You Are What You Eat: Rationalising Factory Farms in Don LePan’s Animals

A question that troubles those concerned with animal welfare is why humans are overwhelmingly apathetic to the massive suffering required to produce their meat under factory farm conditions. Ignorance can only partially explain this indifference: information about the conditions in slaughterhouses, finishing feed lots and the like, while not frequently highlighted in mainstream media, is readily enough available as the background to stories about potential pandemics such as ' avian flu ' and ' swine flu ' , and has been documented extensively in a number of popularly available books.1 We do not know of the suffering of animals in factory farms in large part because we choose not to know, preferring to think of our meat only in relation to the neat, hygienically packaged trays in supermarkets rather than in relation to frightened animals painfully and bloodily dismembered. Yet even when animal deaths are admitted to our understanding of meat production, we remain reluctant to change our ways. The dominant culture, aggressively shaped by meat industry advertising, is convinced that meat eating is natural and healthy, and that animal suffering and lives do not matter in the face of competing benefits to human life.

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Published 1 June 2010 in Volume 25 No. 2. Subjects: Animal Studies.

Cite as: Vint, Sherryl. ‘You Are What You Eat: Rationalising Factory Farms in Don LePan’s Animals.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 25, no. 2, 2010.