The recent footage of Australian sheep unloaded in Jordan and slaughtered has been described as amounting to animal cruelty. I would assert that the Association that recorded these incidents is by its tone islamophobic and arabophobic. Only in one instance was a sheep handled abruptly; it did not equal the Indonesian cruelty against Australian cattle.
At that time, I enjoyed someone’s assertion that Australian cattle had more rights than boat-laden “illegals”. Furthermore, unless one is a vegan, we meat-eaters are complicit in animal cruelty, on every occasion that a living breathing beast is reduced to a carcass for our consumption. We are the summit of science fictional arrogance, an indifferently superior species expressing its hypocritical & sentimental affection for animals that we herd and nurture, but destined for the slaughter house and kitchen bench.
In an Armistead Maupin novel, Michael Tolliver announces that he and husband Ben are now vegetarians; they were already cutting up chicken flesh into smaller and smaller pieces. It’s how I feel; both my companion and I need the iron & protein content of animal flesh for our older aged well-being. But this does little to assuage my feeling of complicity in the business of raising animals for slaughter and consumption.
Back to the Jordanian film footage; I spent time in Jordan in 1979; I found the people strong, independent but friendly to foreigners; the Koran, after all exhorts its followers to welcome the travelling stranger. So, when I watched the TV footage of sheep having their throats cut and their carcasses loaded into cars, it felt like something that has happened for centuries. What struck me was the puzzling willingness by the people involved, to waste the blood of the sheep, instead, perhaps, of collecting it to make blood pudding. There may be a scriptural direction to allow the beast’s blood to flow freely in the act of slaughter.
It is the responsibility of Animal Rights Orgs in Australia to use language with caution; there was no visual evidence of intentional cruelty by the slaughterers. The use of the term “cruelty” was therefore entirely inappropriate, and an argument might be levied that the use of the term amounts to Australian xenophobia. Yes, an argument could be run that in some cases the animals were killed inefficiently, resulting in unnecessary pain experienced by the animals. This does not amount to cruelty; merely the evidence of traditional practice.
Perhaps, like many things that we do currently, which amount to a waste of resources and pollution of the environment, we may be encouraged by worsening environmental factors, to turn vegetarian in the future. I look forward to that honesty.