This year, the module Media Events and News Cultures included a variety of interesting concepts and topics e.g. Integrity in Journalism, Media, Morality and Moral Panic, sustainable and accommodative ecology. I sought to integrate the theories and ideas learnt in the module, in an attempt to demonstrate how media contributes to misrepresentation of facts from corporate industries and threaten animal livestock extinction. I chose to explore the issues of ethics, integrity and tolerance in the Campaign 'Holocaust on Your Plate'. The campaign compared eating meat and modern agriculture practices with the holocaust. The reflective analysis will explore the issues that emerged in the media campaign: particularly how demand for meat is facilitating animal cruelty.
The focus of this essay is analyzing how increasing meat demand has contributed to animal cruelty especially being slaughtered for meat. The essay will analyze how media ethics especially integrity has hindered people from making informed decisions on sustainable dietary choices without compromising the rights of animals. Transparent photo-journalism demands the media to expose issues that threaten co-existence of all species in the ecosystem. The issues of social movements, food and agriculture, the environment and natural resources with respect to animals and humans were explored through pictures in the campaign. Although the campaign received much criticism, issues of morality, ethics and sustainable co-existence provide much needed insights into animal abuse.
The human being, from different cultural and historical contexts, has a special relationship with meat as food, and a part of everyday diets: in almost all cultures of the world, meat, beyond its meaning as food for survival, forms part of the cultural imaginaries and myths about food. Meat consumption has quadrupled in the last 50 years (Smil, 2014). Cultural wellbeing, is synonymous with abundance and absence of famine, and is also a key ingredient in culinary traditions that call for a meal as an act not only of food but sharing, a family, social action and cultural This particularity is reflected even in the abstention of the consumption of some or all of the meats, abstention that for centuries has been a practice arising from ethical-religious convictions and reflections in most of the world's great religions and in some cultures, and that today is increasingly widespread worldwide, especially in the new generations.
Although the choice of diet is an independent to the consumer, it is essential to understand the implication or consequences of that choice particularly in the long term. The increasing demand for meat has resulted in severe global concerns, and it's encouraging that more consumers have started to question their meat-diet choices. Studies have shown a direct correlation between the vast deforestation in the Amazon forest, and the high meat demand in the European markets. To meet this demand, meat companies have resulted in the industrialization of the livestock production. Consequently, to create more space for industrial meat production, there have been migration and displacement which cause hunger and poverty; loss of forest cover which has induced climate change.
Unfortunately, these concerns are not visibly evident in the meat or by-products that are purchased in the supermarket. On the contrary, the vast agro-industrial corporations try to minimize the adverse effects of our high consumption of meat. Packaging and advertising from developed countries show images of happy animals in happy farms on the meat products. The suffering subjected to these animals, the ecological balance interruption among other negative social impacts are misrepresented or hidden. One in seven people in the world does not have appropriate access to food. The high meat demand from the middle classes has led to intensive, large-scale livestock production which has caused hunger to large populations of the world. In many countries, consumers are made up of the tricks of agribusiness. Instead of using public funds to subsidize industrial farms - as in the United States and the European Union The broad outcry across the globe over animal brutality has seen many countries like the US make strides with the creation of centers and laws that protect the welfare of animals. The Animal Welfare Act, for instance, serves to protect animal welfare. Consumers want rational policies that promote genuinely sustainable, social and ethical livestock production.
In the USA and Europe, under the mantra of technological progress in agriculture and keeping with a growing concentration and integration in global markets, industrialized production of all types of products has also spread throughout Latin America over the past 20 years. The animals are quickly fattened in unimaginable overcrowded conditions, subjected to diets based mostly on soybeans and other industrially processed forages, and treated with a whole battery of drugs against diseases often arising from the same overcrowding. The meat industry has, in turn, socio-environmental effects that are increasingly complex and harmful. To mention just a few: the waste and effluents of feed lots (feedlot) and farms, the growing resistance of bacteria to the massive use of antibiotics, the extension of the planting of soybeans and genetically modified corn with increasing amounts of chemical agents, the disappearance of small and medium-sized agrarian producers, the growing pressure of the agricultural frontier, which expands on the last forests and forests of the region, as well as the often violent expulsion of peasants and indigenous communities that come to swell the poverty belts of the cities, losing their subsistence base. Importantly, there is a disturbing and growing trend of cases of meat-borne illnesses as a result of increasing appetite for meat.
The indiscriminate and therefore unconscious consumption of meats and processed by-products in all types of industrialized foods increases, which has triggered epidemic rates of obesity and related diseases in an epidemic manner. The supermarkets, seeking to reduce costs, receive subsidies or discounts from the governments themselves for livestock production, which sustains and promotes this consumption. The lack of agrarian policies that point to something more than the increase of tons of output and that are based on a long-term vision, for a rural economic, social and environmentally sustainable development is notorious.Vagman, a British group, noted in their study that a 10-acre piece of land could support approximately 24 people who grow wheat, 60 growing soybeans, 10 producing corn and two of them keeping livestock. From the analysis, livestock production is an inefficient utilization of scarce land, especially with increasing human population.
There are also shortages in the region of information and consumer protection policies that transparent the composition, consequences, and alternatives of the products that end up in our dishes. A critical analysis of the state of the Things do not necessarily imply advocating isolation from the world, but above all, realizing a sincere balance of all the economic, social and environmental costs associated with these production structures in the short, medium and long-term. It is necessary to rediscover old techniques and think smarter new ones, sustainable structures that make it possible to reconcile the different economic, social and environmental needs. Productive but adapted livestock and agriculture require less technological packages, and more labor and greater use of knowledge. The reduction of meat production by at least 10 percent would avail grains that would sustain over 60 million people (Lappe,2011).
Contemporary applied ethics turns its interest towards the ethical consideration of life in general, widening the narrowness of the field of subjects that deserve attention and, also, raising new questions about the relationship of men with those forms of life that are not human. This is reflected in the growing interest of moral philosophy in the reflection on the link that humans have with nature as a whole and with the life of animals as individuals. So, concerning animal life, this set of reflections seeks to think about the moral status of man's relationship with animals and the possible obligations and ethical considerations towards them. Animals should be considered morally.
Singer popularizes the use of the term "Species" when introducing it in his book Animal Liberation as prejudice or partial attitude favorable to the interests of the members of our species and against those of others "(Singer, 1999a, p.42). The Australian philosopher delves into the notion by saying that speciesism is an "ethically indefensible discrimination against certain beings by their belonging to a species different from ours" (Singer, 1999b, p.5). Singer considers that such discrimination is based on certain types of misconceptions about animals, among them that animals are irrational and that their life is entirely mechanical, but that today they become weak in the light of the new evidence that ethology, Neuroscience, biology, and zoology have shown about animal abilities and abilities to solve problems, socialize and even have emotional life.
The critical point is that, when these skills and abilities exist, the animals that own them, have a series of interests to satisfy, which are limited when they are confined, isolated from their social group or even painful killed. Morley Safer reported on media the harsh reality pigs go through such as limited sunshine, having no materials for lying on such as hay and mud for rolling on. Reports indicate that sows live in small cages that are too narrow for at least making turns around. The pigs stay on metals grates with their waste pushing through the slats that are under them. Animal brutality leaves behind severe consequences at a physical and psychological level and should be condemned at all levels. The growing access to information has created the much-needed awareness on animal brutality and the threat of extinction from massive killing by meat industries, industries sustained by the high market demand. Also, the long-term impacts of meat consumption especially the life-threatening meat-related illnesses have made consumers to re-evaluate their diet choices.
Hopefully, the consumers will make informed decisions, considering the presence of other sustainable protein sources. According to Berger (1987), the man-animal relationship should be compounded on the recognition of the animal as a being that in addition to being used to satisfy the basic needs of man, is worthy of exaltation and veneration to be considered with magical and sacred characteristics that benefit the instance of man on earth, and that they grant a special recognition as a being that deserves respect. The use of animals for meat and as experiments for the benefit of human rights and the performance of other activities that cause unnecessary animal abuse should be discouraged especially since there are other options to satisfy primary and secondary needs without threatening animal existence.
Alleyne, E., Tilston, L., Parfitt, C., and Butcher, R. (2015). "Adult-perpetrated animal abuse: development of a proclivity scale." Psychology, Crime & Law. 21 (6): 570-588.
Cassuto, David N. (2007). "Bred Meat: The Cultural Foundation of the Factory Farm." Law and Contemporary Problems. 70 (1): 59-87.
Clack, W., 2015. Call for action against brutality during stock theft: introduction-inbox. Red Meat/Rooivleis, 6(5), p.7.
Doostdar, H.M., Shah, M.H., Sattari, M.H., Doostdar, A.M. and Mama...
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