Monday, December 7, 2009

Let Them Eat Cake...and Rat Too.

I just saw something that I think is absolutely ridiculous.

There's a reality show on British TV filmed in Australia. It's called I'm a Celebrity....Get Me Out of Here. I've personally never seen it before.

Two of the stars of the show have been charged by the New South Wales police for animal cruelty. What did they do? Did they grab a joey from a kangaroo's pouch and play soccer with it? Did they torture a koala or snake? Did they abuse a dog or cat? Did they stick a calf in a cage where he couldn't move? Did they kill an endangered species?

No. They ate a rat. They killed it, cooked it, and ate it. Apparently, the RSPCA doesn't approve of such practices. It's all about the TV cameras. The RSPCA chief officer David O'Shannessy says, The concern is this was done purely for the cameras.


On this Sky News video, they talk about how it's fine to kill an eat an animal if you're desperate
and hungry in the bush.

I would LOVE to live in a world where people ate animals only when they were desperately hungry. I wish everyone was primarily vegetarian, and we ate animals only in life and death situations.

To me, it's so crazy to cry foul over the televised death of a rat. And it's nothing against rats. I've heard they can be very cute and intelligent. It's crazy, because we have grocery stores and restaurants full of dead animals who will be eaten for frivolous reasons.

Millions of Americans ate turkey a few weeks ago. Was it because their body was starving for protein? Was it because they couldn't find any alternate sources of nutrients? No. It's all about tradition, and the fact that turkey tastes good to some people.

This vegetarian website describes what some farm turkeys endure in America. They say:

Like chickens, the 300 million turkeys raised and killed for their flesh every year in the United States have no federal legal protection. Thousands of turkeys are crammed into filthy sheds after their beaks and toes are burned off with a hot blade. Many suffer heart failure or debilitating leg pain, often becoming crippled under the weight of their genetically manipulated and drugged bodies. When the time comes for slaughter, they are thrown into transport trucks, and when they arrive at the slaughterhouse, their throats are cut and their feathers burned off—often while they are still fully conscious.

I don't know. If I had the choice between being a Thanksgiving turkey or a free rat captured and killed on TV, I think I would pick the rat.

I'm looking at the New South Wales RSPCA website right now. I'm much do they do for farm animals? From what I can see, it looks like they mostly help pets. They rescue abused dogs and cats.

Oh! Wait. They ARE helping farm pigs. That's good. That makes me feel somewhat better. They're also pushing for cage free eggs.


Still. I don't think the British celebrities should be arrested for animal cruelty. I might think their career should tank for going on a reality TV show, but that's a whole different story.

I think televising the death of a rat is a positive thing. Too often people eat meat without thinking or acknowledging that it came from a live animal. It did not come from a thoughtless blob of cells. It came from an animal that's fairly intelligent, has emotions, and feels pain. I love how people watch a movie with a dying dog. They sniffle and wipe their eyes. Then they call up and order a sausage pizza. Hello? Do pigs not matter?

Maybe seeing a rat cooked and eaten on TV will remind people where their meat comes from.

I personally find it much more offensive when a cooking show uses meat, and they act like it's simply another ingredient you find in the refrigerator. If anything, I think THAT should be against the law. I think it would be great if the shows were required to show:

a) the tested intelligence of the dead animal
b) the enclosure in which it spent most of it's life
c) the slaughter of the animal

Many people cried foul when Sarah Palin did this interview. She chatted away while a Thanksgiving turkey was killed in the background. For those who complained about it....I wonder how many of them ate turkey for Thanksgiving?

I say if people are that squeamish about animals being killed...if the thought of animals being hurt brings tears to their eyes....then they should become vegetarian....OR make sure the animal products they eat/use come from more ethical sources.


  1. It's all tooo much isn't it? Talk about media hype ... your post is great, says plenty that needs to be said. Well done as always. xo

  2. Redness,

    Thank you. I think it's all a bit nuts. I changed my conclusion though. I realize I don't think people need to become vegetarian to prove they care about animals. I just think we ALL need to put more thought into what we consume...and try to be more ethical about it.

  3. I understand where RSPCA is coming from. Google "Basil the cat from Mackay" and you'll get some shocking details of animal torture. So putting something like that on TV gets into kids minds and in some ways pardons the treatment - so I understand why RSPCA is saying 'we are going to put our own message on the TV too'. I think this Basil the cat case is something a colleage at work was talking about and the kids that did the torture filmed it with their phones, imagining your job being to protect against this and not having laws to support it?... It is silly to target this TV show, but I guess that's the point isn't it? I think it's more about getting their big message to the public to not mess with animals than actually wanting something done about eating rats on TV.

    I agree with what you say about farming.

  4. Amy Michelle,

    I think there's a big difference between torturing someone's pet cat for the fun of it, and eating a rat.

    As for RSPCA wanting to make a point, I think when organizations like that become too extreme, they lose respect. I think stuff like that causes more harm in the long run...then good.

  5. I agree with you, Dina, that people should know where their animal food comes from. I didn't see the rat show, but I would think that seeing a rat killed and eaten could be educational. Rats are considered delicacies in some places. See, for example,
    for a recipe that sounds good. I have always thought that if I were in a position where I could not obtain food from more conventional sources, I would definitely consider catching and eating rats as a way to keep from starving.

    It would be good for people to know the source not just of dead animals they eat, but also products from live animals, such as milk and eggs. The two photos here show two ways to raise laying hens:

    Many so-called cageless hens spend their short, unhealthy lives in warehouses, crowded in with thousands of other unfortunate birds.

    I raise chickens and am very fond of them. When I my daughter was young and I was not working much away from home, we didn't have much money. So I used to kill chickens for food sometimes. I would kill them with one stroke, so I doubt they felt any pain. From the time they were born, up until the moment they died, they had wonderful lives, scratching for insects, taking dust baths, flying. Chickens do not fly long distances, but they love to exercise their wings. I often see them half flying and half running across the ground. The "free range" hens who are kept in warehouses never get to experience dust baths or flying or, really, any of the things chickens love to do.

    If I had a choice between being vegan and eating factory-raised animal products, I would be vegan.

  6. Barb-Central Texas,

    I really admire you for raising and killing your own food.

    I wish I could say I was vegan. I was for about a month, and then gave it up. I have felt very guilty and conflicted about it. Ethically, there's not much point in being a vegetarian if you're not going to be vegan.

    I AM trying to cut back on using dairy and eggs. I hesitate about being full vegan because I did that during my eating disorder....and I don't think obsessing about food is good for me. But I started doing vegan Wednesdays. I don't obsessively read ingredients like I did before. But I avoid stuff that is obviously dairy and/or eggs.

    Since doing that, I have found that I've cut down on dairy and eggs in general....not just on Wednesdays. So I'm happy with that step.

    I definitely think it's important for us to know where our food comes from. I think most of us deny it. I know I do at times.