Several months ago I wrote a column about a book called "Every Twelve Seconds" by Timothy Pachirat. The book is about the slaughtering of animals for their meat in the United States, and how slaughter houses are purposely isolated from everyday American society. The living animals that enter these houses are disconnected from the package meat displayed in our grocery stores. We don’t think about what the animals endure as they give their lives so we can consume meat, and recently the meat industry has attempted to pass legislation that would not allow documentation of animal abuse in packing plants. Passage of such laws would be a great set back to animal advocacy groups working to improve the plight of farm animals raised for slaughter.
I thought I would try reading "Every Twelve Seconds" in its entirety but I just can’t do it because I know what I would read there would be entrenched in my memory and would be extremely hard for me to shake off.
Visual images of extreme abuse of other living creatures are also very hard to forget. Recently one of the large animal advocacy groups in the United States produced a video demonstrating the cruelty of the fishing industry. An actor was filmed demonstrating what it would be like to drown in water, as an analogy to what fish do when they are caught and deprived of water. They suffocate in air, just as humans suffocate in water. This is yet another way we take the lives of other creatures. It seems so strange to me to think it is acceptable to cruelly kill millions upon millions of fish for human consumption. We would not remove aquarium fish from their water to die from lack of oxygen, so why do we do this to fish caught in the wild? It’s certainly a difficult situation to think about.