They are more alike than not in their violations of moral good sense.
Agood no government is better than China at removing annoying people, strange mercy has been given to vendors in the country’s live animal meat markets, who, according to most accounts, have given us the pandemic and yet , reports it Daily Mail, have recently been allowed to relocate. The closure of the coronavirus in China is over, the authorities have encouraged the celebrations of “victory” and the citizens can once again shop in the midst of the cries and chaos of the slaughter of animals. Ahh, back to normal life!
In these parts, we are told, you don’t really celebrate unless there is bat, pangolin, cat or dog meat on the table – the latter, note the Daily Mail, “A traditional” warming “winter dish.” Journalist George Knowles, writing at the end of last month, provides one of the sweetest tales of the scenes that will quickly deplete anyone’s supply of culturally sensitive euphemisms, describing one of the markets – also known as “wet markets” where both live and dead animals are found. offer – in the city of Guilin, in the southwest of China: “Terrified dogs and cats crammed into rusty cages. Bats and scorpions offered for sale as traditional medicine. Rabbits and ducks were slaughtered and skinned side by side on a stone floor covered with blood, dirt and animal remains. “
If you want more details, we have Paula Froelich, travel writer, in a recent New york post column, recalling how, in the Asian live animal markets, she visited the condemned creatures “stare at you”. When their turn comes, she writes:
animals that have not yet been shipped by butcher’s knife make desperate offers to escape by climbing on top of each other and jumping or jumping out of their containers (to no avail). At least in wetlands [where marine creatures are sold], animals do not make noise. The cries of mammals and poultry are unbearable and heartbreaking.
The People’s Republic has reportedly banned the trade in exotic meat, and a large city, Shenzhen, has also banned dog and cat meat. In reality, observe a second Daily Mail correspondent, reporting anonymously from Dongguan City, “the markets have started to function in exactly the same way as before the coronavirus.” Nothing has changed except for one characteristic: “The only difference is that security guards are trying to prevent anyone from taking photos, which would never have happened before.”
Lest we hope too much for a backlash after the pandemic, let’s consider the Chinese government’s idea of a palliative for those who suffer from coronavirus. As the crisis spread, experts in “traditional medicine” from the Chinese National Health Commission apparently turned to an ancient remedy called Tan Re Qing, adding it to their official list of recommended treatments. The potion consists mainly of bile extracted from bears. The luckiest of these bears are slaughtered in the wild for the use of their gallbladders. The rest, across China and Southeast Asia, are captured and “cultivated” by the thousands, in a process that involves their endless confinement, year after year, in cages adapted to size, interrupted only by the agonies of having bile drained. Perform an image search on “Bear Bile Culture” at a time when you are ready to remember which hellish animal torments only human stupidity, arrogance and selfishness.
If one abomination could give an antidote to the consequences of another, Tan Re Qing would surely be the right thing to do to treat a virus found in pathogenic dirt and bloodshed from the living market in Wuhan. There is actually a synthetic alternative to bile acids, but Tradition can be all in these areas, and enthusiasts insist that the substance must come from a bear, even if real medical science assesses the whole concoction between the useless and the useless. President Xi Jinping has promoted these traditional medicines as a “treasure of Chinese civilization”. In this case, the keys to the treasure open sordid little cages in dark rooms, where the suffering of innocent creatures is completely ignored. And perhaps right there, in the will and hardness of heart of all these practices, is the source of the troubles that began in China.
Already, in the Western media, the chronologies of the pandemic have taken precedence over the details of the live animal markets, which have already caused viral epidemics and would in any case justify a correct judgment. News coverage picks up the story with the Chinese government’s hiding of the first cases of coronavirus and its silence from the heroic doctors and nurses of Wuhan who tried to warn us. Bypassing live markets for fear of appearing “xenophobic”, “racist” or of unduly judging others and in other ways, however, is perhaps losing sight of the most crucial fact of all. We do not know the end point of this catastrophe, but we are almost certain that its precise point of origin was what Dr. Anthony Fauci politely calls “this unusual human-animal interface” of the live markets, which, according to him , should be closed. falling immediately – probably including the quietly tolerated markets in our own country. In other words, the plague started with savage cruelty to animals.
The discussion of live animal markets is another of those points where moral common sense meets politically correct slavery, although it is not as if we are dealing with the most sensitive types in Asia here anyway. No Western critic needs to worry about harming the feelings or reputation of people who maximize the pain and stress of dogs in the belief that it refreshes the flavor of the meat, and then kills them in the market. the eyes of other dogs. Nor are the clients of these individuals likely to experience the sting of our disapproval.
About the many customers and suppliers in Asia, and especially in China, exotic dishes, endless ancient remedies, ivory carvings and trinkets, the best that can be said is that these men and women are no more representative of their nations than are the riffraff who rule the meat markets. Their demands and appetites have caused a ruthless plunder of wildlife across the earth – anything that moves a “living resource,” no creature that is rare or stealthy enough to escape its gluttony or vanity. In recent times, even donkeys, such peaceful and harmless creatures, have been gathered by the millions in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and South America to be shipped and slaughtered, all to meet the demand for a another craze for traditional Chinese medicine.
The Chinese government is easy to blame for all of this. The authorities have taken forever, for example, to enforce the prohibitions on carving ivory, despite undisputed competence in carrying out rapid repression measures. And in general, at all levels, government tends to tolerate a culture of cruelty, or to actively promote it to promote lucrative industries, both legal and illegal. But the problem goes deeper than this, even though many young Chinese, to their immense credit, have tried to organize against the ivory trade, the wet markets and other depravities within them.
In the treatment of animals and in the safeguarding of human health, there are elementary standards which all must meet. The challenge of clear thinking, as Melissa Chen writes in Spectator United States,
is to avoid falling into the trap of cultural relativism. It is entirely appropriate to criticize the rampant consumption of exotic animals in China, the lack of hygienic standards and the risky behaviors that expose people to zoonotic infections. Until these entrenched behaviors based on cultural or magical beliefs are dissociated from Chinese culture, the wet markets of the fauna will remain like time bombs ready to start the next pandemic.
Recognizing that Western societies have all the moral reasons to condemn the barbarity and recklessness of the live animal markets only invites us to ask a more difficult question: do we have a moral position? And if one of us is guilty of blind cultural prejudice or a sufficient feeling of superiority over Chinese practices, a moment of serious reflection will quickly put us on the right track.
When the Daily Mail describes how Chinese keepers of the live animal market “are now trying to stop anyone from taking pictures”, who does this remind us of? What about our own livestock companies, whose current mode of operation is systematic concealment through efforts to criminalize taking photos in or around their industrial farms and slaughterhouses? The biggest market killer of live animals in China, Vietnam, Laos or elsewhere would be entitled to ask what our big companies are afraid the public may see in the photographic evidence, or what is the real difference between its trade and theirs, except walls, machinery and public relations.
If you watch videos of wet markets online, likewise, it is striking how meat buyers continue to browse, haggle, chat and even laugh, some with their children. Without the horrors and moans in the background, the scene could be a pleasant morning at the local farmer’s market. As the camera follows them from counter to counter, you keep thinking What’s wrong with these people? – except that it is not so easy, rationally, to find comparisons that work in our favor.
No, we in the western world don’t get involved while the sinister-faced primitives execute and skin animals for meat. We have companies with people of similar temperaments to manage everything for us. And there is nothing about this “looking back” that the PublishPaula Froelich describes, because, in general, we keep the sadness and hopelessness of these creatures as deeply removed from conscious thought as possible. A denial label rejects the subject, leaving everything else to others. Addressing a Tyson Foods shareholders’ meeting in 2006, a worker at a slaughterhouse in Sioux City, Iowa, said: “The worst thing, worse than the physical danger, is the emotional toll. Pigs on the slaughter floor came and snuggled me like a puppy. Two minutes later, I had to kill them – beat them to death with a pipe. I do not care. “
Following the only consistent rule in both live animal markets and factory farming – that the needs of the most basic animals should always be subordinated to the most trivial human desires – this process yields the meats that people old favorites like bacon, veal, steak and lamb are so badly needed that customers must have, no matter how they are obtained. When the pleasures of food become an excessive desire, forcing demands without need or limit and whatever the moral consequences, there is a word for it, and the fault is always easier to see among foreigners with more tastes in the flesh in freedom. But listen carefully to how these common foods or other dishes are spoken in our culture, and the mood of some Asians – those voracious and inflexible people who will not let anything hinder their next portion of pangolin scales or platter. winter for dogs – no longer seems a world away.
In the West, we don’t eat pangolins, turtles, civets, peacocks, monkeys, horses, foxes and little wolves – that’s a bonus. But for the animals we eat, we have sprawling, poisonous and industrial “mass containment” farms that look like concentration camps. National “herds” and “herds” that would all expire in their misery without massive use of antibiotics, among other techniques, to maintain their existence in the midst of misery and disease – an infectious “time bomb” more close to home as bacterial and viral pathogens gain resistance. And a whole series of other standard practices, such as “intensive confinement” of pigs, in gestation cages which seem to be borrowed from Asian bear gall farms; the bulldozer of lame “slaughtered cows”; and “maceration” of unwanted chicks, billions regularly thrown into mills. All this leaves us very seriously compromised like any model in the decent treatment of animals.
Such an influence that we have, in fact, is generally not proud. This enabled a perfect partnership when, for example, one of the most reputable of all our agricultural businesses, Smithfield Foods, was acquired in 2013 by a Chinese company, in accordance with a five-year plan managed by the State of the People’s Republic refine agricultural techniques and increase meat production. Now, thanks to American innovation, a la Smithfield, the Chinese can be just as rotten towards farm animals as we are – and just as sickly when they buy the worst elements of the Western diet.
In China and Southeast Asia, they still haven’t received our divine revelation in the West that humans should not eat or abuse dogs extensively but that all the atrocities committed against pigs are nothing . They are evolving in our culinary direction, however, and more than half of the world’s farmed pigs are now found in China and neighboring countries. In the contagion of swine fever which is currently spreading in this region – treated as usual by mass slaughter: gassing of tens of millions of pigs or living burial – our industrial farming system leaves its mark, while providing additional evidence that industrial farms are all pandemic risks themselves.
How many diseases, slaughterings, burial pits and prohibitions to photograph these places, even at their best, will we need before realizing that the whole system is deeply wrong, sometimes even nasty, and that nothing good can ever get out? Perhaps the live animal markets of China, with all the danger and ruin they have spread, will help us to see these horrible scenes as what they are, just variants of unnatural, useless and unworthy practices without which each society and culture would be better.
The plagues, as we all find out, have a way to inspire us to take stock of our lives and remember what really matters. If, while we are at it, we start to feel in this period of confinement and to fear a little more respect for the life of animals, a little more compassion, it would be at least a good sign for a post-pandemic world .