May 14, 2020 at 1:48 pm #202259
So Matt, you’ll be stepping forward to be a slaughterman when socialism comes. Or will you expect others to do it for you?
I’ll always be willing to do the dirty work in socialism.
I knew a few killers from when the meat market was in Glasgow’s Gallowgate and they were no less decent human beings than anyone else.
I cited some examples of what they were faced with in a previous post as the rate of exploitation increased.
Rab, Bobby, Mick, were lovely warm hearted guys who are no longer with us.
Those circumstances they faced will not apply when capitalism has ended.May 14, 2020 at 2:15 pm #202263
The killing lines are being sped up in the USA right now, with even less veterinary oversight, the presence of which is not to reduce the cruelty to the animals but to ensure diseased animals don’t enter the food supply.
Yes capitalism is the cause, or rather it extenuates and exacerbates a belief that has existed previously ever since the Old Testament declared God gave Man dominion over animals…
But the cruelty is contagious is my point. Place men and women in circumstances that pain and suffering is the normal pattern then they too will become effected by it themselves.
Soldiers develop a self-defence mechanism where they express a lack empathy for the enemy. They dehumanise the enemy by making them anonymous with names such as gooks or rag-heads. Prisoners are no longer taken. They begin wanton acts of violence against civilians and non-combatants. There is a debate that it was the wartime atrocities of the Easter Front that facilitated the Holocaust
Just as some abused children are said to go on to become abusers themselves, people involved in the meat trade take home their problems. They suffer from PTSD and have higher rates of domestic abuse as well as substance abuse.
“Slaughterers will kill hundreds of animals every day – and they are the perpetrators. Dr Obuaya likened the work to child soldiers, forced into a conflict situation in which they have to commit horrific acts of violence.”
We as a Party have no reluctance to condemn employers who ignore health and safety, even if we fully understand that such is due to costs cutting into profit margins. We see it as another act of capitalism “dripping blood from every pore” and we expose every factory or occupational death for what it is – callous .
Surely JO is right to condemn the inhumanity we participate in or are passively complicit in, even though we are powerless to bring an end to it without ending capitalism itself.
To protect our fellow workers’ mental health, we have to say that socialism will not countenance barbarity against animals just to satisfy our present eating habits and diet. Even the most humane methods of slaughter are not without cruelty, so socialism cannot be a predominantly flesh-eating society.
We may be victims but as I said earlier, it is up to us as individuals to shed the conditioning and brainwashing that capitalism tries to instil into us. It is slow work to free ourselves from the indoctrination we have received and still subject to, even more difficult when such isms as racism doesn’t receive the same degree of saturation with continual constant advertising from the food industry does in its efforts to present themselves, not as profit-driven as you say but the providers of wholesome, healthy food, that the medical experts cannot compete against when they expose the adulteration of cancer-causing processed meats.
And partly why we are do pliable to the PR is we have less free time to prepare and cook nutritious food. Time-saving convenience food is what we seek.
Nor is it just the meat industry, sadly. What was the Mars bar slogan – “work rest and play”, not fill yourself up with the high of a sugar-buzz.
I still believe eggs are healthy because of the “go to work on an egg” campaign even thought my doctor tells me the cholesterol might kill me. Lucozade lost its sick-room market as doctors deemed it harmful to the ill so they changed to a sports energy drink.
Just as I am confident that socialist society will decline to condemn fellow-workers to careers and occupations that detrimental to their physical well-being, socialists will not permit them to suffer the trauma of slaughtering and butchering sentient animal. I don’t think it is he type of work that can be rotated nor compensated by as we sometime suggest for other dirty dangerous and demanding jobs. Nor automated and performed by robots.
I think all JO is proposing is that we recognise the reality of what is happening today as we do the mass misery and suffering of all capitalism’s social problems and suggest that it will effectively if not entirely end in a socialist world, just as crime will not miraculously disappear but become an aberration.May 14, 2020 at 4:50 pm #202302AnonymousInactive
Deleted.May 14, 2020 at 4:59 pm #202303ALBParticipant
The argument against meat-eating from the appalling conditions both for the animals and the workers in slaughterhouses under capitalism today is not an argument as to why humans should stop eating meat. At most it would be an argument against eating some meat under capitalism.
It is also unfair because I am sure Alan could trawl the internet and find many examples of the appalling conditions under which workers have to work today under capitalism to produce food from plants, on tea plantations or in processing factories for instances. But those conditions are not regarded as a reason for not it eating plants.
In both cases they are conditions that arise from capitalism and reflect its competitive pursuit of profits in which the firm that can produce the cheapest wins. These conditions would not exist in socialism.
The question “If you eat meat, would you be prepared to work in a slaughterhouse?” is similarly unfair. The same sort of question could be posed to plant-eaters: would you be prepared to pick tea leaves or root crops? In fact, would you be prepared to clean the sewers?
In other words, why can’t people take advantage of the division of work? Why do we have to be prepared to work at producing everything we use or eat?
In any case you are not going to get people to change their eating habits by criticism or argument. I wouldn’t dream of trying to convince a plant-eater to eat meat. That’s their choice. Them trying to convince people not to eat meat comes across as virtue signalling. Which gets up people’s noses.May 14, 2020 at 5:14 pm #202304AnonymousInactive
May 15, 2020 at 12:10 am #202359Bijou DrainsParticipant
Alan – “Just as some abused children are said to go on to become abusers themselves,”
This is a pretty poor argument, and also part of what has become a bit of an urban myth, and I can speak here from having worked in the field of child protection for many years. I acknowledge that you say some victims of child abuse rather than all victims, but the statistical difference is very small. It is sometimes called the vampire hypothesis, and basically it is proved wrong by the current focus on the R number.
Child abuse has gone on for millenia, if child abuse victims were to go on to be abusers then they would be highly likely to have more than one victim, to put it in the context of the current focus on the R number, R would, given this hypothesis, have to be far greater than 1. As you will know from all of the publicity on the R number, if R was higher than one with abuse victims, then by this stage in human development all of us would be probably be victims or perptrators, or more likely both. As this is very evidently not the case, the vampire hypothesis can be discounted.
This does not mean that poor early childhood experiences cannot have a profound impact on all aspects of our development they can.
I think a good understanding of Attachment Theory and the work of John Bowlby and those that use his theoretical approach, is an essential weapon in the armoury of all Socialists, and I would encourage a greater understanding of this theoretical approach within the WSM.May 15, 2020 at 12:35 am #202365
ALB, the case is not against meat-eating but the scale of it. It has become even under capitalism ecologically unsustainable.
We have been here before and I think we all concurred that the amount of meat in the Western diet, and now increasing in the diets of parts of the world, will be reduced. I know from my youth, that the only regular meat I had was such things as sausages, cheap cuts of meat filled out with various non-meat ingredients, or it was Spam, corned beef. Not much has changed in modern-day. They just disguise processed meat better and call them chicken nuggets.
Recall my light-hearted banter in the past with Bijou over Greggs sausage rolls? How things have now changed so quickly with their vegan versions being the most popular. What changed was not that people’s desires changed, but the availability was offered at no sacrifice in taste to the consumer and a win-win solution for all.
Perhaps we will return to the day where the main meat meal will be the once-weekly Sunday Roast, or even annually, the Turkey Christmas dinner (again, for myself, it was chicken as they were still pricey for everyday but much less expensive than turkey. Rabbit was cheaper than chicken and our substitute. Goose? Duck? Unimaginable.
You know also from past debates that I have argued that many things that we consider as daily staples such as tea and coffee and sugar will be reduced and become luxuries. Not by consumer habits but by the producers who will no longer have poverty to chain them to the fields and submit to the arduous back-breaking work. They will either switch to more nutritious crops to primary serve their local needs or they will simply migrate to more hospitable conditions.
In a perhaps not perfect analogy, we have in the US a shortage of pork because workers at Tyson, the world largest food processors, are declining to turn up at the factories due to the risk of contracting Covid-19. (But factories closing is being done unplanned and irrationally)
Our case is that when we have socialism and if the means to obtain raw materials were too exacting on the health of the producers or the environment we would expect a socialist society to come up with either another way of extracting the resources, reducing the burden on the workers or the damage to the eco-system, or society would find an alternative product that if not an entire substitute but which can serve as second-best if not equally as good. I think that will be the case. Liebnig’s Law of Minimum.
A humane society I suggest will not expect its members to face psychological harm just so others can benefit when there is no requirement. It is what I have read in our arguments against shift work. It may be more efficient but it is proven to be detrimental on our general health. Where it can be ended, it will be. Where it is essential, a form will be designed which minimises the ill-effects. Society will collectively carry the cost of “abolishing” it.
Of course, being a world commonwealth, what happens here may not happen there.
No great social change happens overnight and takes place simultaneously everywhere. Just as various organs of the State will rapidly disappear, others will lose their function and wither away gradually and some will remain greatly modified. But we do say socialism will be State-free. We can generalise and still accept exceptions.
I think JO and I are saying that the Party should not hold back from presently unpopular conclusions. Our eating habits will radically change. We can confidently say that. For the better of the individual’s well-being and for society as a whole. We are not demanding a menu of immediate reforms but a recognition that some reforms are good and should not be opposed.
Regards non-meat food, again I remember fresh veg and fruit was seasonal. The local (locavore) food movement may not be perfect and their claims of lower carbon-footprint challengeable but people can go without newly picked strawberries for part of the year. Satsumas and mandarins were again for me a festive treat that I never enjoyed year-round.
But more seriously Africa already suffers from the consequences of imported food handicapping domestically grown agriculture, driving the urbanisation. Should, as you suggest, the division of labour determine that Thailand and Vietnam supplies Nigeria with its rice? Or will socialists concentrate on raising the productivity and output in Nigeria?
I’m not calling for autarky but to have proper autonomy in decision making and versatility and variety, decentralisation of manufacturing and farming may well take place, even if the scales of economy makes it less efficient. Is it becoming the cook-shop of the future to acknowledge that when we have socialism, and a good reason for seeking it, is that it will be a social system which will facilitate relationships where we will treat people with compassion but also foster compassion for other creatures.May 15, 2020 at 12:54 am #202369
Bijou, I stand corrected by someone much better informed. And I appreciate your advice on where to learn more.
It was a bad example and an inaccurate one but it should not distract from my claim that those who work in slaughterhouses and abattoirs become harmed by the experience and that it spills over into the wider community.
Researchers describe such detrimental damage to mental health as “Perpetrator-Induced Traumatic Syndrome”
Why do people work in such places? The camaraderie? For the job-satisfaction? Because they enjoy such work?
Of course not. It is poverty and it is as I said the reason that all around the world the majority of workers in such places are immigrants, forced by poverty to accept such jobs. And to risk another well-deserved slap, it is similar to the reason for the recruitment of immigrants into the sex trade.
The individual is not to blame but the society that drives people to such extremes that such jobs are their only choice.
It is no wonder that factory farms and slaughter houses are the few places that don’t welcome school visits or work-placements nor invite the general public. In the US new secrecy laws are being passed to ensure no adverse publicity.May 15, 2020 at 2:35 am #202370AnonymousInactive
Deleted.May 15, 2020 at 2:47 am #202371AnonymousInactive
Deleted.May 15, 2020 at 3:04 am #202373AnonymousInactive
Jack the Ripper and slaughterhouses.May 15, 2020 at 3:12 am #202374AnonymousInactive
Deleted.May 23, 2020 at 10:01 am #202780
Why was this topic shut down?
I wished to follow up on the dire situation of abattoir workersMay 23, 2020 at 10:02 am #202781
And here is another related item to the topic – the culling of livestock
“…ventilator shutdown (VSD) would “essentially cook the pigs alive”.”May 23, 2020 at 10:19 am #202785ALBParticipant
Interesting new study here which brings out the co-evolution of tool-making and the human brain. Benjamin Franklin was nearer to the mark than he thought when he described humans as tool-making animals.
This is a key feature distinguishing humans from other animals and which has meant that human societies have changed along with the tools (instruments of production) they make and use. No other animal society can change in this way.
But like all other animals how humans procure what they need to survive shapes their behaviour, the only difference is that the others’ is unchanging while humans’ changes in line with the tools they use.
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