Tuesday, April 24


I loved the unintentional black humor of the headline on this NYT article from last week: Veal to Love, Without the Guilt. First of all, the inclusion of "love" in a phrase referencing an especially "cute" baby animal, but supposedly referring only to the consumption of said baby animal's carcass, is already somewhat weird, but the absolute banishing of guilt is even more darkly comic.

The guilt in question was, I guess, only over calves' hideous confinement and poor nutrition, because now the article suggests everyone dig in to "humane" veal "from calves four to six months old" without a twinge of guilt. Sure, who cares if the baby animal was needlessly torn from its mother and killed only to serve your infantile pleasure? No guilt here, nosiree.

What makes this more troubling than silly is the earnestness with which people are being told to embrace, and often embracing, this nonsensical "humane meat" phenomenon. Yes, Wolfgang Puck is on the bandwagon, even eschewing foie gras, but most of the changes involved in these initiatives have nothing to do with cutting out an entire form of exploitation and instead only massage the abuse into something a little more palatable. As the headline shows, the sleight of hand here is that "less guilt" = "no guilt!"

Unfortunately many animal groups are buying into and legitimizing this, in a way that seems pretty short-sighted and somewhat deceptive ("no, we know it doesn't really mean no guilt, but let them think so now, then we'll hit them harder later!"), but in this area I should defer to someone who has written and expostulated on this topic at length and more articulately than I can, Gary Francione.

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