I just came across an interesting game today: Super Chick Sisters. The game is based (very clearly) on Super Mario Bros., and the ad I saw even mentioned that if you love Mario you'll like this game. As if you can't guess by the title of the website (Kentucky Fried Cruelty), the site is a PETA-sponsored effort to get kids mobilized against what they see as unethical treatment of animals. All that aside, I'm very curious what Nintendo would think about this use of their Mario characters. Nintendo may be wary of going after them, similar to how they never targeted Wisdom Tree, that company that illegally bypassed their chip and marketed infamously bad Christian propaganda games.
After glancing at PETA's other games, I see plenty of other games that smack of copying, such as Revenge of the PETA tomatoes (great movie, btw).
On a personal note, I once visited a chicken farm and ended up not eating chicken for, like, two days. The place was the absolute filthiest place I'd ever been in, and the stench was enough to make your eyes water and your stomach churn. It's amazing that such stinky animals can ever become tasty, but I guess after you've deep fried something enough, it all tastes the same anyway. ;)
I'm glad I don't live on a farm, because it doesn't really sink in how disgusting these animals are until you're up close and personal with them. I don't even want to think about what the processing plants must be like. You'd have to be pretty tough to walk out of one of those and eat a bucket of KFC, that's for sure.
A couple questions. First, what do you think about using games to target kids with political views? Secondly, does playing these games have any impact on your own ethical views?
I suppose seeing one of these farms/slaughter houses in person, watching a good documentary, reading a compelling article or quite possibly playing one of those games, you might change your viewpoint, but the reality is I think the issue is more complex than that. I think you either decide to eat meat or you don't based on a litany of more compelling reasoning than being shown the realities of the food processing business. You'd think we'd be a bit more sophisticated than that and actually be aware that the food we get gets processed. Whether an animal is killed how someone deems humanely or not, they're still being killed and eaten. You're either fine with that or you're not. I'm personally fine with that as I believe humans are designed for and thrive on a good mixed diet, which includes meat. I know my sister-in-law doesn't eat red meat because of how they're slaughtered. But she has no problem with chicken or fish, for instance. Seems kind of naive to me. Kiilling is killing. With that said, my wife and I try to minimize the red meat these days for health reasons, and rely mostly on things like chicken, fish and the occasional tofu. But it's not for any philosophical reasons.
Well, I'm tempted to play the card that says we're just personifying animals, that is, giving them human feelings and consciousness. The PETA people say, "Well, how would you like it if you were being killed and eaten?" But, frankly, that's a different situation. Animals may have some basic intelligence (or instincts), but another depressing about those chicken facilities is that the chickens don't seem to be the least bit aware of where they are, their fate, etc.
What makes me skeptical of this argument is that people made the exact same case for slavery, genocide, etc.--they aren't human, they aren't like us, so killing or enslaving them is more a practical than a moral question. That's obviously incorrect, so it makes me wonder if I'm somehow blind to the animal issue because of ignorance. Maybe if I'd spent enough time around chickens and cows I might think, well, they are like us enough to make killing them evil.
When I hear about someone torturing animals or being unnecessarily cruel, I think--well, that person has mental issues and needs treatment, not so much, "that poor animal." That said, if I'd like to treat the animals well and keep them healthy, if for no other reason than that's just good business sense.
You know what, people who spend all day around chickens and cows don't give a second thought to killing them. It's just us 21st century city folk who worry about it.
If God didn't want us eating animals, he wouldn't have made them out of meat.
I am farrrrrrr from being a vegetarian, but even I can appreciate some of their arguments about health and so on. If eating lead-contaminated fish causes cancer, you're just dumb for eating that fish instead of a salad. What makes less makes sense is the "humane" argument. If someone kills a child, that's plainly murder--even if it's just a toddler, that toddler would have grown up to be a rational human (in other words, it's murder). However, if you kill a cow, it's not as though that cow would ever have grown up to become a rational being.
A few things I wonder about are whether animals feel sorrow. I oppose that to feeling pain, since any animal will respond instinctively to burning and what-not. It's a different matter if the are somehow able to reflect on their experience and get depressed, or really look on with anticipation and fear. What I've seen, though, is that you can butcher an animal right in front of another (even of the same species), and they seem oblivious. In fact, in many cases they will cannibalize.
Based on the research I've seen and even some personal experience, it seems that a wide range of animals are able to feel a wide variety of what we as humans know of as emotions. What and how profoundly obviously varies by animal. Certainly creatures like cats, dogs, parrots, elephants, etc., seem to have the ability to learn, comprehend, remember and emote, and can certainly express sorrow, particularly over a loss. Certain other creatures seem to have simpler emotional and mental states. It is a tough call either way, however, as not only are we not necessarily the best judges of mental and emotional states in other species, we may not even be able to systemize how we determine that (it may be philosophically subjective).
The more basic point though is one of death itself. Whether an animal is killed humanely or inhumanely, the end result is still a dead and consumed animal. Certainly no innocent creature should be tortured, however, even if it is destined for the dinner table. It's a bad way to exist as a creature of the universe as it were. Call it bad karma, bad religous practice, bad feelings, whatever, it's just not right. Again, though, it doesn't mean that eating another creature is necessarily wrong. After all, in all forms of the definition, plants are alive as well. No creature can survive without some type of food store, and that food source - for life on earth as we know it - has to have some type of organic component, whether its inert or active. With that in mind, I'm perfectly fine in all ways with eating both animal and plant life, since that's what I feel I'm designed for. I just choose to do so in a healthy manner, which is independent of the deeper argument.
Well, I agree with you but for a somewhat different reason. Torturing animals is wrong because, well, not sure how to put this, but it's a symptom of a disturbed mind. If you're, say, burning a dog with a blow torch just because it makes you feel good, you're a sick person and need to seek immediate treatment. I don't know how accurate this is, but it seems a small step from torturing defenseless animals to harming people.
As far as treating the animals we eat goes, I still see a reason to try to take good care of them. For one, they'll be healthier and likely to live long enough to be eaten--and, somehow, I think they'll just taste better. I'm speaking completely from hearsay here, but I've heard that if a cow is severely frightened when it is slaughtered, the meat will not taste right. And it's a mark of a good hunter to be able to bring down the prey with a single shot, rather than merely wounding it and thus cause it to die slowly.
I think what PETA objects to about KFC is that they're cramped into tiny cages and their beaks are clipped or removed to prevent them from injuring each other. I'm not sure if that's a painful process for the chickens or not. It certainly doesn't sound pleasant, but neither does spaying dogs or putting on horseshoes. at any rate, I can't believe those conditions are the best for the chickens or the people eating the chicken.