So, are you done with all your Thanksgiving leftovers? Already looking forward to that Christmas ham? Then listen up, all you attendees of Jesus’s annual baby shower, and take a page from your Hanukkah-celebrating friends’ Torah this holiday season. You’re going to have to cancel those pig-eating plans of yours, because I have some shocking news for you: animals are striking back!
(Please put that page from the Torah back once you’re done with it. The Jewish people have been through enough already without you vandalizing their sacred texts.)
President Obama had the right idea last Wednesday when he pardoned Courage, a North Carolina turkey, in a White House ceremony, but this ultimately futile gesture of goodwill was too little, too late in the war between man and animal: by the following day, millions of turkeys’ lives had been tragically lost.
Chickens have it even worse. According to Elizabeth Kolbert in a recent issue of The New Yorker, the ones on factory farms that are bred to produce the maximum amount of meat — broiler chickens — “spend their lives in windowless sheds, packed in with upward of thirty thousand other birds and generations of accumulated waste. The ammonia fumes thrown off by their rotting excrement lead to breast blisters, leg sores, and respiratory disease.”
In order to decrease the chances of infection among the chickens, they’re fed heapin’ helpings of antibiotics, which lead to diseases that aren’t impressed by those antibiotics, which lead to “superbugs” that are harmful to humans who like to eat those chickens.
The broiler chickens’ waste is then tossed into holding ponds, eventually polluting our rivers and lakes. Kolbert’s New Yorker article notes that Smithfield Foods, a pig processing company, produces as much pig excrement in one day as the entire human population of Texas and California combined.
Bottom line: this shit’s getting out of control.
The animal world is giving us some pretty big hints that it’s time to go vegetarian. And if you’ve ever seen Jaws, you know they’re not too keen on “pescetarian” diets, so don’t even bother.
They definitely don’t like being bartered for drugs. Back in June the Associated Press reported that a man in Syracuse, New York, “paid half a pig and $10 for a $50 bag of crack. [The dealer] told police the pig was for a celebration for a relative being released from jail.” Tragically, as “officers were arresting the suspects, someone took the pig.”
Did that someone happen to be the on-again, off-again girlfriend of a singing frog? If anthropomorphic history has taught us anything, it’s that pigs who wear makeup and date amphibians tend to have very short tempers. The suspects are lucky Miss Piggy didn’t give them a karate chop before running off with her dearly departed cousin.
But can you really blame the drug dealer who wanted that pig? As Pamela Johnson of the National Pork Board told the Chicago Sun-Times‘s Kara Spak in January, “Bacon is like the candy of the meats that the pig offers.”
Spak’s article also described the “Bacon Explosion,” an “edible log of 2 pounds of sausage encased in a 2-pound ‘bacon weave’ created by blogging barbeque enthusiasts in Kansas City.” (You can find the recipe/weaving instructions at bbqaddicts.com.) Some say New York is the city that never sleeps, but Kansas City is the same way, except for the fact that no one can get to sleep in the first place because they’re too busy having bacon explosions of their own in the bathroom.
That’s how the pigs get their revenge, you see, and a September headline in the Sun-Times — “Man goes berserk after theft of beef jerky, police say” — lends even more credence to my science-free theory that animals now have the psychological upper hand.
Even animals we don’t eat on a regular basis are out to get us. Last month a kangaroo in Melbourne, Australia, attacked a man and his dog after the dog chased it into a pond. If kangaroos could talk this one would probably say, “Look, mate, he started it,” and besides, who travels halfway around the world to see Australia’s canine population? The country-continent’s tourism industry depends on kangaroos, koalas, Kylie Minogues, and other exotic creatures to entice visitors Down Under. Expect a slap on the wrist from Oz’s kangaroo court and nothing more.
Also in the southern hemisphere, baboons have been breaking into cars in Cape Town, South Africa. The AP reported that on November 24 “a group of 29 baboons raided four cars … Then they broke into the cars of those who stopped to watch.” (You know, it really doesn’t seem that hard to get the psychological upper hand on our species.)
The simians were supposedly looking for food, and I see this incident as a terrific marketing opportunity for General Motors. Their new slogan can be “You may not like our cars, America, but we promise no baboons will ever hop in through the window looking for french fries, which always seem to be in abundant supply on the floor of your vehicle, you disgusting pig. (Sorry, real pigs. It’s just a figure of speech. Please don’t brainwash us into eating another Bacon Explosion.)”
Plenty of humans love and respect animals, of course. For example, in November of last year a mother in Lincoln, Nebraska, abandoned her 18-year-old daughter at a local hospital, because at the time such acts of unspeakable common sense were legally acceptable under the state’s safe-haven law. The AP published a photo of the anonymous mother in her daughter’s bedroom as she held Patches, her daughter’s cat, and smiled warmly at the pet.
Okay, so abandoning your daughter so you can get closer to her cat is extreme, but like the president’s turkey pardon, it’s a step in the right direction. We must start kissing our four-legged superiors’ asses before it’s too late.
That’s why a headline like “Indiana horse injured in drive-by shooting” was such a heartbreaker last June, as was “Cougars, hot in Hollywood, endangered in real world.” This Christmas, no man under 35 has any excuse for not bringing a cougar into his home, at least for one night.
However, if you live near Orlando, Florida, please consider giving a new home to Elin Nordegren, a fox who’s married to Tiger Woods. After the golf champion ran over a fire hydrant and hit a tree right outside his mansion at 2:30 in the morning on Friday, Nordegren reportedly used a golf club to smash the back window of his SUV in order to free him from the vehicle. Woods may wear the golf pants in his family, but Nordegren obviously wears the real ones.
The accident took place just two days after The National Enquirer reported that Woods was having an affair with a New York nightclub hostess, and now Us Weekly has published a cover story alleging another affair with a Los Angeles cocktail waitress. Catching a Tiger chasing tail is exactly what the tabloids did, and now Woods has responded to the allegations in a statement to the press: “I have let my family down and I regret those transgressions with all of my heart.”
Nordegren isn’t the only fox having a bad holiday season — Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox hasn’t been selling a lot of tickets at movie theaters, either. Instead, moviegoers have been flocking to the new Twilight movie, The Blind Side, and 2012, in which John Cusack confronts the end of the world with his hair held high.
2012 centers on the ancient Mayan prophecy that December 21, 2012, will mark the end of a 5,126-year era, and director Roland Emmerich posits that the world will blow up good — real good — on that date, just like it did on July 4, 1996, in his film Independence Day and just like it did on the day after tomorrow in 2004’s The Day After Tomorrow. Emmerich blew up the White House especially good in Independence Day, but in the latter film he made some Important Statements about the effects of global warming, like the fact that if we continue to harm the environment we’ll be forced to sit through more mediocre Dennis Quaid performances.
I don’t think the world will end on 12/21/12, but I do think the animal kingdom has something big planned for that date. In 2012 Danny Glover plays the president of the United States, but who’s to say President Obama will still be in charge in real life on that date? If Rush Limbaugh has anything to say about it, Sarah Palin may be president-elect by then. Sure, she’s a good-looking elephant, but it’s those sly foxes at Fox News — and snakes like Limbaugh — that we really need to keep an eye on.
And kangaroos, of course. Especially if they have access to Tiger Woods’s nine-iron.
Rufus Thomas, “Do the Funky Chicken” (from 1970’s Stax Greatest Hits)
Michael Franks, “Tiger in the Rain” (from 1979’s Tiger in the Rain)
Sly Fox, “Let’s Go All the Way” (from 1996’s The Party Zone)