Should children be exposed to the disturbing manufacturing methods of products they eat or use?

I guess the difference is that it is an animal vs inanimate objects being molded into plates or plants. I’m not an animal rights activist but undeniably, there is something about animals that hits us differently than just pulling carrots out of the ground.

No, socially conditioned revulsion is not the angle I’m looking at. Vietnamese cook dogs and Americans are repulsed by it. Americans eat the egg yolks of chickens and some cultures find it sickening to eat unborn chickens. Those are learned social responses. I get that.

I was wondering if the exposure to modern corporate slaughter changes perspective on eating meat, or respect for animals, or whatever. Are there any good reasons and does it make children (ultimately society) better for it? I guess you are saying no.

Children on the farm used to see their parents slaughter their livestock. *Was something lost now that cows and pigs are processed en masse behind closed doors? * Does that insulation from the messiness of killing animals cheapen life and does it matter?

I’m undecided on this one.

When I was 12, my mother and I saw a film of a baby coming out of a vagina. I saw a similar graphically detailed film being 15 in high school. I think it’s a good idea.

To be honest, I don’t know if there really is objection. It’s not something that’s actively been asked or pursued so I wouldn’t know if 99% of parents would object.

Only if you’ve been trained that way.

Since you are unable to give any differences between modern corporate slaughter and traditional non-corporate slaughter, the answer must be “No”, surely.

Of course.

Children on the farm used to see their parents spin yarn and weave clothes.
They used to see their parents fell trees and make furniture.
They used to see their parents mill gain and make flour.
They used to see their parents dig clay and make plates.

They used to see all those things and much, much more. Of course they lost something: the knowledge of how those things were made.

But once again, we can’t replace that. Aside from the time involved, there simply isn’t any school within a bus ride of a clay pit and a firing works and a wheat farm and a flour mill and a bakery and a cotton farm and a textile mill and a forest and a cabinetmakers and…

As I said above, all we can do is show children a few select production processes. There’s absolutely no reason why meat production is special aside from the fact that you expect it to be disturbing. And it’s only disturbing because we have trained our kids to be disturbed by it.

And deliberately exposing your children to something that you have conditioned them to be disturbed by is just sick.

No, because we all know children that have been exposed to slaughter all their lives don’t hold life any more dear than a modern city kid.

Ironically what cheapens life is indoctrinating children that death is dirty and taboo, while simultaneously using it as ubiquitous children’s entertainment. That cheapens life, or more correctly leads to a lack of respect for the burden of death. Children that have experienced slaughter as a normal part of life understand that death is irrevocable and it is not just entertainment. All IMO of course.

Seriously? You don’t think that exposing 99% of American children to strangers having sex would be immensely traumatic? I don’t think you will find many parents or any psychologists who would agree with you.

We’re not discussing edited film. I suspect most children have seen edited footage of abbatoirs.

We’re talking real abbatoirs and real delivery rooms. No editing, complete with the screams and the smells of blood and urine and faeces.

Let’s compare apples with apples.

Are you joking? :eek:
You really think that a majority of US parents would be in favour of their children witnessing a live sex show? If so then I can only say that you are so out of touch with reality that I really don’t think we can discuss this issue fruitfully.

I vote pointless trivia. What is the difference between a lone farmer and the slaughter house? Economy of scale.
I believe that children should know that meat does not grow on Styrofoam trays at the back of the supermarket.
I managed to teach my children that without a trip to the slaughterhouse.
I do have to add that my daughter was an animal sciences major and as such worked with milk cows ( and knew what happened to old cows), raised chickens for Foster farms (43 days from egg to hatchet), did a summer raising turkeys for Zacky farms, and managed the swine farm at the college where she sold pigs for slaughter.
Yup I think she knows where her food comes from, but she never toured a slaughterhouse.

I was a city kid (really, more of an air force base kid) but my grandparents, who were not farmers any more, had grown up on a farm and it was still in our family. All the kids spent some time on the family farm.

This did not work out at all well for me. I was already a picky eater and I didn’t like milk. I liked it even less when I saw where it came from. However, I had always liked chicken just fine, but I couldn’t eat the chicken from the farm. Or in one case a pheasant that was that close to having been road kill.

Now in my kid’s mind this was less of an “eww, I didn’t know where this came from” than “are these sanitary conditions” but the effect was the same. I was ready to become a vegan. Except I hated vegetables, too–even before I saw them come out of the ground all dirty and gritty. (Yo, carrots. Hi there, spinach.)

I did think it was cute watching the cats come into the milking barn for their treat. Didn’t affect the way I thought of milk.

I’m fairly sure if I’d exposed my kids to this kind of thing they would have become even pickier eaters as well (i.e., we spent some time with some friends who had goats and who used them. We had pizza with goat pepperoni and goat cheese, we had ice cream made from goat’s cream–and goat milk has lots of cream. After they went to see the goats being milked, they didn’t want to drink the milk. They still ate the ice cream, though.)

I didn’t do a good job writing about animals and unfortunately I started off with “slaughter” as an example so we’ve focused on that.

In my mind, I was thinking of the whole process from the birth of animals, to their lives in crowded pens/stalls, and then the slaughter. This includes seeing chicken beaks getting chopped off with hot wire or cows standing in their own feces. Widening the scope is makes it more like the Nike shoes example.

Should children (older than 12) be shielded from that seeing that process? Why? Is it an unnecessary burden on their minds? Why is watching a video in science class of a caterpillar turning into a butterfly ok, but watching video of animals getting processed for food not ok?

Part of the motivation of my question comes from reading Omnivore’s Dilemma. In that book, there’s a profile of Polyface Farms. On that farm, they take pride in raising their animals in humane ways. They slaughter their chickens and sell them the same day. Their customers can drive up to the slaughtering table and watch it all happen and take home their fresh chickens. It’s all out in the open. It’s transparent.

If we as society don’t do it the Polyface way, then why do we hide it? Why shouldn’t children (and adults) see for themselves how things are really done at XYZ Mega Chicken Corp? We make them memorize Robert Frost poems in school but don’t show them video of how chicken mcnuggets end up on their plate?

Conditioning may be part of it but I don’t believe it explains 100% of it. My girl grew up on a farm and she cannot kill an animal (a repeated point of argument with her father). She also can’t eat pork because of she remembers how they were dirty.

I was not raised on a farm and have slaughtered a few animals. I wasn’t traumatized by it.

I was talking about film because I realized that visiting a processing plant in real life is not logistically possible for most people.

My comment about not predicting the objections was about animal processing, not live sex shows.

Why does it have to be limited to kids? Why shouldn’t adults be exposed to these things too?

I remember reading a blurb about a gang violence intervention. Instead of just locking gang members up, they would take them to hospitals and families of dead crime victims, and listen to people talk about the consequences of violence. Supposedly that intervention was fairly effective since the gang members were forced to realize the negative consequences of their actions.

As adults we are guarded from the cause and consequences of our actions.

I don’t know if I’d ‘mandate’ it, but incentives to see what goes into and what the consequences of our behavior are would be a good idea.

Because we sheltered them from it and then trained them to be disturbed by it. To then forcibly expose them to it is sick and twisted.

Why not train a dog by beating it every time it hears a bell ring, and then chain it up inside a school building. That would be great for a laugh too, right?

Because nobody trains their children that butterflies are dirty and dangerous the way we have done with slime and blood.

The most obvious issue is the very fact that we *do *hide it, and we *do *make children fear it and make them disturbed by it. To then forcibly subject them to it after we made them disturbed by it is freakin’ sick.

The second issue is that we as a society also have anal sex, and give birth and perform open heart surgery, why shouldn’t we subject children to all those things?

  1. Because we train our children to feel repulsion at those things first.
  2. Why shouldn’t children see for themselves how things are done in BDSM brothels. Why shouldn’t children see for themselves how things are done in delivery rooms?

If such a person had existed for 99.9999% of human history they would have starved to death. I think that is all the evidence I need to prove that your girl is either a very rare, very recent genetic novelty or else the product of her conditioning.

Which is obviously the result of conditioning.

Have any children *not *seen edited, soundtracked footage of an abbatoir?

In which case you didn’t answer my question at all.

As a society we have sex, we remove diseased organs and we give birth. Do you think that children should be exposed to all of those things as well?

If you simply mean that children should see footage of an abbatoir edited as heavily as footage of birth or surgery is edited, I doubt if anybody would object. I doubt if most children haven’t already seen the same.

If you think there is value ion showing close ups of debeakings with natural sound, then do you also support showing close ups of epesiotomies with natural sound? Or close ups of anal sex with natural sound? Society is equally supportive of all those things. Why show the most gruesome aspect of meat production but not the most gruesome aspects of birth or sex?


I know I never saw any of that as a kid, and, despite working with kids, I know very few that have seen anything anywhere near that.

And I don’t think I’m alone: I remember an episode of King of the Hill that made the point that seeing animals slaughtered was so rare.

My point is that i think you are making an assumption that does not hold as well as you think. Obviously, I don’t know anywhere near enough about this to actually dive into the debate.

Near what?

What do children actually see of surgery? A scene of a patient being prepped/anaesthetised, a picture of knife holding a scalpel. A patient in bed recovering.

And birth? A a woman on a gurney, maybe the backs of some doctors, and *perhaps * a picture of the newborn though usually a picture taken an hour or so later, following a washing and drying

That’s about right isn’t it?

I doubt that most children haven’t seen the abbatoir equivalent: cattle in a yard, carcasses on a chain, cuts of meat. Heck, I’m fairly certain Sesame Street showed that when I was a young 'un.

Much less rare than seeing an epesiotomy, or seeing anal penetration though, right? I mean Old Yeller and Bambi both showed animals being killed, yes? I can’t recall any Disney movie that showed anal penetration or an epesiotomy.:smiley:

I’ll do you a deal. If you can find me a children;s production that shows actual sexual penetration or an actual epesiotomy, I’ll find one that shows actual slaughter.

More seriously, I do think that most children have seen footage of an abattoir that has been edited on par with children’s footage of birth or surgery. In some senses even more so, since they at least tend to show carcasses hanging on hooks.

Do you really think there’s something wrong with a child witnessing a birth? I know I’m not the only doper who witnessed a birth in person before they themselves had reached an age in the double digits (I was six*). To pair it with live sex acts is kind of disturbing, as if you feel both things are sordid.
Do you?

*The only thing my grandmother told my mom and aunt about giving birth was that she thought she would die all three times. My mother decided to have her sister and me there when my brother was born so we could see that it was painful but not the worst thing in the world.

This is an excellent description of my experiences.

As a child I also was witness to animal sexual behavior and birthing.

Because of the remote location of these learning experiences and limited interaction with persons my own age I grew up to be a curmudgeonly misfit. I do not think that the stark honest biological education harmed me in any way.

After we have spent years training them to find it disturbing, yes of course there is.

Obviously I missed that training. How are children trained to find birth disturbing?