I Accept and Agree to These
Terms and Conditions
The act of enslaving humans and agriculture to benefit our needs is an issue of moral concern and has created an irreparable divide between race, class, gender, and even species. At the rate of our swelling global populace, the demand for our global resources intensifies. These resources, however, can only be pushed so far before they inevitably vanish. I find this issue is best represented through the corrupt system of factory farming, which subjects animals to unbearable living conditions for our benefit. This industry directly relates to the idea of , “defined as an arbitrary form of discrimination that gives preference to one’s own species over all other species and that functions in a way that is similar to racism or sexism” (Gaard, 122).
The reality of factory farming and Concentrated Animal Feedlot Operations, otherwise known as CAFOs, does not appeal to our understanding of “all natural,” “grass-fed,” “free range,” and “sustainably raised” meat products. These are only a few marketing strategies that big agriculture corporations use to trick the consumer into thinking they are buying a quality product. Packaging does not disclose the filthy and crammed living conditions, or the manufactured food and antibiotics, or the physical abuse and torture that these animals experience every day from birth to slaughter. Ninety-nine percent of all livestock, including cows, pigs, chickens, and turkeys, are raised and processed through factory farm operations. The mass production of meat is not only devastating to animal welfare, but it also imposes great health risks and affects the prosperity of our ecosystem. Dr. Michael W. Fox, senior scholar at the Humane Society of the United States, sums up the effects of animal agriculture this way:
An estimated eighty-five percent of all U.S. agricultural land is used in the production of animal foods, which in turn is linked with deforestation, destruction of wildlife species, extinction of species, loss of soil productivity through mineral depletion and erosion, water pollution and depletion, overgrazing, and desertification. (Lyman 123)
If we do not change our reliability on heavily processed, mass-produced meat soon, we may one day surpass our resources, which may lead to an inescapable crisis.
Our inability to recognize this predictable future is the reason why I have chosen to emphasize the corruption of the food industry, through an analysis of our average national meat consumption. I compared this observation to “The Three Wise Monkeys,” a practice that was first implemented by the Buddhist tradition. The three monkeys stand for “See no evil,” “Hear no evil,” “Speak no evil,” which proposes that one must live a pure existence and turn one’s back to sin and immorality. However, in the Western culture, the phrase is often used to refer to those who deal with impropriety by looking the other way, refusing to acknowledge it. Ignoring the facts directly communicates our consumerist ideals, which is founded on the basis of self-indulgence and ignorance. Even when we have an idea of how our actions may be affecting our future, we are hesitant to change our routine because of the “inconvenience” it imposes.
By representing the inhumanity of the meat industry through my sculptural creations, I wish to inform the uninformed and confront the complacent. I have chosen to represent the three major meat sources, the cow, the chicken, and the pig, in their infancy. This is purposeful not only to draw sympathy from the viewer but also to acknowledge the vulnerability of these animals, which may reveal our own insecurities toward things beyond our control. My objective is to connect the viewer to this topic on a deeper, more ethical level so that the idea of change is receptive and agreeable by one’s own terms and conditions.