Well, the thing that was interesting. I was involved in taking a lot of executives from McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King out on their very first trips out to farms and meat plants. And you know when the animal welfare issue came up first, they go "Oh, animal welfare. Big hassle. Give it to the lawyers, give it to the public relations department. Make it go away." Then, when I took them out to the plants and things are going right and they're saying "That's not so bad," but when things were going bad, oh, eyes got opened up. They were saying "Whoa. There are some things here that we need to change." In other words, it had gone from being an abstraction that you delegate to the legal department to something real that they needed to do something about. And I was with some of these executives when they had a real shift in their attitude. Like, when they saw half-dead dairy cow headed for their product that really upset them.
So it's the hands-on stuff that makes the difference.
That's right. I took lots of executives - executives from McDonald's, Wendy's and Burger King, many executives from different companies - on their first trips to slaughterhouses and it was very interesting to watch eyes get opened up. They see something to send to the legal department finally becomes something real.
Something clicks for them.
You've written and spoken about the genetic tinkering that's been done and which has led to some particularly cruel and extreme mutations in the animals that we eat. Could you give some examples?
First of all, the genetic things have been done with old-fashioned breeding; they've not been done with bio-tech. It's just been done with single trait selection for rapid growth in chickens, lots of milk in dairy cows, lots of lean pork in pigs. And they select for rapid growth, lots of lean pork and back fat. And they forgot about the importance of selecting the strong feet and legs. So they ended up with a lot of lame pigs. Or they ended up with pigs that were very aggressive and excitable. No one deliberately wants to have an excitable pig but when you select for that rapid growth and leanness, you tend to select a lean, mean pig.
Because he's always hungry.