“Brenda, are you feeling a little bit hungry?” asked Kristen, reclined comfortably on her plush brown sofa.
“Why, yes, Kristy, I do believe I happen to feel just a scounce of hunger.”
“Let’s go to McDonald’s.”
“Alright, grab your coat.”
And so it was, our two young heroines racing down the streets of Wrightstown on a bright Saturday afternoon without a care in the world other than to enjoy some low-grade processed beef and chicken. They flew willy-nilly past the neighbors, past the credit union, and past the local elementary school in search of the great American fast food hamburger. Kristen rummaged the glove compartment in search of her unit, but it was nowhere to be found.
“Brenda, we’re fresh out of the ganj, would you care for some Vicodin and Zoloft?”
“Sure thing, Kristy, hand me one of each.”
So the girls took the Vicodin they had purchased off a friend and the Zoloft Kristen had stolen from her mother. Things were becoming comfortably numb, and the world seemed to be a little easier now. World peace? Who needs world peace?
Brenda parked in front of the door and both girls went inside to purchase some grub. Brenda asked the pimply-faced and scrawny high-schooler for a ten-piece McNugget and a Diet Coke. Kristen, meanwhile, ordered a Big Mac and a sundae off the dollar menu. They sat down to enjoy the snack before they would head home to sit on the couch and watch Ben Affleck movies yet again. Today’s feature was “Reindeer Games.”
But before either of them could take a bite, a waft of pink fog came up from under the booth and formed a little man beside them on the bench.
“Howdy ho, girls,” said the imp.
“Oh no,” said Brenda, “it’s Curb Stomp the Socialite Fairy.”
“No, no. That’s Crib Death the Socialism Fairy. Curb Stomp was my uncle who was shot in Vietnam.”
“I suppose you’re going to tell us how McDonalds donates money to the Russians who use the cash to kill orphans.”
“Not at all. I welcome the senseless killing of a few unwanted kids. The problem you girls are facing today is far more sinister.”
“Manual masturbation of animals for artificial insemination?”
“No, but that’s pretty close. You girls are about to cross a line into eating some of our fine Earth-sharing friends.”
“Chicken and beef? That’s what they’re for.”
“No, that’s what the farmers tell you the animals are for. Killing animals for food is just plain morally wrong.”
“Morally wrong? Food is food, and eating animals is our choice. It’s not like we’re breaking the law or something.” Kristen felt that this was so common sense that the fairy must be completely off his rocker.
“No, it is not a personal choice, Kristen. Is it a personal choice to kill a person? Is it a personal choice to sexually assault your kids? No, because when you’re hurting someone else, it’s no longer your choice. Would you want someone to capture, kill and eat you without your permission?”
“Well, no. But that’s just silly. Animals aren’t people. We don’t have to love them like we should love our friends and family.”
“You know, people used to think slavery was okay because the spades weren’t people. People used to force kids to work in factories all day because the kids weren’t equal people. The animals may not be human, but they have feelings, too, and someday we’ll look back and see our barbarism was wrong just as we now think whipping the slaves was wrong.”
“Um, you’re on such crack. If other animals are eating animals for food, why can’t we? Aren’t people animals, too?”
“Yes, people are animals. But the difference between us and them is that they have no choice other than to eat meat because it is their instinct. We don’t use our instincts and can get the vitamins we need in other ways. In fact, a vegetarian diet can help us get the minerals we need in healthier ways than from meat. Maybe you didn’t know, but some of our primate cousins are vegetarians. In some ways, they’re even more evolved than we are.”
“Hey, wait a second,” thought Kristen, “if we stopped eating meat where would the animals go? They can’t live on their own, you know.”
“Okay, woman, I might be idealistic but I’m not stupid. I don’t honestly expect everyone on earth to go vegan in one day. As the need for meat goes down, so will the need to raise these extra animals through biological engineering.”
“Yeah, but then the farmer is out of a job.”
“Not at all. If we switch to a vegetarian lifestyle, we’ll still need farmers to grow fields of corn, wheat, and other grains.”
“Alright, fair enough. But if everyone on earth ate grains, how could we possibly find enough land to grow it on?”
“You’re not thinking this through. Right now, we grow corn – and 70% of the corn we grow goes to the animals we raise. The cattle alone, not including pigs or sheep or anything else, eat enough food to feed 8.7 billion people. So we already grow an adequate amount. And we would need to grow even less as the reliance on grains increased, because right now we feed it to the cattle who process it and some is stored as usuable in their system, but much is given off as waste. Having cattle process grains we could process ourselves is an extra step in the food chain that only decreases the health value of the food we eat.”
“Oh. But let’s get down to brass tacks here. I know vegetarians who are sickly as all hell. Pale skin, hair falling out – there’s no way these people are getting enough protein.”
“Actually, these people you know are simply not putting in the bare amount of effort. Most Americans are getting way too much protein in their diets right now. Twice as much as they need, actually. This is all very dangerous as animal proteins increase your risk for such diseases as osteoporosis and kidney disease.”
“Fine, but where are they going to get protein if not from meat?”
“Silly girl. Protein is everywhere: whole wheat bread, oatmeal, beans, corn, peas, mushrooms, and broccoli. If plants didn’t have protein, where would herbivores get theirs from?”
“Okay, but isn’t there something that just makes meat healthy? It is one of the four food groups, after all.”
“Maybe not. The American Dietetic Assocation and even the United States Department of Agriculture – the guys who stamp your meat – endorse vegetarian diets. Get ready for this bombshell. Vegetarians have lower cholesterol and are less likely to die from heart disease and cancer. Meat and dairy products are linked time and time again to diabetes, arthritis, clogged arteries, obesity, asthma and worst of all – impotence.”
Brenda had taken a basic biology class and had to make an observation. “Mister Crib Death, sir, if people are not supposed to eat meat than why do we have canine teeth?”
“You girls really don’t understand the bigger picture. Yes, we have fangs. But most mammals do, and this doesn’t automatically make us designed to eat meat. Look at your teeth compared to any meat eater in the wild and you’ll notice how small your canine teeth are compared to theirs. These animals also have claws and short digestive tracts. Our long digestive tracts are built for breaking down grains, fruits and vegetables. Look at your nails. These are not claws – they would have served your ancestors much more good foraging in the dirt for roots than tearing through tough animal skins.”
“Hmmm… they never taught me that.”
“Well, next time you take an anatomy class, you ask your teacher the hard questions and stick it to them. Hard. In the ass.”
Kristen had been thinking of her grandfather. “My grandpa always said cows had to be milked or they’d get ornery.”
“A few basics of biology, Kristen. A heifer cannot lactate unless it has a calf to give its milk to. So, unless the cow becomes pregnant she never needs to be milked. The farmer impregnates the cow every year to keep her giving milk, but the calf never get the milk we steal from it. Hell no. The female calves are slaughtered shortly after birth. The boy calves are locked up for about 16 weeks in very tiny crates that are so small they can’t even turn around. Then we slaughter them for veal.”
“I didn’t mention why they give so much milk. But that’s a whole other story about bio-engineering that will come and bite us all in the ass someday. Oh, those veal calves I mentioned?”
“Nothing compared to the way chickens are raised. These little buggers are packed together so tight in a crate that not only can’t they turn around but also they are covered in their own shit and usually peck each other’s beaks off or turn to cannibalism just to get more room in the cage. If the farmer double or triple stacks the crates, all the shit from the top crates if spilled on the faces of the chickens below. After two years of this, the chickens die and have to be removed surgically because their feet will begin to grow right into the wire mesh.”
“I never even mentioned how the animals were slaughtered. The cows have their heads clamped down a device similar to a guillotine and have their throats slit. The cows slowly bleed to death without even being put unconscious first. They kick and stomp throughout the whole process. Lambs are down even more cruelly – they are strung up by their back angles and slit while hanging from the ceiling. You’ve never heard such noise as these lambs start screaming.”
“Why would anyone do this?”
“You know, I honestly don’t have any idea.”
“Okay, let’s say we stop eating meat and chicken. Now, what about fish? I know fish don’t actually feel pain so it can’t be nearly as wrong to kill and eat them, right?”
“First of all, you are suggesting that pain is what makes something right or wrong. So if you poison someone and they die in their sleep, that’s okay? But really, that’s beside the point because research shows that fish do feel pain. Whatever you were told was simply not accurate. Fishs have similar system to birds and mammals and have fully developed brains. Fish use their tongues and mouths like people use their hands. So when you’re hooking a fish in the mouth, you’re actually stabbing one of his most sensitive parts. An Australian study found that when fish are chased, confined, or otherwise threatened, they react with increased heart and breathing rates and a burst of adrenaline, just as humans do.”
“Fine, one last thing. Isn’t fish one of the healthiest things out there? Brain food?”
“Two words for you, babe – poisoned fucking water. I dare you to ask the Green Bay Water Authority how high the radium levels are in the aquifer that feeds the water systems of DePere, Ledgeview and Wrightstown. Significantly higher than legal limits, I assure you.”
“Well, my work here is done. Enjoy your lunch, girls.” And just as he came, the little man faded back into his misty pinkness and evaporated right out the door and into the sky.
“You want my chicken nuggets?”
“Psych!!! Can’t have them, bitch. Let’s go get some ice cream, too.”