Absurd hypocrisy on the dinner table

Earlier this week hosts of a Danish radio station killed a bunny rabbit on air and then later cooked and ate it. It generated a huge backlash for the station including calls for a boycott. I wonder how many of those who complained eat other animals?

Why is it acceptable to kill, cook, and eat a young pig for dinner but not a rabbit? I don’t see any difference. If anything, pigs are probably more intelligent and higher up the scale of self-consciousness than bunny rabbits but I don’t eat either of them so I’m under no obligation to defend the eating of one over the other. If you think what the station did is wrong and you still eat pigs, cows, sheep, and chickens, then you should probably question why eating one animal is wrong while eating a different one is ok.

Is it because bunnies are cute and fluffy? This is a rather shallow. Let’s eat all the ugly things on earth and save all the beautiful ones. I’m being sarcastic of course.

I became vegetarian the day after I saw images like these:

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These crates of dogs (there are similar images of cats) are destined for the dinner table. You can read about it here. As soon as I saw these images I knew I couldn’t criticise the eating of dogs and cats unless I stopped eating pigs, sheep, cows, and chickens and that’s exactly what I did more than 10 years ago now.

George Monbiot has written a couple of articles recently about our double standards when it comes to food but has been lambasted for it. Why? In the Abuses of Enchantment he says,

The way that meat, eggs and milk are produced is surrounded by one of our great silences, in which most people collaborate. We don’t want to know, because knowing would force anyone with a capacity for empathy to change their diet.

You break this silence at your peril. After I published an article on chicken farming last week, I had to re-read it to check that I hadn’t actually proposed the slaughter of the firstborn by terrorist devil worshippers – so outraged and vicious were some of the responses. And that was just the consumers.

18 thoughts on “Absurd hypocrisy on the dinner table

  1. There was an older HBO documentary that nicely showed the many differences between cultures about what is or isn’t considered food. Some cultures consider cats, dogs, and insects to be perfectly acceptable food, while practioners of Jainism go to the other extreme to avoid hurting any living creature by covering their mouths to avoid swallowing a bug and sweeping in front of themselves to avoid stepping on an insect too. People who are worried about a rabbit need to be vegetarian or spend more time seeing where their food currently comes from and how it is treated on the way from farm (factory) to plate.

    1. I believe the documentary was called To Love or Kill: Man vs. Animal from 1996. It is available on YouTube:

      Definitely not for the squeamish or easily offended, so viewer discretion is advised.

      1. Good documentary. I’ve never understood why people kill animals for pleasure. Why? I feel anger, confusion, disappointment, and disgust with my fellow human beings when I see the killing of animals for sport.

  2. You are right. It is an absurd hypocrisy. I have been a vegetarian for 40 years. I stopped eating meat for medical reasons initially but the more I learned about the health benefits, morality, and economics of raising meat products, the more committed I became. Nice post.

      1. It’s not hard. It’s a life style. I will say it cost me my marriage (she felt threatened and couldn’t understand), and I lost a few friends as a result. But that was a life lesson in itself. It was more difficult 40 years ago. These days it is easy to find suitable recipes and eat out 🙂

      2. I’m sorry to hear that. I think being vegetarian is a feature in a man. I imagine it’s much easier today than it once was though and hopefully it’ll only get easier and easier with more time.

      3. Don’t be it was a long time ago but illustrates what a struggle it can be. Until there is a political will not much will change. Food and oil producers are a strong lobby internationally. There’s a rant.

  3. I like Monbiot’s quotation. If people did actually saw how agricultural animals are housed in the US, they would be less prone to eat the animals. We live by a “free range, cageless,” chidken farm. They may not be in cages, but they are crammed in so tightly they can’t move and people pay extra for this with no idea what they are buying. I won’t even discuss what the procedure is for shipping them off to slaughter. I thought of photographing the whole stinking business for a blog post, but it is depressing.
    Did you see Amy Shumer’s video?

    1. That video is very funny. Thanks for sharing.

      I’d be interested to see pics of the chicken farm if you decide to write a blog post about it. I come from a family of pig farmers – my grandparents owned a farm in outback Queensland – and I spent many summer holidays at the farm when I was a child so I’ve seen inside an intensively farmed piggery and it ain’t pretty.

  4. I don’t know anyone who has any issue with eating rabbit. Very nice in a pie or casserole they are too (sorry, not wishing to say that just to be contrary to the vegetarians here). Folks in my neighbourhood tend not to be sentimental about animals in the way city folks can be, especially about rabbits which are essentially a pest species but nobody I know would eat a dog or horse because these are animals with which we have more of a relationship. I suppose that a lot of the people upset about the radio rabbit stunt see rabbits more in the ‘relationship’ category, as pets rather than pests, and the unorthodox method of dispatching it can’t have helped either. I’m not sure it’s hypocrisy to view different animals differently, it’s just custom and tradition and social norms and sensibilities and tastes. I expect a lot of the people complaining about killing the rabbit with a bicycle pump have run one over in their car at some time without a second thought but whether that is hypocrisy is another debate…

    1. I don’t know anyone personally who objects to the eating of rabbits. I was commenting on what I’d read. But the same holds true for horses. Eating a horse is no different to my mind than eating a sheep or cow. Yet I read that in Britain there was quite an uproar when it was discovered that horse meat had entered the food chain. I don’t really understand the objection when the same people are happy to eat cows and sheep etc.

  5. I am not sure how to feel but I love my chicken, lamb, fish and prawns. I can reduce my consumption but can’t completely stop eating them.

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