by Raju Peddada
(Swans - June 3, 2013) I have devoted the last two months writing about meat and our addiction to it -- and why not? It's about the most important issue there is out there. It's about the corruption of our bodies/health, our minds/conscience, and our finances/environment. The headlines are screaming about it everyday, as realization and implications set in. Meat, no matter how you look at it, is inherently rotten, it's a rotten concept for food. So is it surprising when the news about it is rotten too?
What makes it revolting is the irrefutable fact that murder originates in religious slaughter, with such overtly cynical concepts as "Kosher" and "Halal," as if these spurious and arrogantly ignorant words can assuage or indemnify all the corruption that follows them. Killing another being is murder. How the fuck does it make any difference how you kill them? This is exactly where such concepts as beheading and execution "in the name of our God" come from. And those who do it are beatified, deified, and called muftis, martyrs, and saints. They have even designed and specified daggers (scimitars) and procedures to be used for murder. Murder is sanctified by such bestial concepts as halal and kosher, supposedly "words of God." Behead non-believers, cut their throats, burn their homes, rape their woman, and you are a martyr or a saint -- see the relativity? Sheep for eating, or humans for god, what's the Goddamn difference? Don't you feel that such religion(s) should be the synonym for rotten? Religion = rotten (meat = corruption), it's intrinsic!
The Reality of manipulation, hypocrisy, and cynicism in halal and kosher is far more dense and fantastic than any literary magician can conjure. Pascal Mercier, a professor of philosophy and psychology, and a great European writer, would find these psychopathic concepts of manipulation worthy quarry for probing for his next fiction. To supply meat to both these gobbledygook concepts, kosher and halal, we have the Catholics -- Polish Catholic entrepreneurs. That is exactly what has transpired in Poland for many years, where they built a meat processing industry to supply meat to Jews and Muslims. Vanessa Gera reports in her Associated Press article "Polish Exports of Meat For Jews, Muslims in Limbo." Here are some excerpts [with editorial comments]:
For some, it was a barbaric way to treat animals. For others, it was great business. Until January, slaughterhouses across Poland -- a deeply Catholic nation -- were the unlikely venues for the Islamic and Jewish slaughter of animals, which in both religions involves a swift cut to the throat of a conscious animal and death by bleeding. [Weren't the pilots, stewardesses, Daniel Pearl, and others cut the same way?]
In a victory for a growing animal rights movement, activists succeeded in getting a ban on such religious slaughter. But with economic decline deepening and exports seen as a possible salvation, the government faces pressure... [It's always about money.] Though Poland's own cuisine is heavy in pork, a meat banned by Jewish and Islamic laws... Kosher and halal meat exports have grown between 20 and 30 percent per year in recent years...
The kosher and halal business had boomed until January... Animal rights activists argue that killing animals without stunning them first causes unnecessary suffering to the animals. Jewish and Muslim leaders strongly disagree, and insist that their method is actually more humane, in part because it causes the animals to lose consciousness very fast... Poland's chief Rabbi, Michael Schudrich, says Jewish tradition has been always been concerned with the welfare of animals... [Why worry about suffering when you intend to kill them... Want to have your cake and eat it too -- it's sinister hypocrisy and cynicism.]
The pro-market government of PM Donald Tusk is also eager to get business going again and has recently drafted a law that would reinstate religious slaughter while also adding some new protections... [money and money, procrastinate morals] There is a degree of unfairness in banning Jewish and Islamic slaughter when so many Polish Catholics follow a similar practice themselves at Christmas, when carp are slaughtered in homes across the nation without any pre-stunning. [Wonderful, egalitarianism in slaughter practices!]
Meat-religions need three things from you to survive: 1. Corruption of your cognitive mind-reasoning, 2. Corruption of your conscience faculty for empathy, and 3. Corruption of your body addiction and dependence to animal flesh/fat, specified by religion. Only when your religion gains control of these three aspects in you, will they possess your testicles, enabling it to flourish. If you are able to thwart such corruption by mindful reasoning, conscientious contemplation and empathy, and thorough self-discipline and abstinence, you can be a happy, healthy, and an environmentally conscious "apostate," (not in the case of Islam-it's a lifetime club membership without exit), or remain a miserable and ignorant acolyte.
This was the meat news from a religious perspective. Well, here is more appetizing news for you meat aficionados, only this time it's from a health point of view. You see, meat stinks, whether it's coated with religious fervor or your craving saliva.
The February 2013 issue of National Geographic has a piece by Elizabeth Preston titled "Toxic Shark Fins?" Here's the gist of it. Deborah Mash, a research neurologist at the University of Miami, discovered a dangerous ingredient in the fins of 7 shark species. What is it? A neurotoxin with possible links to Parkinson's, Alzheimer's and Lou Gehrig's Disease, referred to as Beta-methylamino-L-alanine (BMAA). The molecule is apparently made by cyanobacteria, known as the blue-green algae, and can accumulate as it traverses up the food chain. Research in Guam some time ago found BMAA in bats consumed by the locals, causing neurodegenerative illness. These bats fed on the seeds of cyad trees with bacteria-harboring roots in the water. As ocean habitats dwindle, cyanobacteria will proliferate and become ubiquitous. BMAA will become a regular menu item for sharks, and eventually people who consume sharks.
Will this force the Japanese, the Chinese, the Koreans, and others Southeast Asia nations to reconsider their shark fin appetite? Will the unnamed and unidentified bacteria from all the slaughterhouses and their refuse make the meat eaters relinquish their cravings? This brings me to another question. Will the people of halal and kosher ever consider the health of their followers, and order them to abandon meat?
Will religions ever become reasonable and focus on reality? I must be hallucinating! With so much evidence against meat in, and at every quarter, we continue on towards self-destruction, like the birds that cannot see the glass, or the bugs that find the carnivorous pitcher plants.
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About the Author
Raju Peddada is an industrial designer running an eponymous brand, purveyor of ultra luxury furnishings of his own design (see peddada.com). He is also a freelance correspondent/writer for several publications, specializing in commentary, essay, and opinions on architecture, design, photography, books, fashion, society, and culture. Peddada was born in Tallapudi, a small southern town in south India. He's lived in New Delhi and Bombay before migrating to the West Indies and eventually settling in Chicago, Illinois, where he worked in corporate America until he chose to set up his own designing firm. He lives with his family in Des Plaines. (back)