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'Humane slaughter' lampooned by The Onion

Posted: April 1, 2014 |   Comments

( In recent decades, efforts to improve animal rights and food sustainability have led consumers to become increasingly concerned about how livestock animals are raised, and how they are slaughtered. The vast majority of Americans are meat eaters, but few stop to think about the welfare of cattle before biting into a juicy cheeseburger. Americans would love to assume that the meat they consume falls straight off of docile cattle after they painlessly pass away without giving it a second though. Sadly though, that is not the case.

Even beef labeled as "organic grass fed" or "certified humane raised" usually die in a horrifically traumatic fashion, which prompts the question: what is meant by humane? Certainly, there is no such thing as a cruelty-free burger, as exemplified in a recent article by the satirical news source The Onion:

Consumers today are more conscientious than ever about the choices they make at the supermarket. They want to know that the food they put on the table for their family is all-natural, environmentally friendly, and humane. And that's why we here at Nature's Acres Ranch hold ourselves to a higher standard and produce only the finest grass-fed and 100 percent additive-free beef. We guarantee that our cows are ethically raised on sustainably grown pastures before we hang them upside down from a moving conveyor and slice their throats wide open.

The Onion piece satirizes the use of the word humane by the meat industry and how it's used to trick consumers into feeling no guilt from killing another living being for food. The article continues, saying that the fictional ranch is committed to "making sure that you, the customer, receive the best-tasting, highest quality beef from cows that are healthy, active, and eventually suspended fully conscious inside a facility thick with hot, blood-choked air and the frantic bellows of dangling, profoundly fearful animals."

While slaughterhouses generally use a device called a "stunner" ostensibly to kill the brain and remove pain before being killed, by injecting a metal bolt between the eyes, the entire process is nonetheless traumatic, stressful and possibly still painful, as cattle watch their brethren kick and spurt blood in their last few chaotic moments clinging to life.

We shouldn't blindly trust certifications just to eat a steak without feeling guilt. Consumers should be conscious of the entire process. In that way, we can move forward to truly treating animals humanely, while respecting them for the sustenance they can provide.

Mocking "humane" slaughterhouses and the gullible customers who support them, The Onion's article concludes: "So next time you choose a steak or ground chuck to throw on the grill, consider a healthier, more humane, and tastier option, and look no further than the Nature's Acres Ranch line of products. We're the one with the smiling cow on the label!"

Be sure to check out The Onion to read the satirical article in full.

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