“Hide and Seek”
America has been the birth place of some of the best inventions of all time such as cell phones, the Internet, airplanes, television, etc., however, the most influential creation from the US is a little game called “hide and seek.” Merriam-Webster defines hide and seek as “a children’s game in which everyone hides from one player who tries to find them” (Merriam-Webster). How can a children’s game be one of the most influential inventions in the history of the US?
Just a children’s game?
The hide and seek I am talking about is not the one that children play; the hide and seek I want to bring to your attention is the version played by companies and industry’s against adults. This “game” involves big companies “hiding” information from the general public, and then the citizens of the US try and acquire this information through in depth research. There happens to be one small issue with this game: only one team is playing. Big companies are concealing information from the public, but not many citizens are actually doing the research to acquire this “hidden” information. They are complaining that the game is too difficult for their liking and claim that these big companies and industries need to stop playing hide and seek and inform everyone about all their secret information that they are with-holding from the public.
Why do I care?
One of the first days of my Freshman year at Santa Clara University, my English professor asked me the question of weather I knew where my freshly grilled hamburger came from. At the moment of the incident I didn’t think much of the question and just answered back softly that it came from the school cafeteria, as I thought to myself “why does this guy care where my juicy burger was from?” After my extremely knowledgeable professor informed our class that the meat that ends up on our shiny dinner plates doesn’t just fall out of the sky. He explained that our meat usually comes from factory farms where animals are extremely mistreated to the point of abuse, and then gave us a thick book about the food industry called Eating Animals. In this book, I found all the information that had been “hidden” to my eyes by the entire factory farming industry. Throughout all of my research in my critical thinking and writing course I have developed an understanding of what information is hidden to the public, why it is hidden to the public, and how to acquire this information.
Who cares about factory farming?
Eating Animals is not only the first book I read at Santa Clara, but it is also the first book that opened my eyes to such horrific events, which I was indirectly supporting with my consumption of factory farmed meat. Eating Animals is a book written by a very unique author by the name of Jonathan Safran Foer. Foer is an American writer who teaches creative writing at New York University. Foer went to Princeton University in 1995 where he first realized that he was in love with writing, and from their on he wrote many famous books such as Everything is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (EatingAnimals.com). In Eating Animals, Foer informs his readers of how abusive factory farms are towards their animals, and explains that most factory farms know what they are doing is awful, but they act in such manners just to maximize their profit. Foer specifically looks at chickens and how they are thrown in a space so full that they are literally defecating on each other, and how they are getting injecting with growth hormones up to the point that they are so heavy their feet can’t support their bodies. Foer asks the question to the reader, “do you eat chicken because you are familiar with the scientific literature on them and have decided that their suffering doesn’t matter, or do you do it because it tastes good?” (Foer). This quote really stood out to me because it perfectly explained that people like me (before reading Foer’s book) are extremely blind to what is actually happening in factory farms, and that is why they are eating meat that might happen to come from factory farms.
What did I do about this issue?
In order to better get a better understanding of what factory farms are all about I researched the factory farming powerhouse: Tyson. I found a very interesting article about a PETA conducted investigation of a Tyson slaughterhouse that describes all of the horrible acts of abuse and utter disrespect that employees of the company show towards animals. During their investigation PETA’s investigator “saw workers urinating in the live-hang area, including on the conveyor belt that moves birds to slaughter” (Schalow). Another very mind blowing statement I read about was the fact that “workers—sometimes standing 4 to 6 feet away from the conveyor belt—violently threw birds at the shackles. Some animals slammed into the shackles and fell onto birds on the conveyor belt below, at which point the worker sometimes repeated the abuse” (Schalow). At first I didn’t completely believe all these claims about how awful Tyson factory farms could be so I did more research, and I was finally convinced that Foer was not lying about how atrocious factory farms are. I watched a very strong movie called Food Inc., which depicted both what factory farming, looked like and how companies like Tyson are trying to hide what is actually happening in their absolutely disgusting farms. A scene that really stuck out to me in Food Inc. was when a farmer by the name of Carole Morison agreed to show her farm, after a dozen other farmers denied the producers of Food Inc. to even get close to their farms. Carole explained that what she is doing is “not farming, it’s just mass production,” and that the closed off area, or what some call a “farm” has “dirt and feces flying everywhere” (Food Inc.). Morison goes on to explain how farmers like her don’t speak out to the public and inform everyone of all the wrong-doings they indulge in because companies like Tyson can easily fire them and ruin their life’s with a snap of a finger (Food Inc.). At the end of the scene, Morison sadly adds that the whole situation is “degrading,” and she feels like a “slave to the company (Tyson)” (Food Inc.).
What if everyone found out?
It is hard to speak for others, but the majority of my friends and family that know about the dangers of factory farming have made a conscious effort to stop promoting companies like Tyson through their consumption of various foods. I have personally severely dropped my meat consumption and when I do eat meat I try to make sure that it is not from shady factory farms. I believe that if the entire country knew about all of the procedures of factory farms, more and more people would make a stand and stop promoting companies like Tyson, which would in turn end the dominance that these companies have over the food industry.
Instead of just getting beat in this game of “hide and seek,” we American citizen’s need to join the game and seek out the information we have present to us. It might seem like this information that is concealed by factory farmers is completely hidden from us, but we need to realize that with in-depth research we can find this “hidden” information and win this game of “hide and seek.”
“Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer.” Eating Animals. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 June 2014. <http://www.eatinganimals.com/>.
Foer, Jonathan Safran. Eating Animals. New York: Little, Brown, 2009. Print.
Food, Inc. Prod. Robert Kenner. Perf. Eric Schlosser. Movie One, 2008. Film.
“Hide-and-seek.” Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 12 June 2014. <http://www.merriam- webster.com/dictionary/hide-and-seek>.
Schalow, Laurie. “Tyson Workers Torturing Birds, Urinating on Slaughter Line.” PETA. N.p., 15 Apr. 2013. Web. 12 June 2014. <https://secure.peta.org/site/Advocacy?cmd=display&page=UserAction&id=1121>.