Monday, March 25, 2013

Meat Industry Vexed about Slaughter and Feedlot Decline

"No feedlot for me! I'm a sanctuary cow."
Last week I learned that there's an online meat industry publication,, that everyone (including vehemently anti-meat vegan advocates like myself) may join. Why would I do such a thing?

Well, I was inspired by Jan Dutkiewicz, a graduate student who presented a paper at last year's North American Conference for Critical Animal Studies. While I didn't go to the conference myself (although I hope to this year), I did listen to Jan's talk on Animal Voices Radio. Jan analyzed the rhetoric of the pork industry, revealing how it consistently and completely objectified pigs—transforming them (both rhetorically and literally) from living, sentient beings to lifeless units of production. When Jan explained that this meat industry rhetoric was readily available, from the meat industry itself, I was intrigued. It's one thing to imagine what killers and torturers are saying and thinking; it's quite another to actually be privy to insider information—to get inside the heads of the perpetrators, so to speak.

So I decided to join to see what I would find there. My hope was that I would gain knowledge that could help me in my advocacy. And you know what? It already has!

For one thing, I've learned that the meat industry is worried. I reported in a recent article that the meat industry's own figures show a drop in the number of animals brought to slaughter in February 2013, as compared to February of 2012. Troubling news for the slaughterers, but great news for animal rights people and of course the animals themselves!

And just today, in the "Industry News" section of Meatingplace, there's a story about the drop in the number of cattle being confined in feedlots:
USDA on Friday reported that cattle placed in feedlots in the United States with capacity of 1,000 or more head in February totaled 1.48 million, 14 percent below a year ago and well beyond the 9 percent decline analysts were expecting, according to a Dow Jones survey.
A 14 percent drop in a single year? That's huge.

While the meat industry wrings its hands and tries to figure out how to reverse the trend, those of us who celebrate any news about animals being spared suffering and death can use this information to bolster our commitment to compassionate living.

Let's keep the trend going. I can't wait to read more industry articles boo-hoo-hooing the decline of meat. The more they worry and complain, the more we know we're doing the right thing.


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