Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ag Awareness Week @ NCSU

So, following up on NCSU's Ag Week momentum...is there "awareness" through juxtaposition? How so? Two videos below might edify any takers on this question. The first is from "Portlandia" on IFC and the other is a talk by NCSU's own Tom Regan some years ago.





18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Put a bird on it.

Gwynhwyfyr said...

Awareness means having knowledge of, and ideally that would be a complete understanding of an issue with a developed and defensible position. In the case of Agricultural Awareness Week, Alpha Zeta sponsors this event to promote awareness and appreciation of agriculture on campus, especially given NCSU's land grant institutional status—which has its basis in agricultural production for the benefit of society. The hope is that by bringing farm equipment that isn't seen on a day-to-day basis and farm animals in a controlled and humane venue, students will be drawn to ask questions, and hopefully leave with a healthy dose of respect and understanding that this is where your needs and comforts come from. The goal is to remind people what that steak was before it became a slab of beef wrapped in cellophane at the supermarket. That goal being stated, awareness is a range. Not every person who walks by the brickyard is going to make a connexion, but some will. Dr. Regan mentions in his speech that often the assumption regarding animal rights is that activists want to give a vote to chickens or ballet lessons to pigs, which is absurd. Unfortunately, due to ridicule much like that in the Portlandia video, the message of animal rights gets lost. While it is not necessary to meet and see a profile of each animal before consuming it or its products, most people will agree that having a basic respect for animals is not ridiculous.
Awareness can be created by juxtaposition, but the message must be carefully and tastefully crafted. Dr. Regan boils the issue of rights down to a basic respect for individuals as somebodies, rather than somethings, and draws the comparison of the mentally enfeebled and infants to animals in their form of awareness and respect for others. Mentally disabled humans are not less human just because they may not understand things or respect other people's rights. Why, then, is a pig or a cow worth only their value as consumptive items? They also have experiences, and react to their welfare situation, and may even have a similar level of instinctual understanding.
Not all exposure to issues is positive, and can be detrimental to the issue at hand. Unfortunately some juxtaposition, as is often the case with PETA campaigns, the shock value entirely eclipses the message. Sometimes shock may work, but more often a drastic change is only achieved after a long subtle campaign to dismantle popular social notions.

Ashley Klein said...

Wow, both of these videos couldn't provide a greater contrast than how I have been raised. Agriculture and animals are a huge part of my life, so don't be offended when I say that I think these two videos are bullshit! Reagan's comparison of animal slaughter to the holocaust is insulting. And my answer to his questions what separates an animal from a human? Well what separates me from a chicken is 55 chromosomes; which is more than enough for it to be on my plate instead of being on 4 "happy" acres for running around. Ag Awareness Week is about exposing others, who may not have any experience or knowledge of agriculture, to its greatness. Agriculture is responsible for feeding EVERYONE. Agriculture is also one of the only "industries" we have left in the United States that we can call our own. How many textile mills have left the US for overseas where labor is cheaper and regulations are unrestricted? So why criticize agriculture and farming? Isn't it time to focus on something else?

Kendra Staub said...

Complete juxtaposition in these two short videos. In the first preview clip the message of animal rights is portrayed through humor. The couples is trying to figure out if the chicken they are going to eat is local and organic. In most restaurants the waiter or waitress would not know where the meat their restaurant serves come from, but in this sitcom she is very informed and can answer all the questions they ask her. This is obviously a TV show because who is honestly going to harangue their waitress like that in real life, and what waitress is really going to be that informed? I mean this is based out of Portland, OR which makes the waitresses knowledge more believable but still it is very unlikely. Obviously the message of animal rights awareness is being sent through humor. The second video is presented on a more serious note. Clearly, Regan is very opinionated when it comes to the matter of animal rights. His philosophy is the philosophy of respect and peace to human and animal rights. He gives many examples and just evidence to prove his claims on animal injustice. This video shows the exploitation of cows, monkeys, and pigs. It then goes on to show goats, fish, lions, elephants etc. playing. This is probably to make the audience aware that all animals have been exploited in some way or another by humans. I do not think that it is "perfectly alright" to treat animals with cruelty, but I do believe that Agriculture is necessary for a healthy human life. I do not appreciate that Regan compares agricultural practices to the mentally handicapped or the slave trade. I do not think that in anyway they can be compared. He has valid points that animal cruelty is never okay, and I believe that AG Week at NC State is important because they can show this. I believe Alpha Zeta is trying to make students aware of what goes in to the preparation of their food. Whether it be meat or dairy. I get the same message from both video clips, but I do not really think they prove a point through juxtaposition. I do believe AG awareness is important, and agriculture is a key element in our lives. On a final note, animal or human, everyone should be treated with respect regardless of what anyone says.

Heather said...

I find that both of these videos portray the most extreme cases of animal cruelty and animal rights. Dr. Regan states that people only see the animal rights activists as being extreme in their beliefs. Well in my belief he is being hypocritical because in the photos, and videos he found the most extreme cases of animal cruelty and made it out to be that this is how all animals are treated. This however is not true. I have grown up in rural North Carolina and have seen and learned about agricultural industries. Not every corporation that you walk into will have cows laying in the mud covered in dirt and flies dying. Contrary to what many people believe animal welfare believes in the humane treatment of animals and that would be that if an animal was that bad off, then it would be euthanized and not left to die. I believe that Ag awareness is extremely important in showing the different aspects and opening up opportunities to expose people to what agriculture is really about.

William Swanek said...

I believe that it is important for one to try and learn about things that are outside of the topics they are more educated in. Becoming more aware of the world that surrounds us is one of the most important things that a person can do with their life. Knowing where my food comes from and how the animals are raised and the myriad of things that go into it going from a living breathing creature to being food in a restaurant is important to me. The second of these videos made some important points about this process, but at the same time I feel as though not all animals are treated like the ones featured throughout the video. I also do not feel as though animals are on the same level as human beings. While there is no arguing animals have at least some form of intelligence there is a difference between a human and an animal, and frankly I find the comparison of an animal's life to that of a person's to be insulting.

Megan Williams said...

Each of these videos portrays an extremist point of view, which is different from views of the majority of Americans. I am against the cruelty of animals; however animals are not the same as humans, nor do I believe they ever will be. To eat a bird is entirely different than a mentally handicapped person. If animals are the same as humans, wouldn't fruits and vegetables be too? They were in fact living and growing at some point also. While this is a farfetched comparison, the extremist point of few isn't applicable to today's society. All carnivores eat meat, and prey on animals lower on the food chain then them. This is the way of life. Lions are not accused of murdering gazelles. Ag week displays neither of the two points these videos make. I agree with Ashley completely, Ag week is to make people aware of what agriculture is and how it plays such a huge, important role in our lives.

Katie Zimmer said...

I thought these two videos were very informative. I liked how the first video made their audience aware of animal rights through humor which helped to attract a different audience. We have talked in class about will the day ever come where we live in a world like that, where people will know exactly where there food comes from and how the animals were raised, where people wont rely on cars as much. However, I still do not believe this kind of society will ever happen. It is not realistic for waitresses/waiters to know where the chicken comes from, what it is fed, how it is treated, etc. The second video was informative for me in a different way. Dr. Regan recited facts to his audience and showed pictures which targeted his audience's Pathos and Logos appeals. I do believe Dr. Regan went a bit far when he compared the Holocaust to that of killing animals. Animals do have the right to be treated fairly, but to say that they are on the same level as human beings is too much. Ag Awareness week at NC State provides information to the students on campus and I think Alpha Zeta does a great job of spreading information to the students here.

Cooper Hatch said...

I thought both videos were interesting. The first one was pretty funny. They took what people have been urging consumers to do, which is to know where their food comes from, and made it humorous. How well can someone really know where their food comes from? I mean it’s not like people can really know everything about the food they are eating, where it came from, what it was fed, who raised the animal, where they are from, what the farm looks like. It’s not like you can ask things like that to the server and for them to actually know the answers. The second video does make some good points but some of the things that it says and shows are not really true. I know that not all animals are treated like the ones in the video. I am against animal cruelty but animals are not like people and they are not treated like people, but they are treated well for animals and for what we end up doing to them. I mean it’s the circle of life. I know that ag week is important and we should know more about where our food comes from, but both of these videos show and extremist point of view. Just eat local.

Jenny Gough said...

While animal rights are important, people, industries, and organizations have difficulty understanding that if they want to have meat available at the grocery store, some animal, somewhere, might be abused and killed in order to put the bacon on the the table. There are plenty of aspects of agriculture that the US should be proud of, but animal treatment/rights is certainly not one them, a point that can be taken from the Regan video. In contrast, the Portlandia video effectively illustrates when animal rights is taken a little too far. It is impractical to think that people can maintain practices such as eating out or eating meat in general, if animal rights are to be upheld on a large scale. The two videos, through juxtaposition, show the balance that must be made between animal rights and commercialized farming. A balance, I feel, will not be possible if commercialized farming is expected to operate on the same level as it has been. On a small scale, I think the protection of animal rights can be upheld in agriculture— small family farms and subsistence farming. In the large system however, the conveyer belt of the commercialized agriculture machine is only capable of treating animals as products to be processed, with little concern for animals as fellow earthlings and peers in the experiences of life.

Carly Earp said...

Both videos are very interesting and take two extremist views. The first video is what people have been wanting which is to know where there food "comes" from. Although, I do not see each menu at a eatery having a "carfax" to go with each chicken, pork, steak and so on...but I do believe that it shows what people want. The second view is comparing slaughtering animals to the holocaust? However they may be "slaughtered" but we have to eat. Farming is an industry..an industry where I personally was raised because of. Eat local so you know where your food comes from but do not be skeptical of the people who are making a living to feed humans. AG "awareness" is showing people who would not regularly know about farming and animals and to help educate them. Not to sway there opinions or views on animals but educate and inform.

Kiatra Frink said...

These two videos were both very extreme in their display of the extent of animal treatment, farming, and agriculture. Tom Regan did an awesome job at trying to make people who are okay with agriculture and the farming of these animals feel awful. I feel that his comparisons and use of juxtaposition was a bit extreme, however, the point was taken. It actually kind of pissed me of that he would compare the breeding of animals to slavery. SLAVERY, REALLY??? COME ON!! That is SO not the same thing at all. Also, no matter how hard he may try to stress that animals have "feelings" too, at the end of the day, animals ARE NOT people. PERIOD. No one will get sentenced to life in prison for killing an animal, as they would for killing another human being.

Thomas N said...

With both of these videos, they seem to be concentrating on specifics of animal life. In the real world a couple would not ask as many questions about the chicken they consume. In reality, these people that care so much about this chicken are going to eat this chicken. And in the Reagan video it shows clips of animal cruelty in agriculture, but that is a tiny percentage of agriculture. There are many more farms that take care of their animals the best way they can. But the people that try to stop such agriculture focus on the bad and not the good.

Ashley McDonald said...

I believe that Ag Awareness week is very important. Its a chance for people who might not have been raised around agriculture to ask questions and learn new things. I think its a very informative week on campus and I support that. I do not support what Dr. Regan is saying though comparing what happens to farm animals to slavery. Animals are different from humans and are treated as such. A cow is the lessor of a human and should not be treated as humans do. Animals specially farm animals are treated well for being such all though there are some that are treated with cruelty but that happens with everything. Trying to completely stop animal cruelty is like trying to stop murder its impossible. But for the most part farm animals are treated humanely, especially when it comes to slaughter. Farmers are going to take care of their animals because that is how they make their money. If the animals don't live, or have scratches or bruises in the hide or meat then the farmers don't get paid as much, so why wouldn't they treat their animals better then most? But owning animals is not like slavery. Animals are not capable of the same outcomes as humans. They cannot do the same things we do and are not equal to us. Yes animals have feelings and its their life too but their life span is shorter than humans. Animals were placed here to feed humans, and to provide to the ecosystem. And as Dr. Taylor said in class, I am not on top of the food chain to eat grass and plants all the time. Meat is packed full of nutritious elements that help the body and help it function.

Annie Berrier said...

I totally agree with most of the previous comments. These two videos show extremist points of view that do not allow for any compromise. Animal rights is one thing, but some of the things said in these videos are ridiculous. I am all for animal rights and against animal cruelty but I am still going to eat a nice, juicy hamburger or rib-eye when I want one. Chicken is one of main food groups. I have chicken at almost every meal. There is a place and a role for all species. From the beginning of time animals have been eaten for their nutritional value. Even animals eat other animals. It is the circle of life. There is a reason we are at the top of the food chain. Ag Awareness Week is available to students to provide them with the opportunity to learn and grow. If you do not want to know, then do not ask.

Reese Ward said...

Regans comparison of animal slaughter to the holocaust is one of the most ignorant statements I have ever heard. The fact that he used such a comparison shows not only how weak his position is but also how stupid and heartless he really is. Because he used this example his entire argument is thrown out because he now comes off as a radical idiot and cannot preform any rhetoric without bias.

Duncan Shorter said...

I agree with many of the comments above, and with some of the doctrine of veganism, i.e animal treatment. People rationalize the inhumane treatment of animals with "We're just going to kill/eat them later", but this method of thinking is devaluating every form of domesticated life, such as cows, chickens and pigs. And that's even more inhumane than the treatment forced upon them so someone can pay a dollar for food at McDonald's.
However, just like politics, veganism should be moderated, and kept from extremes, as to prevent it from becoming the vilifiable doctrine of mainstream society, as well as promoting their message to an audience that will listen.

Jonathan Ingram said...

After viewing both of these videos I found that they were very interesting. Although they both had two totally different ideas of awareness. One thing that stood out to me was the comparison made by regan comparing animals being killed to those killed in the Holocaust. To begin with I have a strong belief that animals and humans are not equals. To justify this it is not socially acceptable to go around eating humans but not many people have complaints when it comes to having a freshly cooked burger. Animals are one of the biggest sources of food if not the biggest source and i feel they should not be compared to the killing of many innocent humans all becasue of who they happen to be. this was one thing that really caught my attention and made me think about how i felt about the situation at hand