michael vick and the american diet

***Warning: This is totally a soap-box rant that includes some graphic content regarding factory farms. You will want to stop reading here if you are easily offended or take things personally, because that's not my intent. For you thick-skinned brave souls.... carry on.***

A lot of people are pretty pissed at Michael Vick right now and rightfully so. I mean, the guy was involved in some really heinous acts against innocent animals and he pretty much deserves to have the book thrown at him.

While I would love to place all the blame on Mike and his cohorts I have to wonder what influence our culture had on his decision to commit such violent acts against these dogs. Every year 27 billion animals are violently slaughtered by the same- and even more inhumane- means as those pit bulls. Each day at factory farms around this country thousands of pigs, cattle, chickens and turkeys are hung, electrocuted, beaten, slashed and boiled alive before being cut up or ground up, neatly packaged and shipped to your local supermarket… but that story won't make the front page of CNN.com anytime soon. Why is it acceptable for us to torture certain animals but not others? And why do we feel justified in passing judgment on Michael Vick over our bacon breakfast, turkey sandwich lunch and steak dinner? Do dogs feel more pain than farm animals? Are they smarter? Sweeter? Cuter? Why do they get preferential treatment and protection under American laws? I'm genuinely curious.

Do I think this lets Vick off the hook? Absolutely not. Do the crime, do the time. But there are plenty of other people (corporations) that allow this atrocity to happen on a much larger scale every day and we the people support it and turn a blind eye. Why?

I don't judge anyone for how they choose to live their life. I'm not against meat-eaters, I'm against factory farming. 99% of my friends and family members are meat-eaters and it doesn't bother me one bit. What bothers me is the way that we have turned life into a commodity, and the double-standard that's been created for the animals that will never have any option for their lives other than to end up on someone's dinner plate. I fault the government for that, not the consumer. Much like the dogs in this case, who were bred solely for fighting, and were killed when they didn't live up to a certain man-imposed standard, there are billions of animals this year who will never have a purpose other than death. And that breaks my heart while infuriating me to the core.

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