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Steak for Breakfast - Ham for Tea
Cheap food for cheap lives
Chris Morgan on wasted lives

Would you look at that, celebrity of the moment ‘Phoenix ’ the calf is in panto. It would have been such a waste of life - doesn’t 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 people’s perceptions of where, and how, it may be happening, I can complain about it happening, but if I don’t 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 don’t know, perhaps that TV journalist in Devon. He seems to know a lot about it. But look! It’s that calf again, ahhhh. What’s 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 you’ll 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 don’t see daytime chat shows about it anymore, it can’t 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, I’ll 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 don’t 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 terms’.

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 nation’s ear. Along with her comrades in arms, they are on a mission to exterminate the scourge of the fox. The reasoning behind this? Well it’s 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? What’s 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 don’t care, we simply think we do.

© Chris Morgan 2001 - his first article for Hackwriters.

Chris will be joining the editorial team in October 2001

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