PLANET OF THE LOST (2.5): Fair trade
I’m making this an in-between posting because it relates to what I’ve been discussing, but will predominately be about a change in my own life: No longer eating meat. I can’t quite say I’m now a vegan, or vegetarian, or herbivore, I just know I’ve become a lot more aware of the dead animal flesh around me (in it’s many forms) and am attempting to reduce that in every possible way.
age of volcanoes note: WARNING! Even though some of the following photos fall far short of depicting the worst of animal abuse, they are still disturbing to see. If you don’t like to see animals suffering then read this anyway and do whatever you can to stop animals from suffering.
Can this post be collated with Land of the Lost? You betcha…
“Fair Trade” was an episode in which the father accidentally falls into a Sleestak trap intended to catch a pig to feed their many newly hatched young. Since meat is meat to the reptilian Sleestak, they intend to use the father instead of the pig. The only way for Will and Holly to save their father is to catch a large pig to be traded in his place.
Will, Holly, and Dopey gather giant fruit and vegetables.
There’s a bit of irony to saving their father in this fashion, because earlier Will had expressed the desire to catch and cook one of the pigs roaming around but his father wouldn’t allow it. He said that the pig was too big for the three of them to eat, and much would go to waste. It’s wrong to kill a pig only to have a few slices of bacon for breakfast, no matter how much you miss it.
There was once a pig who died so that I may live as well. Actually, many, many pigs. As well as many, many other animals. And the sad truth is they died needlessly because I didn’t need them to live anyway. I feel I must make amends.
There is an excellent Australian film which premiered in 1997 called Alien Visitor. Since this title is probably the worst ever for a film which explores the human condition and our place in the universe, they renamed it Epsilon, which wasn’t really an improvement. It should have been called “The Woman Who Fell To Earth.”
Alien Visitor is a unique film which has only two unnamed characters (plus a narrator with children in the beginning and end). Set in the Outback, it concerns a female human-looking alien from Epsilon who is accidentally teleported to Earth. Not knowing where she is, she confronts a land surveyor camping out for the night and soon realizes exactly where she is with an angry shout out to her friends in space:
“Get me off this vile planet!”
Since she has to remain in the general area for her Epsilon friends to locate her, she stays with the land surveyor and educates him about Earth and how the rest of the galaxy views humanity [The female alien has the personal power of teleporting herself and other objects to any location on Earth – just not off it – as well as speeding or slowing her personal time passage in relation to the time passage on Earth. Because of this, the film goes from location to location very beautifully and seamlessly, as well as utilizing amazing time lapse photography.] She says at one point that there is an Earth colloquialism (“Sticking one’s head in the sand”) which has the same meaning as an insult used by aliens to describe human beings: “Breathing the foul air.” When you say to someone they are breathing the foul air, you are telling them they have the Earth mentality, and it is the worst possible insult you can give someone who is not from Earth.
As the story progresses, they fall in love and the man asks her to live with him in the city since her friends still haven’t located her. She asks him if he’s ever had a favorite tree. He replies yes, and they teleport there. She then disappears and reappears with an axe, and proceeds to chop down the tree. Puzzled and horrified, the man cries out “Why?” and “Please… any tree but this one!” After the tree falls (which took considerable time) she then informs him that if she were to stay on Earth with him, she would eventually come to want things… unnecessary things which would destroy or kill life on this planet in order to fulfill that want. It doesn’t matter if the tree is fondly loved or one of many in the forest, it will fall just the same.
This scene is the most emotionally powerful one in the film, but there is another which directly relates to what I’m discussing: The morning after meeting “She” from Episilon, “He” starts making breakfast for himself which includes bacon. “What are you eating?” She asks. “It’s bacon,” he replies. “No it’s not. It’s dead pig,” she states. “It’s bacon,” he replies again, almost in a way like he didn’t understand the point she was making and thought she mispronounced the word bacon. I was very much like “He”:
I LOVED BACON.
Breakfast is the greatest meal ever created by man and bacon (for me) was it’s king. Bacon made the breakfast.
Having this in front of me for breakfast is like Christmas morning (only the picture is missing hash browns, and grits, and waffles, and… OK, I’ll stop.) Although, for some strange reason, I’ve never really liked any other pig meat, such as ham or sausage (unless it’s that shredded BBQ style they serve up in Tennessee – yes, I definitely need to stay away from Memphis for awhile.) For me, giving up meat for is like giving up an addiction to heroin. But one fostered over a lifetime.
I grew up in a family of southern/northeastern carnivores. My grandfather taught me how to catch, prepare, and cook a fish. I was exposed to a good percentage of animals, farms, and cattle ranches in my youth. I met some of the people who owned and operated these places. Despite the fact these people were in the business of raising animals for food, they still had a respect for the animals while they were living. If this sounds odd, it’s how I’ve been able to detect a notable change in the industry without much investigation:
Much like the family/local owned/operated farms were taken over by big business and corporations, I would surmise the same has happened to the meat industry. These “businesses” treat their product (a living being) as just that – a product. And if that “product” can be artificially enhanced, streamlined, cost-cut, and processed more efficiently for greater profit, then hey… all we need now is some earmuffs to muffle out the screams.
When did this happen? Probably around the time they started pushing corn-fed beef. Mmmm, mmmm corn-fed beef! Cows don’t eat corn. They eat grass. But corn is cheaper and easier to slop in front of a cow trapped in a pen all day instead of all that work herding them to the fields and then back again. It makes them unnaturally fatter too – because THEY EAT GRASS.
But wait! Why feed them corn when you can just feed them the remains of the cows you’ve just previously slaughtered! That’s brilliantly profitable! Give that man a raise! Unfortunately, this is exactly what the cattle industry did to strictly herbivores which led to Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy: Mad Cow Disease.
age of volcanoes not so fun facts: Between 460,000 and 482,000 BSE-infected animals had entered the human food chain before control measures were implemented in 1989. There is a long incubation period for the human form of BSE, which can take years or decades before it starts to rapidly deteriorate your brain.
Because of these changes we’ve allowed to happen to our food, we as humans have further lost our spiritual connection to the Earth and it’s fellow inhabitants. These changes were ultimately by design from the shapers of our reality. But the most insidious change was the one where we started labeling dead animal flesh (beef, ham, poultry) with new fun names like hot dogs, nuggets, and buffalo wings. And serving them up wrapped in petroleum products which take thousands of years to biodegrade. But don’t worry, if you can’t stomach the taste, you can wolf them down slathered up in so much sauce you won’t even be able to taste the animal.
When I was thirteen years old with a paper route, on Saturdays I would finish my deliveries at 7am and sometimes ride my bike over to a nearby Jack-in-the-Box to get their bacon and eggs breakfast, then bring it back home to eat while watching the Saturday morning cartoon lineup (which included Land of the Lost!). Since my mom usually slept in, it was the only way I could get the type of breakfast I loved so much (cereal sucks!) without making a total mess in the kitchen and missing Battle of the Planets. I believe this convenience started to distance me from the awareness that I was eating animal flesh (or rather, dead pig and unfertilized chicken eggs) and made me regard that dead pig flesh as a “product” called bacon, like it was a pop-tart or something. It slowly became just another (tasty) food, and the connection that this “food” was once a living creature capable of love was forgotten.
Pigs are gentle creatures capable of surprising intelligence and agility.
However, a dead pig was no longer dead pig. It was bacon, and the mental elimination of the implication of death made it that much tastier.
living tiki personal note for the ladies: Think about the characters in Alien Visitor having their gender roles reversed where he is the alien and she is the misguided human. Doesn’t really make a good story, does it? That’s because the feminine is a creative, nurturing force not prone to slaughtering animals for food. However, typically it is the mother that prepares the food and defines the attitude towards that food for the family (The hand that rocks the cradle). Because of this, I am certain that the powers that be are targeting women much more than men in redefining how we all view food. I was astonished to learn (at least in my area) that the majority of fast-food drive-thru customers are women. It seems the shapers of our reality either want you to start consuming this:
Or become more masculine and slaughter your own. They’ve even provided you with a role model:
Even though Federal law prohibits hunting wolves by air, Governor Sarah Palin made it happen in Alaska.
When I became an adult, I started hearing about the inhumane conditions in the meat industries but since I falsely believed that humans needed meat for a proper diet (and was conditioned/addicted to eating meat) I conned myself into thinking I was being more caring (towards this “re-awareness” that I was eating the dead flesh of an animal) by being selective about the source of meat, or being conned by words like “free range” and “dolphin safe”. I also thought I was being more respectful with a trick I learned from a movie:
This 1980 film is about the misadventures of a African Bushman attempting to return a “gift from the gods” (a coke bottle thrown out of an airplane). There is a scene which has stuck with me ever since I watched it: When the Bushman kills a gazelle(?) to feed his family (which is done humanely with an arrow), he kneels down beside the animal and whispers in it’s ear an apology for killing it. His family and village needed to eat and he is grateful to the animal for its’ life.
I thought that this is the only proper thing to do if one is going to consume an animal, and have been saying a silent prayer of gratitude towards the animals I have consumed since.
But oh, how caring and respectful I thought I was! While others were praying to a god over a blood sacrifice, here I was addressing the animal itself. Didn’t I just love animals (especially ones I didn’t even take the time to kill myself)?
Hey, living tiki, you fucking idiot! Respecting the animal means NOT EATING IT.
It’s dead pig.
It’s dead pig.
It’s dead pig.
It’s dead pig.
It’s dead pig.
There was another change to the meat industry I failed to be aware of, even though I should have anticipated it. Animal abuse.
Believe it or not, there are some people out there who really enjoy abusing animals. We as a species encourage such behavior with things like bull fighting, hog wrestling, and dog racing. But I’m talking about people out there that crave to to be the source of an animal’s suffering and death, like the person in my area who recently cut the ears off of two puppies and threw them in a dumpster [Don’t worry animal lovers – “Sonny and Cher” have recovered and are now playful puppies ready for adoption.] Or, like the jackass I hope is in jail for doing this:
An industry which no longer cares about the animals it is raising and slaughtering will attract the evil deviants who would relish the opportunity to get away with doing anything and everything to animals but have been previously hampered by pesky things like laws and decency (And get paid for doing it.) Like the workers caught on video slamming chickens against a wall, or another video showing a man raping a turkey with his finger while the turkey is hanging from a hook with it’s legs broken, waiting to be slaughtered while hearing the screams of the turkeys being killed before it. I heard about that horror on the blogger Celtic Rebel’s radio show, and it nearly made me cry.
Remember what I said about hearing some “secret” and estimating the real truth to be ten times worse? Who knows what abuse hasn’t been caught on camera? This is why you don’t see any shocking videotape of people abusing fish. Fish don’t scream.
It greatly saddens me to even just momentarily pause and imagine myself living the life of a pig raised only for the sole purpose of food.
It’s not bacon.
It’s dead pig.
I’ve decided I like pigs alive more than dead.
They seem to be a lot like dogs – just add some hooves and substitute the d for an h.
A pig as loving pet companion can provide more wonderful “sustenance” than it’s rib cage ever can.
I like seeing happy pigs.
Happy pigs make me smile.
For the past few years, I’ve been slowly weaning myself off of meat (dead cow was ridiculously easy). Truth be told, I didn’t want to but I knew I had too. I could provide all the reasons for each type of meat, but suffice it to say the best reason applied to all of them: Meat, all meat, just wasn’t tasting the same anymore. And it kept getting worse, never better. I realized this when I visited Indonesia in 2002 and tried their take on the American hamburger: It was the best ground beef I had ever eaten. I realized right then and there that whatever America was doing to it’s cows, it just wasn’t right. I haven’t been able to “stomach” American beef since.
This post was intended to speed the weaning process of myself off of my last two favorite meat products: Bacon and eggs. I would say it’s been quite effective. And since you’ve stayed with me this far, I’ll let you in on a little (good) secret about food (shhh… don’t tell anyone):
People can live and grow without food
[Although I highly recommend people don’t stop eating food altogether until you’ve at least weaned your body from the programming of needing food first, which should probably take as much time as the time you’ve been alive so far.]
How do I know this without being some super nutrition expert or Indian guru? Well, there have been a couple of documented cases of people stopping eating food and living on for many, many years. But it’s mainly because I’ve stood next to a miracle of the Creator:
A California Redwood tree.
You know, those trees that George Lucas and the Bohemian Club love so much.
Redwood trees are less a tree and more a botanical skyscraper. These things are huge! You could probably build an entire two story house from one tree.
Humanity even had the audacity to carve a tunnel for our foul air producers through a living redwood:
Where did all this tree come from? How did a little sapling grow into such a huge amount of biomass? If it were an carnivorous animal, it would have to consume like, fifteen pigs a day.
And it’s penis would be this big…
Trees “feed” on only two things: sunlight and water (with nutrients from the soil). How the hell does sunlight and water produce these titans? Don’t they absorb the soil or compost or something? Nope: sunlight and water. They converted the sun’s light energy and water into physical matter. This is a miracle of the Creator.
If a tree can do it, so can a human being. We operate on basically the same process: Not only do we absorb energy from the sun and convert it into vitamin D, when we eat, we are not really absorbing the food so much as we are extracting the nutrients and chemical energy from it and discarding (excreting) the rest. Sort of like only drinking the juice from fruits and vegetables. Which is sort of like basically water. Heck, all a human baby needs to grow much bigger is breast milk. I think this is why it sometimes seems impossible to get young children to eat even though they always seem to have energy and keep growing.
Sunlight and water.
I feel the “lifeforce” one is absorbing from the hopeless and tortured animals these days is uniquely illustrated in a 1954 painting by (the ironically named) Francis Bacon:
I would much rather absorb happiness.
Let’s see… pigs get to live, and I get to break one more chain binding my soul to this illusion prison. I think that’s a fair trade.