John Whitaker, the child actor who played Jody in the sit-com Family Affair, later became addicted to illegal drugs. Whitaker, who is now clean, formally apologized to Mexican mothers recently, acknowledging that his addiction undoubtedly caused violence and perhaps even deaths to their children who were collateral damage in the drug wars plaguing Mexico.
Whitaker came to a realization that escapes most of us; that the true cost of the products we consume, whether legal or illegal, is rarely a consideration in our purchase decision. It is true with drugs, it is true with clothing and it is true with food that comes from factory farming.
When someone sits down to a dinner of steak or pork chops, all they see is a disguised piece of a dead animal that has been broiled, basted or sautéed to please the palate of the consumer. Little, if any thought is given to the fact that this animal had a mother, was capable of experiencing pain and probably lived its entire life in a confined environment where it was forced to wade in its own waste.
No thought either to the factory farm and slaughterhouse workers, most of whom have no legal rights or benefits and are also seen as mere commodities by factory farm owners. Injured workers are simply let go; no severance, no medical assistance, no nothing. Factory farms get away with it because most of the workers are immigrants, or are illegally in this country, and most cannot speak English, which makes them desirable hires.
There is an eerie similarity between drug lords and factory farm owners. They focus on profit at all cost, with little regard about who gets hurt in the process. Collateral damage is an expected cost of doing business. They both cause immeasurable suffering and are fully aware of this fact. They both feed on addictions, one physical; the other low price for a commodity that they really don’t need at all.
Whitaker realized the true cost of his addiction, a cost that went far beyond his own health. How many similarly realize the true cost of their addition to animal products? Whitaker apologized to the mothers. With factory farming, there are no mothers to apologize to – they were themselves victims long ago.
Are you addicted?