Burying Factory Farms with Faint Praise?

David Cassuto

Not too long ago, I blogged about Beppe Bigazzi, the Italian tv host who advocated for stewing cats.  My working theory was that Bigazzi could not possibly have been stupid enough not to know his remarks would create a backlash.  If so, then he was being wonderfully subversive  in a manner only available to those who are full participants in the culture they critique.

I had the same thought recently when reading this  NYT piece by Adam Shriver last week (admittedly, this thought did not occur to me when reading Jennifer Church’s earlier post on Shriver’s writings).  Mr. Shriver opined that since factory farms are inevitable (because they produce the meat we eat), we should turn our attention to genetically removing the pain centers in the animals we torture.  The responses to Shriver’s piece took him to task for the bald stupidity of his argument (starting with his failure to interrogate the assumption that factory farms are necessary). 

However, consider this: maybe there is something else going on in the piece.  Maybe Shriver was writing subtext.  He’s very well educated (in the midst of a PhD in philosophy/neuroscience) so perhaps his agenda encompassed more than the surface pablum festooning the op-ed page. 

Perhaps Shriver knew that his argument was so lacking in merit that even committed carnivores would recoil from it.  Perhaps those same carnivores, who might not previously have spent any time examining the implications of their diet, were so repulsed by Mr. Shriver’s indifference to logic, ethics, environment and anything else not directly related to human creature comforts that they have begun thinking more carefully about what they consume and why.  Maybe, just maybe, Adam Shriver will emerge from this smelling like a rose and not a stockyard. 

A fella can dream, can’t he?

5 Responses

  1. Not sure, but my understanding is that Shriver is a vegan. At least someone calling himself Adam Shriver was participating on a few different blogs about his article, and he said he was a vegan in those blogs.

    So, what I am saying is that you might not be as off as one would assume in your thoughts about his article.

  2. I hope so. If true, Shriver’s piece would be an ingenius piece of satire.

  3. I wish Shriver had intended only satire, but the positions he took and remarks he made in the comment threads on my post (the “took him to task” link) and Mary’s post at Animal Person lead me to think he really believes in what he’s advocating (both threads are worth looking at; there’s some overlap, but there are also a few distinct conversations). And there and elsewhere, he’s used Singer’s positions and philosophies as support for his own.


  4. “Maybe Shriver was writing subtext. ”


  5. […] Italian food writer recommended cat stew and stewed up some controversy.  AnimalBlawg reaches bravely for a […]

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