auschwitz full of lice and the gas suffocating so slowly that you hit your head against the wall in order to finish yourself, but better doesn’t imply good.

There is a tale about Alexander of Macedon and Diogenes of Sinope. While riding a horse, Alexander noticed Diogenes raking a pile of bones with his leg. When questioned, Diogenes explained: I’m thinking about the difference between the bones of your father and those of his slaves. Although Diogenes is my favourite Cynic (1), here he was wrong. The difference is not in the bones, i.e. death; it is in the lives.

Organic farming, or, better, more organic farming, is more considerate to the animals’ needs than are the factory farms. More immune breeds are used, sucklings have to be breastfed by their mothers (cattle for 3 months, pigs for 40 day, sheep and goats for 45 days), less stress is developed on the animals’ efficiency, less severe technologies are used, some of the factory-like practices, e.g. battery cages for hens, tail docking for piglets and other mutilations, are absent, and some of the pharmaceuticals and dietary supplements, such as growth stimulators or anticoccidics (2) are restricted, the use of hormones is allowed only for isolated cases, cloning and embryo transfer is prohibited, etc. All of this is very important and significant step outwards the disregard for billions of animals living in humans’ bondage.

But, although the propagators of this form of animal exploitation would like to have us believe, it is not true that the animals they keep in capture are enabled to live and behave by their innateness and for this opportunity they repay us with vitality and good health, whereby we obtain tasty products that we can use with clear conscience (3) and that the right to make use of animals and to kill them can only be assumed, is it combined with the obligation to care for the animals. (4) Surely this form of animal seizure is closer to their natural needs, but it is still an invasion to and disturbance of their natural course of life, and its destruction; the animals surely are healthier than in the less considerate forms of keeping, but to say that they repay us with their health, so they can be tastier, is, to me, a very perverse logic. The fact that I treat someone better than somebody else doesn’t give me any right to kill him or her with a clear conscience and relish his or her corpse.

Let’s illustrate it with this simple scheme: Someone kidnaps and murders your loved one and tries to assert that he or she didn’t do anything wrong, because he treated the person nicely before he or she killed them. What a perversity to interconnect the obligation to care with the right to kill the cared?

Once I was, along with a more organic farmer, invited to a discussion where this person chatted about how much he likes the beef cattle, the animals of his, that the cattle is always primary for him, that even to the slaughterhouse he drives them himself. I told him that if he actually liked the animals, he wouldn’t take them for the slaughter in the first place. He explained to me how willingly and peacefully the animals go towards their death. Why wouldn’t they when they trust him?

Another argument used to create positive outlook on the seizure and killing of animals, and not only in its more ecological forms, is that without humans, there would be no farm animals whatsoever. One thing is to be realized: farm animals are obliged to us for their lives, and to our human wants to use their meat, milk and eggs as food. Without human interests, there would be no cows, no pigs, no chickens at all in the barns and pastures. (4) This is simply a lie. Not cows, nor pigs, nor chickens do owe us a thing for their lives, in that humans want their meat, milk and eggs.

Czech organic product for 2004 is a sausage. It is spoken of as a bio sausage, but that is a deceptive promotion. Bio sausage is a lie. Bio is from Greek bios and it means life, I doubt there is any in the processed dead pig. Why do they talk about bio meat, bio lamb, bio sausage then? Why the assertion that the life of the animal did not suffer the death? Is it certain subconscious awareness of the needlessness and unjustifiableness of this act? Is it a distance from murder? Conscious and unconscious marketing strategy at the same time? I think it’s a bit of everything.

We shouldn’t forget that even in this form of holding, animals are products, commodities, accounting entries and that they will be killed.

The fundamental question all of us should ask, is, what do we need for life. Do we need meat, milk, eggs, honey? No. Bears on bikes and sea lions in shorts? No. Fur? No. Animal experiments? No. We do not need any of this. And where there is no need, there is no reason, and where there is no reason, there is no justification. Why should I decide between an egg and a better egg if I can live without both? Why should I choose between a nasty and a less nasty exploitation when I do not need to exploit at all?

Without commentary:
The animals were given to the hands of yours, is said in Bible. It means that the hands should care for them and nurse them, not treat them as machines. Only he should farm animals who in them, as much as in the plants, sees a Godly creature destined to fulfil its tasks in ecosystems and biotypes and to serve man and his needs, without humiliation and enslavement. Only that will have permanent high performance from his cattle.
Gerhardt Preuschen: An alternative for foreseeing farmers: Transition to ecological farming, MZ ČR, 1990

„Here we have an organic meat growing.“
A commentary on a photo in which the farmer (M. Knápek) watches cattle grazing.
Miloslav Vohralík: Succulent veal from organic farms, Czech organic products, FOA + MZ ČR, 1995

1) Cynism = ancient Greek philosophical movement defined by straightness, explicitness, simplicity, even harshness.
2) Coccidiosis = parasitic disease of poultry and other animals. Anticoccidis have demonstrable negative effects on the animals’ immune system.
4) Dipl. Ing. Reinhard Geßl, chairman of the Austrian association of the natural animal farming: Farmers’ ethical responsibility – animal welfare in terms of natural farming, Bulletin for organic farming, issue 25, PRO-BIO Association of ecological farmers, Šumperk, November 2003



Regarding to my very restricted knowledge of english language, thanks to Katina for the translation of this text.


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