Saturday, June 18, 2011

Australia. Cattle Export. Animal rights activists march in Sydney. Abattoir or Slaughterhouse. Let's Call a Spade a Spade.

Animal rights activists march in Sydney: "Up to 1000 people have marched from Sydney's Hyde Park to Parliament House to protest live cattle exports."

If you are coming into this just now, you might want to read the story about AnimalsAustralia's investigative report on the inhumane treatment of Australian cattle exported to Indonesia and the subsequent suspension of cattle exports to that country.

Praises for the Australians who came out and protested this cruel business at locations across their country, usually at government offices. Thousands of protesters participated. It is not enough to sympathize, whatever the issue is. In our respective places in this world, we need to go out there and show our outrage, to lend our presence and our voices for the abused animals. Show yourself and be counted. Those poor animals have no one else but the AR people to protect them.

Whether the Australian government has the gumption and moral fiber to permanently ban cattle export to Indonesia and the Middle East, we will see...very soon. The Australian government could be negotiating with Indonesian officials, imploring them to use captive-bolt stun guns before slaughter. This would be an attempt to save the cattle industry from tanking, but it ignores the reality that all animal slaughter is cruel--even when a stun gun is used. All meat-eating stems from animal slaughter.

While watching the report above, I cringed every time I heard the word, abattoir. What is this word that cloaks the hideously cruel practice of animal slaughter? Even the animal rights advocate used it without hesitation.

Employing euphemisms in animal welfare is deflecting, or even denying, the horrible conditions that animals have to endure on their way to slaughter. Semantics do matter. Not surprisingly, some people have found a convenient term in French, abattre, to sanitize the blood and gore at the killing place. This verb, which means to knock down (a tree) or tear down (a wall), and its cognate "abattoir" has been applied tangentially to the slaughter of animals. Abattoir, quite frankly, sounds like a salon, a cleansing place. Let's recognize the suffering of farm animals, and not shroud it with stylish foreign words. Slaughterhouse is apt and to the point. It is not vague about what truly happens at the end of the line.

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