Plastic Cow Out to Pasture

Boy am I ever breathing a sigh of relief today. I may very well be alive and kicking for one very strange, but excellent reason. I’m a vegan. I invite all of you naysayers out there to challenge me on this. To forcefully insist that the meat eaters of the world are the superior creatures. To assault me with names like “Granola,” “Vegetable-Murderer,” or better yet, “Flip-Flop-Wearing Masochist.”  But first, might I suggest that you saunter into your kitchen, pop open that freezer door, and gather up all that hamburger you’ve been storing for your weekend barbeques…then drop down on your knees and pray like a saint that you haven’t spent two month’s grocery money on USDA Grade-A RECALLED Beef.

That’s right folks. The USDA announced today that it is recalling 143 million pounds of frozen beef dating back to February 1, 2006.   (http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/02/17/usdabeef.recall.ap/index.html ) And if you don’t have any of the recalled product in your freezer, all you have to do to get some is send your child to school, give him a few bucks to buy a wholesome, all-natural school lunch, and voila…the US population has just been reduced by one,  two-hamburger-eating-a-day little human.  I personally think this plan rivals China’s restriction on one birth per household, only it’s done in a kinder gentler way, by feeding an unsuspecting child a tainted, all-beef Oscar Mayer wiener rolled up in a tasty cornbread stuffing and served on a stick. Could this be the perfect Economic Plan we’ve all been looking for? Hillary? Obama? McCain? Any takers?

But seriously… this is a disgusting, despicable, deplorable situation. And, it brings me right back to the argument I always employ when trying to explain to others my philosophy on eating, or rather, not eating, animals. This factory farming business has absolutely got to stop!!! I mean come on, we’re feeding our children meat from downed cows! Let me explain this a little better. In a hurry to mass produce more meat than one society could possibly require, these animals are shoved around, beaten, kicked, confined to diseased surroundings, and when eventually weakened by abuse and illness, they succumb to slow, agonizing deaths. Meanwhile, they lay around in their own waste, and the waste of other sick animals, unable to stand up. That, my friends, is a downed cow.  And that’s not only a “downer” for the cow; it’s a downer for the human who ingests the tainted meat.

And the story continues from here. Make a mental list of all the major products you’ve heard about in the past year that have been recalled. Can’t remember? Well, why don’t I get you started. Let’s see…there was spinach tainted by E-coli in September of 2006. Oh,  and spinach contaminated by Salmonella in August of 2007. Thousands of dog owners lost their beloved pets to kidney failure from tainted wheat gluten, introduced by the Chinese into dog food in March of 2007. This same wheat gluten made it into the troughs of farm animals, and the result of that is yet to be known. Then there was the whole Chinese (those bastards again?) lead-contaminated-toy-thing last summer. I’m even suspecting at some point that those little howling micro-babies that I described in “Cheap Things” will be recalled, but hopefully not for dangerous reasons.

I could go on and on, but I’ll stop and make my point. All of these shabbily-made and/or dangerous items/foodstuffs are products of a greedy, mass-producing civilization. A civilization that you and I subscribe to, even if we’re not reading the fine print. But we need to wake up and start reading that fine print and commit it to memory. It’s no longer enough to be shocked and saddened by events that we consider to be beyond our control. We are NOT innocent bystanders. We are as guilty as the criminals producing these Recalls-of-Mass-Destruction. No one is shoving that meat down our throats or forcing us to buy cheap plastic toys to entertain our ridiculously-bored children. Please everyone, please.

 Let the cows out to pasture. Thank-you, and good-night.