Thursday, April 5, 2012

Animal Genocide? How about "No".

This headline appeared on my Google Reader update: "Michigan Engaging in True 'Animal Genocide'." The byline reads, "The state of Michigan is only days away from engaging in what can only be called true “animal genocide” — the mass murder of ranch animals based on the color of their hair."

1) This act can not "only be called true 'animal genocide'" because 'animal genocide' does not exist. With the 18th anniversary of the (start of) Rwandan Genocide happening tomorrow, I feel it necessary to point out that genocide is an act committed by humans against humans. I also feel it is ridiculous that such a distinction needs to be made but the term "genocide" has been so conflated by media and pop culture that any instance of mass destruction can be labeled as genocide. This is not so.

2) "Mass murder of ranch animals based on the color of their hair." Way to evoke eugenics. I am sure victims of genocide and their families appreciate knowing their plight is/was comparable to that of pigs.

3) The story is actually about the plight of local/ small farmers who raise heritage-breed pigs and the possibility that these small farmers (ranchers) are being targeted because they are in competition with large-scale farms/ranches. That is a serious scenario and while the state of Michigan may claim otherwise, I am sure the livestock industry has a hand in this. But is it necessary to the inflame passions by glibly throwing "genocide" around? Because then the whole point of the story and the issue at hand is lost with notions of, "The state of Michigan is committing genocide? What the fuck!" rather than, "The state of Michigan is targeting small farmers? Those fuckers!"

4) Finally, let me say I do not agree with widespread slaughter of animals. It's horrible and, at times, possibly even tragic. But it is not genocide.

Still in shock that such a distinction needs to be made.