Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Will an American Jamie Oliver Please Stand Up?

"Those barricades can only hold for so long." - R.E.M., Belong


Our American animal movement hasn't paid much attention to the broadcast of "Jamie Saves our Bacon," Jamie Oliver's latest expose on factory farming conditions which aired in the UK last week. Perhaps because he is an unapologetic carnivore. But he is the only celebrity chef carnivore who exposes his countrymen to the connection of low-cost food and animal welfare. Thank you, Jamie! I think the fact that he is a meat-eater makes his case for raising the humane standards of farm animals even more credible. Even if that means paying more.

The visual is so important. On Oliver's show, two million viewers saw a baby pig having its tail docked, being castrated with no anaesthetic, and stunned, chained, and slaughtered with a knife, according to the Guardian. They are denied all their natural instincts...rooting, nesting, socializing...all so we humans can consume cheap meat.

Britain introduced welfare rules in 1999 that the rest of the EU has until 2013 to adopt, the Guardian noted, so this show was meant to enlighten Brits about animal welfare standards in the neighboring EU, where more and more of their cheaper pork is coming from, and encourage them to support British pig farmers. A report by Compassion in World Farming showed that 100% of farms it surveyed in Spain, and nearly 90% in Germany and the Netherlands provided no straw for their pigs at all, compared to about a third of British farms. Some 40% of breeding sows in Britain are kept outdoors, compared to less than 1% in the Netherlands.

Ina? Tyler? Giada? I would love to get into the heads of our Food Network stars. Do they give any thought to the lives of the animals they advocate the masses eat? Perhaps we animal activists should attend their book events and ask them these hard questions. In my pre-vegan days, I used to admire Giada De Laurentiis. I thought she had the most amazing life...traveling, cooking, attending culinary school in Paris, a handsome husband. But not anymore. She, like most of the Food Network chefs, cook their pigs, cows, chickens and fish and animal by-products on their fancy sets, where animal ethics sit on the back-burner. A life of ignorance is not a life I want to emulate. "Give me a bloodless road," Tori Amos signs in Sweet Sangria, which is now one of my life mottos.

Read the Guardian's full review of the special here.
Learn more about the Compassion in World Farming report.
RSPCA's 'Rooting for pigs' campaign.

One of the special's more G-rated fare. I apologize in advance if the video gets taken down, as Jamie's three videos on the special keep getting removed and put back up.

1 comment:

Josefina said...

i hate people eat animals.