for Breakfast - Ham for Tea
Cheap food for cheap lives
Chris Morgan on wasted lives
you look at that, celebrity of the moment Phoenix
the calf is in panto. It would have been such a waste of life
- doesnt it make you feel good about yourself? Phoenix the
calf has TV airtime and therefore a name, a face, personification,
big brown doe eyes, and then, as if by magic, the public cares.
Bugger! Now the government has to do something. The cattle are
finally asking questions. Curse that cow!
Hark at the power of collective ideological advertising - the masses
so easily coerced into uncovering a common identity. For weeks previously,
the needless slaughter of animals could continue unabatedly. It was
so much easier then. Somewhere in the background, definitely there;
yet just far enough out of sight, out of mind, to be dismissed. I can
see the glowing, distant representations of it happening, I can read
about other peoples perceptions of where, and how, it may be happening,
I can complain about it happening, but if I dont dwell on it it
need not have any basis in my reality. My sofa is my kingdom. This is
the reality, the responsibility, of someone else, somewhere else, who?
I dont know, perhaps that TV journalist in Devon. He seems to
know a lot about it. But look! Its that calf again, ahhhh. Whats
his name again?
Is the psychology of irrationality that which truly governs the ways
that we feel about and treat our animals? It could be, yet one must
never underestimate the powers of apathy and denial to give credence
to the misguided reasoning of humanity.
The farmers, of course, are the unwitting victims of this crisis, facing
relentless subsidisation from the government. The farmer, feeder of
animal waste to animals, champion of unashamed whining. They cannot
be held accountable for this travesty, for utilising discretion in judgement
of what is natural and that which is sickeningly aberrant obviously
does not come easy to Joe farmer. That falls into the political arena,
the governmental domain. Just exactly how something that is a minor
affliction can be turned into a nationwide catastrophe is something
that, along with the truth behind the origin of the disease, has been
deftly sidestepped by the powers that be.
After all, the election, is coming and if youll just divert your
attention over here for a little while, you will see a Tory MP in a
race scandal. Keep looking, for he is evil. Is that the musty smell
of scapegoat? The adept manner in which government spin-doctors can
divert any form of critical interrogation on behalf of the public should
make us mere voters proud. This is apathy in motion, and it is something
to behold. If I dont see daytime chat shows about it anymore,
it cant be that important.
Apathy has been the thing ever since the go green save the
planet, save the whales and the seal pups fad of the early nineties.
This was a movement destined to be doomed right from its inception.
Not very profitable from a commercial perspective - the mass media cashed
in quickly and abruptly on an ideological trend that could only survive
for as long as people continued to care. Caring? Sounds like a bit of
an effort to me. Apathy is far easier to deal with than empathy, and
any momentum soon faltered, as eco-pessimism began to take a firm grip.
Oh well, Ill probably be dead before anything gets too serious
anyway. As each day passes, more species continue to be made extinct,
yet who wants to think about endangered Tigers when we can buy such
beautiful snakeskin wallets? Where can we stash the blood that keeps
the beast alive, big wads of it, and lose ourselves in a fragrant animal
tested cosmetics, silky smooth suede jacket induced euphoria? It keeps
realities at bay, the one in the rainforests, on the farms, in the laboratory,
unreal in its otherness. If the eggs are cheap, who cares which ass
they came from?
Denial and apathy are thus both very useful in giving reason to the
largely unquestioned ill treatment of animals. Yet there is nothing
quite like unmitigated blind logic of an archaic persuasion, to promote
irrationality in human attitudes towards the lives of other species
that occupy this planet. Perfectly designed in its own dogmatic view,
it requires no questioning. Sheer blood-lusting bliss. It is a monstrous
force of unreason, usually reserved for the outdated aristocracy and
upper classes, clinging on to the tatters of the nation's antiquated
heritage - the last exportable commodity left to us.
Noble hunters of Fox and Deer, sportsmen and women of the elite. How
they lament, those townies; they just dont understand the countryside.
Yet, in as much as a townie may be unfamiliar with the countryside,
at least they might hold some understanding of essential humane conduct
for the twenty first century. It is surprising to me that such noble
blood of, very, very, pure, unsullied breeding, has no access to a dictionary.
They may find sport and sporting very interesting.
Sporting means to behave in a fair and decent way, a sporting
chance of winning; whilst sport is a competitive pastime, often
comprised of mutually consenting, opposing competitors on equal
When did Mr. Fox give his consent? Where is his sporting chance? This
must surely be an oversight on their part. Still, damn Foxes, vermin
anyway. Did you know that foxes have the audacity to hunt and kill Grouse
for no ends other than their own survival? Luckily crusader of the countryside,
the one fat lady, previously known as two, has brought this issue to
the nations ear. Along with her comrades in arms, they are on
a mission to exterminate the scourge of the fox. The reasoning behind
this? Well its all so simple. There are very few Grouse left,
due to over-hunting, they have become quite rare. Thus action must be
taken, a call to arms! We must kill the Foxes; to ensure that there
will be more Grouse for us to shoot. Aristocracy, you say? Whats
that, a seat in the House of Lords? An MP? I see. These people have
a say in the running of the country? Makes you wonder which species
is really under threat. Apathy; denial; ignorance; all vital links in
the psychology of irrationality. We dont care, we simply think
© Chris Morgan
2001 - his first article for Hackwriters.
Chris will be joining the editorial team in October 2001