The Humanisation of Animals

by hailtothenihilist

Seth Godin writes that much of what we consume is blatantly industrialised.

“Quite intentionally, all Cadbury Fruit and Nut bars are identical.

No one says, “oh, this one is really special, Brian made it.”

The system leads to humans being treated as commodities. Pieces of the puzzle. Numbers. He argues that to improve on this for the worker’s sake, we must humanise what we do. Perhaps “create something that only you could have made”. This is the way to meaningful work. To a sense of being bigger than we are: commodities. We don’t want to be numbers now, do we?

I notice a similar phenomenon used by the humane meat industry. They’re trying to humanise animals. Not in the sense of giving the animal more rights or treating them as one would a human–we don’t systematically slaughter our own kind for their meat–but by naming them, and giving them a story. My housemate recently went to a steak restaurant and was told about the animal his steak came from. It had a name. It came from a place. It had quirks.

Cute, right? Does this make you want to eat the steak even more? Humane meaters seem to think so. They think of it as due respect. They think it gives the animals more meaning. No longer are they commodities like us workers.

The irony: Animal rights advocates get accused of anthropromorphisation.