If You Eat Chicken, Hold the Outrage About the Gorilla

Columnist: Americans happy to ignore vast suffering in industrial meat production
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2016 10:03 AM CDT
If You Eat Chicken, Hold the Outrage About the Gorilla
This 2015 file photo provided by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden shows Harambe.   (Jeff McCurry/Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden via The Cincinatti Enquirer via AP, File)

The outrage over the killing of Harambe the gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo continues to build, something that Dylan Matthews at Vox finds to be hypocritical. Many of the same Americans who are incensed that Harambe's life was taken are happy to blindly ignore the vast suffering—even "constant torture"—of animals caught up in the nation's industrial meat production, writes Matthews. Take chickens alone: The typical American eats 28 a year, which translates into about 1 million being killed every hour for meat—after being raised in cramped quarters and bred to freakish proportions that result in chronic pain. If anything, the chickens raised for eggs have it even worse, thanks to "battery cages" that keep each bird confined to a space less than a standard 8-by-11 sheet of paper.

So, yes, the killing of Harambe—while necessary—was awful, writes Matthews. "But compare his brief death and denied future pleasant life to the weeks of excruciating agony that broiler chickens endure toward the end of their lives—and then consider that by buying those chickens, you're very likely inflicting that exact agony on dozens of birds." Meat-eaters angry about the gorilla's death ought to examine their own actions, suggests Matthews. "I think it's almost certainly the case that eating chicken, as raised in the US, is a greater moral wrong than killing Harambe the gorilla." Click for Matthews' full column. (More gorilla stories.)

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