Damian Mason | July 8, 2016
Welcome to Michigan Farm News's latest Web feature. We've searched high and low and found bloggers to feature who are both provocative and dedicated to supporting farmers.
We trust that their selected blog posts will encourage you to read all their blogs and gain a little insight into the issues of the day, all with a decidedly biased view in support of agriculture and the farmers who make it the most important profession in the world. Damian Mason is an Agriculturalist, Speaker, and Stanford band hater. Find him at damianmason.com.
No, you're not cooing and you're not making "goo-goo gah-gah" sounds. You're doing something much worse. You're calling young livestock "babies."
When I hear a person of Agriculture use human terms while referring to meat animals, it grates on me like two adolescent lovers spewing sappy gibberish at prom.
Young meat animals are not babies. They're calves, chicks, piglets, poults, and lambs. Only humans have babies. Goats come close; they have kids.
Centuries ago, people domesticated and developed livestock for the efficient production of protein. Soon after that, people developed specific terminology for livestock. Now would you please respect our accomplishment as the top species on the food chain and keep a separation between what we eat and what we are!
I know. It's easier to explain farm stuff to our suburban brethren using human terms. PETA and the Humane Society of the United States have discovered this too. These radical animal rights groups know that while 98% of the population eats meat, only a fraction of 1% raise those animals that end up on the dinner table.
So what do the animal activists do? They humanize livestock to create guilt among the non- farming populace.
Guilt is a powerful motivator in the land of plenty. Feeling bad for the starving kids in Africa is how mothers used to convince finicky kids to eat. Now animal activists want us to feel bad for stealing the "baby" cow's milk from the "mommy" cow. Guilty for eating those delicious barbecued wings harvested from "baby" chickens.
To anti-meat crusaders, there is no food chain. They believe animals are the same as us. You and I know this to be false. Animals are furry, possess smaller brains, and are generally delicious if cooked properly.
Humans are omnivorous by nature. We're programmed to eat - even crave - animal protein. That's why the vegetable-only crowd humanizes meat animals. You wouldn't eat your co-worker, Bob, so why would you eat Wilbur the pig?
Answer: because Wilbur the pig is delicious.
The process of assigning human traits to animals is called anthropomorphism. It happens a lot in entertainment, but it's unacceptable when we in the business of food production do it. Talking cows, clothed chickens, and smiling pigs have no place in food commercials.
It's not just a media perpetuated problem either. Last year I was touring a hog educational facility. The walls in the nursery were decorated with children's building blocks. Think the tourist from Suburbia doesn't subliminally equate "baby" pigs to his or her own children whose nursery is decorated with building blocks?
So what's a good Agriculturalist to do? Stop the baby talk and use animal-specific dialogue when talking about the business of food production.
When you're doing Ag outreach with school kids, don't call farm animals "brothers and sisters." People have brothers and sisters, animals have litter mates. Or twins. Or they share the same dam or sire - farm animals don't have mommies and daddies! Stop painting a fairy tale and start telling a real farm story. We produce animals for human consumption. We treat these animals humanely, but not humanly.
The goal of the Humane Society of the United States is a world without meat, milk, eggs, leather, or wool. PETA doesn't really want "ethical" treatment of farm animals, they want there to be NO farm animals.
Their mantra, "meat is murder," equates butchering animals to taking human life.
You think that's crazy. But when you use words like "brother, sister, mommy, daddy, and baby" to describe livestock, you're doing the same thing. That's why I'm asking you, for the good of Agriculture and the non-vegan 98,% stop the baby talk.