He does say things for effect, and I've certainly forgiven him a lot over the years because of that reason. But he's now made this parallel a few times, and it's clear he genuinely believes it. As I've always said, on the subject of killing animals he's deeply irrational. His emotions dominate his intellect. With that in mind, I guess I'm willing to forgive him. I just hate that he makes these comments, because most are not as forgiving as his fans. It's a setback for the cause of animal welfare when people make these moronic comparisons. If you're a writer of Morrissey's capacities you can easily make dramatic, arresting statements about the sanctity of life and the moral imperative to prevent cruelty to animals without comparing the slaughter of chickens to one of the most appalling atrocities in history. It's a failing on almost every level. It's beneath him, frankly.
Mostly I support the things Morrissey has stood for in the past. Mostly his opinions align with my own. But on the subject of animals, I've always dismissed him. When I was 14 I listened to "Meat Is Murder" and, believe me, I desperately wanted to agree with the logic in the song. I really did. I wanted to make that song into a banner under which I could march on a crusade. It took all of five minutes for my adolescent mind to puzzle out the logic, though, and it didn't hold water. Meat is not murder. The slaughter of animals for meat might be cruel, unnecessary, morally repugnant, barbaric, catastrophic for the environment, and produce unhealthy food for humans to consume. It isn't murder; "a death for no reason" is laughably inadequate as a definition of murder. It's obvious what he means, but it falls apart under scrutiny. So even back in the day I just said, "Okay, he feels this way at a level beneath, or perhaps superior to, logic or rational thought". Which is fine, in the end, but he's never going to convince me with his arguments. Now, showing seal pups with their heads bashed in, thrown into the middle of a video ("Interesting Drug"), that might do some good.
Last edited by Worm; July 11, 2012 at 05:17 PM.
That isn't to say abattoirs aren't awful places. I'm not arguing that animals need to be slaughtered, humanely or otherwise. Morrissey has every right to speak out about the horrible treatment chickens and other animals receive at the hands of greedy humans. I support the basic idea. I would hope we all agree with him on some level, even if we happen to eat meat. I'm simply saying that his argument, equating chickens to humans, is deeply insulting and painfully unworthy of a great artist.
Last edited by Worm; July 11, 2012 at 06:21 PM.
Hurdle one: not cleared.
Another. Is every death lacking a reason definitely a murder? What's a car accident?
Hurdle two: not cleared.
Again, these are logical objections. I'm objecting to the terms of his argument. Do I know what he means? Sure I do. I get it. My point is that his argument qua argument was a bloody mess. "Meat Is Murder" inspired me to visit the local library, where I discovered three or four solid, intelligent, airtight arguments against the eating of meat and the cultivation of animals for the restaurant industry. So it worked in that sense. But I could never, ever buy into the reasoning he put into the song. I might have a dozen deep moral objections to meat but one of them will never be that it's "murder". Brilliant slogan, though-- it works beautifully on record covers and T-shirts.
Last edited by Worm; July 11, 2012 at 06:32 PM.
On a wider point - you will never, ever, stop people eating animals. Never. The best we can do is give them a decent, happy life and a swift painless death. It doesn't always happen, but you will never stop people eating meat. Personally, I donate to Compassion In World Farming, whose views and aims most closely match mine.
Last edited by Uncleskinny; July 11, 2012 at 07:03 PM.
However, a person possesses a higher consciousness. (I'm not talking about anything metaphysical, like a soul; science accounts for higher consciousness in evolutionary theory.) The alien species which visits Earth would see this; in fact, your alien analogy would prove my point, because an alien race would see that a cow and a chicken are nothing like a human from the perspective of a higher consciousness. An itinerant alien vessel, full of curious scientists (like "E.T."), would have visited many planets in many galaxies and would well understand the difference between living things which possess a higher consciousness and living things which do not. If you'll excuse the expression, for our hypothetical aliens the pecking order would be obvious: chickens at the bottom, then humans, then their advanced alien race. They would see this just as we see both grass and chickens as alive, but alive on different planes of existence. Our aliens might choose to colonize us anyway, since our species is stupid, barbaric and primitive, not to mention suicidal, but I doubt they'd see it as equal to harvesting chicken nuggets.
You can argue that I have no knowledge of what a chicken thinks about its own life. Get back to me when a chicken writes "Anna Karenin" or the Fifth Symphony.
Now, I think it's perfectly possible to argue that all life is sacred, as Buddhists do. I don't happen to agree, completely, but that line of thought, to me, is perfectly valid. But to say "all life is sacred, we must not wantonly kill" is much, much different than "KFC is the Holocaust".
Last edited by Worm; July 11, 2012 at 07:14 PM.
I'm like you. I'm in the middle. I hate animal cruelty of any kind. I eat meat, but I minimize the amount I consume, as much as possible, and I do care about where it comes from. At the end of the day, I'm glad Morrissey is as outspoken as he is. PETA, too. More compassion in the world is always better than less, and there are precious few voices adding to it. But yeah, I agree, there's a middle ground between radical veganism and McDonald's. We can all help move the world toward that goal. Ultimately I think the strongest argument in favor of veggies is one of land and climate: as the world shrinks, and climate change starts to devastate global harvests, we simply won't have the luxury of wasting so much valuable soil on cows. Meat may then equal murder, murder of humans by starvation. Not to mention the problem of deforestation and what that means to the planet.