Monday, July 30, 2007


George Carlin, the comedian, does a great riff on irony. You can search the web and find many examples of his discussion of the mis-uses of the term "irony", and appropriate examples (like this).

Today I was reading the Wall Street Journal and I came upon something that I found to be almost perfectly "ironic". The article is titled "How Do Cats Like Rabbits? Very Much, and Preferably Raw". The article interviews a woman whose company sells freshly killed rabbits to cat owners and who is experiencing a great run of business. Business is brisk because of the pet-food scare out of China, where pet owners inadvertently poisoned their own animals, to their horror. This occurrence has driven some of the more hard-core pet owners to buy their own animals and create their own cat food, which consists of raw prey such as mice or rabbits, ground up finely.

Per the article:

'Dr. Pierson, the veterinarian, says she felt queasy "the first time I sent a rabbit head through the grinder." Holisticat's Ms. Arora is a vegetarian, but feeds her cats mice, rats, rabbits, Cornish game hen, quail, pheasant and chicken... She hews larger animals into pieces or grinds them. Smaller creatures go on a tarp on her kitchen floor. Pigpen doesn't care for mouse tails, so Ms. Arora snips them off.'

In my personal experience there are many types of vegetarians; you have individuals whose religion (mainly from the Indian subcontinent) requires them to be a vegetarian. There are other individuals, such as a guy who used to live next door to me, who become vegetarians under doctor's orders to reduce their cholesterol (it helped him, although there may be other ways to reach the same or better outcome), and then finally there are those that become vegetarians because they love animals and view it as repulsive that you would kill and eat an animal.

I am just guessing and speculating here but I'd bet that Ms. Arora, above, is the third type of vegetarian, someone who is a cat lover, loves animals, and doesn't eat meat because of this love for animals.

NOW we get to something that is precisely ironic, in my opinion:

1) someone loves animals, such as their beloved cat. They love their cat so much that they won't buy "store" food, they go to the trouble of making their own food to ensure that the cat won't be poisoned (this is a LOT of trouble, by the way)
2) their love of cats informs their life to a degree that they are vegetarians, because they don't want to kill other animals as part of their diet
3) but by buying a cat, they pick up a predator that requires a steady diet of freshly killed rabbits, rabbits that are raised solely for the purpose of slaughter (i.e. these aren't wild rabbits past their prime, they are raised and killed as soon as they are commercially ready to eat)
4) not only do they DIRECTLY cause the slaughter of these rabbits (if they don't have the cat, and don't buy the rabbits, the rabbits won't be raised and killed) but they have to personally do the "dirty work" of grinding up the rabbit into pieces, such as the gory details in the paragraph above
5) ALSO, wouldn't the fact that the cats seem to thrive on this all-meat diet (and suffer on the carb-loaded cat food) make them wonder why THEY shun meat? Is there any chance they'd make that connection while they grind up rabbits, by hand, day after day?

It must be interesting at P**A (don't want traffic) conventions to see these types bumping in to each other; those that love animals but love their cats more than the rabbits whose lives are sacrificed, and those that think every animal is equal in rights and can't stomach that approach. I would pay to watch the spittle fly on those arguments...


Annie said...

As far as slaughtering one animal to sustain another, I don’t think it’s as much “irony” as it is “hypocrisy”.
Most of the hard core P.*.*.A. members actually shun pet ownership from the get go, holding to the animal liberation theme.
Some that do think owning pets is “acceptable” also think that all pets should be made to be vegetarian, too. Actually, dogs can thrive this way, but I’m very sure they don’t prefer it. Cats, on the other hand will suffer a lack of Taurine which is only found naturally in animal flesh, although there is a synthetic version. Cats also will suffer urinary tract infections because of the relative acidity of meat to vegetable protein, and nothing is worse than a cat that can’t make it to the litter box!
Although the third reason listed in this entry for choosing an animal free path is also inclusive of products other than food, I’m sure there are many other reasons why people do it. Personally, I don’t get the hypocritical part myself. It also seems to me that people, who are staunchly devoted to the extreme, often do not know why they are. At least some can't express it.
I don’t get that either.
The vegan with a cat who eats normal cat food.

Dan from Madison said...

Good comment Annie, as always. Thanks for using asterisks in the place of those initials that draw insane trolls.

gerry from valpo said...

Now I don't want to go off on a rant here but but an owner of bird dogs I feed them Purina Hi-Pro exclusively. They get a lot of exrecise and need the extra protein. All I have ever fed my dogs is dry dog food and they thrive. I want them healthy when they fetch my gamebirds. Honestly, I think feeding meat to dogs is not good for them.

I really don't care who eats what or why. But please don't tell me what to eat. There are far too many food busybodies these days. It annoys me when someone at the table says,"do you know what's in that?"

In Chicago the nutball politicians are outlawing goose liver and soon, trans fat. Politicians promise to stay out of my bedroom so stay out of my kitchen too.

One guy I know who comes up to our group fishing trips in Michigan is a vegetarian. The other guys are always on his back about it. I am the only one who speaks up and tells the others to lay off. He never preaches his food choice like so many food wackos do.

As far as P**A goes they can all ****off. They are absolutely worthless insane wackos. All that money and energy spent for what? How does such a small group of midgets get so much media attention?

I'll tell you why. Check out what is happening to Michael Vick. He was guilty as soon as he was accused. People love animals and abusing them is just so wrong to a civilized society. P**A uses this to their advantage just as politicians do in order to pass their selfish agendas.

Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Annie said...

"Politicians promise to stay out of my bedroom so stay out of my kitchen too."
Yeah, don't get to comfy with that idea either.
They're already in your bathroom: