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What We Owe What We Eat - George F. Will


Destino

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Will is, as usual, absolutely spot on.

Cruelty to animals is wrong, even if the point of their existence from our vantage is consumption.

I believe Man was given dominion over animals -- but a Man is morally bent if he knowingly allows God's creatures mis-treated.

I do not believe that consuming animals is mis-treating. It can be done humanely.

Yet again, it goes back to a fave read of mine, On Killing by LTC Dave Grossman. Therein, one of his very interesting points on the desensitization of society to violence and killing -- is the fact that most kids these days never see an animal killed which they are going to eat.

Several generations ago, if you wanted fried chicken, well you better go out to the hen house, take a chicken out back, and wring it's neck. In general, one of the big lessons was always to do it quickly and humanely. Each of my parents remember the first time they were exposed to such an event -- as well as the importance their respective parents placed on being quick and humane.

Through this process children were introduced to the concept of killing, dying, and most of all -- humanity.

I'm not saying we need to return to an agrarian economy. However, I do think that we are missing an essential part of socialization when this is no longer a part of most kids' childhood.

It's always been common sense to treat animals humanely. If nothing else for practical reasons: domesticated animals that are treated well will grow bigger, be healthier, and be a better food source.

But the more important point to the issue is that being able to treat something as "lowly" as a domesticated beast humanely says a LOT about how humanely you are prepared to treat your fellow man.

Good find, Destino! :cheers:

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I'm always a little sad that we as a predominantly Christian society (though I would not wish for a Christian gov) have gone so far from our roots in Jewish laws. I believe a lot of what makes things Kosher is how the animal is treated before it is killed and the nature in which it is killed. Isn't that correct?

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Originally posted by gbear

I'm always a little sad that we as a predominantly Christian society (though I would not wish for a Christian gov) have gone so far from our roots in Jewish laws. I believe a lot of what makes things Kosher is how the animal is treated before it is killed and the nature in which it is killed. Isn't that correct?

Thats possibly why there is a difference between Christians and Jews....some did not want to follow Jewish laws. Dont quote me on this, its still early in the morning.

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Well put jpillian. I have never had to kill the animals I eat but I have grandparents who are still alive that did. I grew up hearing about the way the world works and I accept the relationship between species; some are food for others.

But what goes on at factory farms, not to mention "veal," is absolutely disgusting. It is not representative of what that american people would want and only goes on because the vast majority of people have never seen it. There is a reason cameras aren't allowed in those places and it has nothing to do with trade secrets.

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Originally posted by Destino

Well put jpillian. I have never had to kill the animals I eat but I have grandparents who are still alive that did. I grew up hearing about the way the world works and I accept the relationship between species; some are food for others.

But what goes on at factory farms, not to mention "veal," is absolutely disgusting. It is not representative of what that american people would want and only goes on because the vast majority of people have never seen it. There is a reason cameras aren't allowed in those places and it has nothing to do with trade secrets.

yeah, i know people who will eat meat, but not veal. they know how they tie 'em up and all, so they refuse to eat it.
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Originally posted by jpillian

Will is, as usual, absolutely spot on.

Cruelty to animals is wrong, even if the point of their existence from our vantage is consumption.

I believe Man was given dominion over animals -- but a Man is morally bent if he knowingly allows God's creatures mis-treated.

I do not believe that consuming animals is mis-treating. It can be done humanely.

Yet again, it goes back to a fave read of mine, On Killing by LTC Dave Grossman. Therein, one of his very interesting points on the desensitization of society to violence and killing -- is the fact that most kids these days never see an animal killed which they are going to eat.

Several generations ago, if you wanted fried chicken, well you better go out to the hen house, take a chicken out back, and wring it's neck. In general, one of the big lessons was always to do it quickly and humanely. Each of my parents remember the first time they were exposed to such an event -- as well as the importance their respective parents placed on being quick and humane.

Through this process children were introduced to the concept of killing, dying, and most of all -- humanity.

I'm not saying we need to return to an agrarian economy. However, I do think that we are missing an essential part of socialization when this is no longer a part of most kids' childhood.

It's always been common sense to treat animals humanely. If nothing else for practical reasons: domesticated animals that are treated well will grow bigger, be healthier, and be a better food source.

But the more important point to the issue is that being able to treat something as "lowly" as a domesticated beast humanely says a LOT about how humanely you are prepared to treat your fellow man.

Good find, Destino! :cheers:

Very interesting take, Jpillian. I wonder if this lack of closeness to "death" on the part of many modern youths also contributes to the skyrocketing rates of violent crime in that demographic. It would be an interesting hypothesis.

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Guest Gichin13
Originally posted by jpillian

Therein, one of his very interesting points on the desensitization of society to violence and killing -- is the fact that most kids these days never see an animal killed which they are going to eat.

Several generations ago, if you wanted fried chicken, well you better go out to the hen house, take a chicken out back, and wring it's neck. In general, one of the big lessons was always to do it quickly and humanely. Each of my parents remember the first time they were exposed to such an event -- as well as the importance their respective parents placed on being quick and humane.

Through this process children were introduced to the concept of killing, dying, and most of all -- humanity.

I agree. Some posts on this thread definitely demonstrate the moral and factual disconnect of people not appreciating where their meal comes from.

I will admit, I have never slaughtered a pig or cow. I have slaughtered chicken. Fish, crabs, lobsters? Definitely have done them by hand too. I think part of appreciating the gift of food is thanking the animals who give their life for our sustenance, and part of that is being humane in how we do it.

All that being said, I also think PETA is insane. I have more of a balanced view on all this, but I do believe there is a moral problem with how we go about things and I think Will has a great point here.

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gichin, you mentioned PETA...

I'd like to start off with saying i'm a vegetarian, so everyone knows what kind of a bias i'm expected to have.

with that out of the way, i think PETA is a bunch of F***ing morons. they are against the humane society because they euthanize some animals, while believe it or not, PETA has a walk-in freezer for the bodies of animals they euthinized. they throw molotov ****tails in research labs that are trying to save people's lives with new medicines. they are completely against insulin shots, because they are tested on animals, even though they save lives. furthermore, their own Vice President uses insulin shot. she justifies if by saying that the animals need her to live to help them, so she's allowed to take them. PETA has to be one of the worst organizations around.

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PETA's stance on things is one most of the sane world will find disagreeable. That benig that animals are not be bothered by us in any way, even as pets. The problem however is that too often PETA is that only org with any balls.

First you have to understand the problem:

Companies will use the law (no cameras and non-disclosure agreements ) to hide the fact they are breaking the law (animal welfare laws). The government will do nothing about it at all because their methods are very ineffective (they ask permission to inspect and pick a predetermined date....bet drug runners would appreciate that). So PETA get s person hired and via the use of hidden image equipment exposes the abuser.

This is IMO a needed and valuable service they are providing. It is non-violent and it is catches criminals that are so aware that what they are doing is illegal that they take many steps (mentioned before) to avoid being caught. This is no matter of accidently crossing the line, they conspire to break the law and the government does jack about it.

The problem with PETA is that they take everything too damn far. They insult people, they attack people, and they have pretty clear connection with ALF, a known terrorist group. That is why I can't support them at all, becasue despite the good they do they end up retarding the animal welfare movement by creating knee jerk reactions against it. No matter how much they get right they get much to much wrong and really deserve to be heavily investigated by the feds.

Also eariler in this thread you heard that most people don't know what abuse is going on. Did you know that is in large part because the media, network and papers, refuse to have images of what really happens shown on their stations or printed in their papers? PETA and other groups have been trying for years to expose the grim reality but are censored to the point where they show little more then a sick and dirty animal....not the real stuff. They'll show you wounded soldiers and charred human bodies....but things that are allowed LEGALLY....is considered too much for TV.

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people tend to see these images as something not real, because of the way PETA is. if they worked harder at exposing the truth instead of forcing their principals on other people, and valuing human well-being over animal's, people might start to listen. it has gone beyond the point of no return, we need a new sane organization that doesn't take to terrorism and hippocracy.

edit: spelling

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Guest Gichin13
Originally posted by PokerPacker

yeah, i know people who will eat meat, but not veal. they know how they tie 'em up and all, so they refuse to eat it.

I skip veal for exactly that reason. Not that the chickens are likely treated any better ...

There are likely some damn good health reasons for being a little more humane as well. Do you really believe that cooping up a million chickens all on top of each other soaked in their own s*** is a good healthy food practice?

Overcoming that problem by dumping antibiotics in animal feed is contributing to creating strains of infectious agents that are highly resistent to our drugs, that is not a good idea either.

I fully recognize there is a cost benefit trade off ... I have started to try and put my wallet where my morals are and find food materials that are a little more organic, a little more humane, even if there are a little tougher to find and more expensive. I think the more that people make those choices, the more the expenses should even out.

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Guest Gichin13
Originally posted by PokerPacker

gichin, you mentioned PETA...

I'd like to start off with saying i'm a vegetarian, so everyone knows what kind of a bias i'm expected to have.

with that out of the way, i think PETA is a bunch of F***ing morons. they are against the humane society because they euthanize some animals, while believe it or not, PETA has a walk-in freezer for the bodies of animals they euthinized. they throw molotov ****tails in research labs that are trying to save people's lives with new medicines. they are completely against insulin shots, because they are tested on animals, even though they save lives. furthermore, their own Vice President uses insulin shot. she justifies if by saying that the animals need her to live to help them, so she's allowed to take them. PETA has to be one of the worst organizations around.

I see you are a Penn and Teller fan -- WOOT!

That was their best episode for sure.

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Originally posted by Gichin13

I skip veal for exactly that reason. Not that the chickens are likely treated any better ...

There are likely some damn good health reasons for being a little more humane as well. Do you really believe that cooping up a million chickens all on top of each other soaked in their own s*** is a good healthy food practice?

Overcoming that problem by dumping antibiotics in animal feed is contributing to creating strains of infectious agents that are highly resistent to our drugs, that is not a good idea either.

I fully recognize there is a cost benefit trade off ... I have started to try and put my wallet where my morals are and find food materials that are a little more organic, a little more humane, even if there are a little tougher to find and more expensive. I think the more that people make those choices, the more the expenses should even out.

you'd be surprized how much some of this fake stuff tastes compared to the real thing. everyone who has had an open mind enough to at least try a piece have actually enjoyed it.

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Guest Gichin13
Originally posted by Destino

Companies will use the law (no cameras and non-disclosure agreements ) to hide the fact they are breaking the law (animal welfare laws). The government will do nothing about it at all because their methods are very ineffective (they ask permission to inspect and pick a predetermined date....bet drug runners would appreciate that). So PETA get s person hired and via the use of hidden image equipment exposes the abuser.

This is IMO a needed and valuable service they are providing.

That is not the part of PETA I have a problem with.

Of course, they risk the same type of false pretences lawsuit that Food Lion successfully waged against the people from dateline that snuck into Food Lion as workers with cameras.

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Originally posted by twa

Lowered expectations;)

Sorry if I offend ,but it seems a little ridiculus to put too much into humane treatment of animals sentenced to death.

Aside from what to me is the obvious issue of not letting the animals suffer unduly, don't you realize that the stress endured by these animals undergoing inhumane treatment can adversely effect the flavor of the meat?

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Originally posted by Gichin13

That is not the part of PETA I have a problem with.

Is this the part of PETA you have a problem with?

Another N.C. county cuts ties to PETA after charges

By DARREN FREEMAN, The Virginian-Pilot

June 22, 2005

Days after two employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals were arrested on animal cruelty charges, Bertie County, N.C., officials said they were stunned to learn that the group had euthanized most of the animals it had taken from shelters in the northeastern part of the state.

Despite a written apology from PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, the Bertie County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to cut all ties to the group.

The two PETA employees were arrested last week after police saw bags of dead animals being dumped in a trash bin in a supermarket parking lot.

Bertie County Manager Zee Lamb said Tuesday that he thought the animals were being taken for evaluation and “the ones that were adoptable would be adopted.”

Euthanasia, Lamb said, was understood to be used only “as a last resort.”

Bertie joined Northampton County officials, who decided last week to stop working with PETA until the case against the two employees is resolved.

Documents filed by PETA with the state of Virginia showed that in 2001, 2002 and 2003, about 6,100 domestic animals were euthanized – about 83 percent of the animals that owners surrendered to the organization. Many animals are brought in by owners to be spayed or neutered and returned.

Many of the animals in Virginia had been euthanized at the request of their owners, said Daphna Nachminovitch, director of PETA’s domestic animal and wildlife department.

Nachminovitch said she did not know how many animals had been taken in North Carolina or how many had been adopted or euthanized.

Newkirk’s letter to Bertie County commissioners, though, stated: “We were able to place a small number of animals … but the condition of most rural strays and given-up animals makes that impossible.”

PETA’s adoption rate – about 19 percent from 2001- 03 – is lower than that at some other animal control services, such as Isle of Wight County Animal Control, where the adoption rate spiked to 70 percent last year.

The difference between PETA and other services, Nachminovitch said, is that PETA never turns away an animal.

“We take in the animals nobody else will take,” Nachminovitch said.

All animals, however, should be examined by a veterinarian to see if they can be adopted or should be killed, she said.

Even animals that are deemed healthy enough to live are eventually euthanized when PETA cannot find a good home for them, Nachminovitch said.

People tend to want young, house-trained, healthy animals. Many of the animals taken in North Carolina were strays, and some had contagious and severe diseases, she said.

“Did we euthanize some animals who could have been adopted? Maybe,” Nachminovitch said. “The point is that good homes are few and far between … Our aim here was to stop them from dying an agonizing death.”

Police began investigating because carcasses wrapped in plastic bags were found in trash bins at a Piggly Wiggly supermarket every Wednesday for four straight weeks. At least 80 animals were found dumped.

Officers say that on June 15 they followed a van registered to PETA after it left Bertie County’s animal shelter, staked out the garbage bins and arrested two PETA employees after watching animal carcasses being thrown away.

They found 18 dead dogs in a bin and 13 other animal carcasses in the van.

Andrew B. Cook, 24, of Virginia Beach, and Adria J. Hinkle, 27, of Norfolk, were both charged with 31 felony counts of animal cruelty, eight misdemeanor counts of illegal disposal of dead animals and one count of trespassing.

A probable cause hearing was set for July 19. PETA will pay for Cook’s and Hinkle’s legal representation, Newkirk said on Friday.

Hinkle has been suspended for 90 days, but Cook, who was hired only weeks ago as her assistant, has not been suspended.

Nachminovitch said euthanizing animals and dumping the carcasses into trash bins violates PETA policy.

PETA typically takes animals from North Carolina to Norfolk, where those deemed unfit for adoption are killed with a fast-acting lethal injection. Newkirk said in a news conference Friday.

Only veterinarians hired by PETA are supposed to kill animals in North Carolina, she said.

“There is no reason for what happened, and there is no excuse for what happened,” Nachminovitch said.

Virginia law states that domestic animals, such as those PETA was transporting, must be accompanied by a note from a veterinarian saying the animals are healthy and fit to travel before entering the commonwealth, said Elaine Lidholm, a spokeswoman for the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

Lidholm said she did not know whether PETA had obtained the proper documents for moving animals into Virginia.

“We were not aware PETA was transporting sick animals across the state line for euthanasia,” she said.

Asked if Hinkle had been getting notes from veterinarians, Nachminovitch said, “That is something that has to do with the legal case, and I can’t comment on that.”

According to Newkirk’s letter to commissioners, PETA started working with Bertie County in 2001 when a caller informed the group of poor conditions in the county’s shelter.

As PETA explored other shelters, they found more troubling conditions.

For example, the Bertie County shelter had used a small gas chamber to kill animals until 2000, and some animals in Windsor, N.C., were killed with a .22-caliber bullet to the head, Nachminovitch said.

“These are all very outdated facilities,” Nachminovitch said. “These are county pounds that have been here for decades.”

Since 2001, PETA had expanded to serve shelters in Bertie, Hertford and Northampton counties and the Windsor town shelter.

PETA spent $250,000 in improvements to Bertie County’s shelter and $65,000 on improvements in Northampton County and provided more than $9,000 to an Ahoskie veterinarian who euthanized animals, Nachminovitch said.

The Ahoskie veterinarian, Patrick Proctor, said on Tuesday he would continue to euthanize animals with PETA’s support, although three cats found in the trash bins were from his clinic. He said it is important for animals to be put to death in a humane way.

Northampton County has decided to stop working with PETA for an unknown period of time, although officials do not think animals from the Northampton shelter were among those found in the trash bins , said Sue Gay, health director for Northampton County.

PETA had sent people other than Hinkle to pick up animals from Northampton on a different day of the week, Gay said.

Gay said she assumed all animals taken from her county were intended to be examined, and that healthy ones would be put up for adoption.

Nachminovitch and others from PETA have stayed in touch with Bertie and Northampton officials despite the recent decisions made by county commissioners.

“One of our people made a very bad mistake, and I don’t want the animals to suffer for it,” Nachminovitch said.

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Some folks are missing the point of this article, it isn't a "Don't Eat Animals" article, it is a an article about how bad the quality of livestock is these days because corporate factory farms want to curb a few production costs, so we as consumers get an unhealthy and/or unsafe product at the grocery store due to the continued lower standards/breaking of enviornmental laws.

I am a meat eater, I love the taste, however the fact that we are being advised not to eat fish more then once a week due to mercury levells getting out of control should be a concern to ANYONE who likes seafood.

Same with livestock, if the conditions there are bad, and the animals are getting shot up with all sorts of growth hormones and antibiotics, all that garbage ends up in that nice piece of steak we serve up to our children.

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Originally posted by bird_1972

Very interesting take, Jpillian. I wonder if this lack of closeness to "death" on the part of many modern youths also contributes to the skyrocketing rates of violent crime in that demographic. It would be an interesting hypothesis.

There used to be shooting clubs in high schools(maybe in some more rural ones there still are) and I'm talking in urban areas. Now everyone freaks out and suspends kids for making the 'gun' with their fingers or making drawings that depict violence.

Boys were not emasculated but were told to appropriately channel their instincts and nature.

Now they are drugged up with Ritalin while nearly all-female teaching staffs in conjunction with the administration forces a parent's hand in medicating their 'unruly' boy. Boys are taught their instincts are bad and that girls' instincts and nature are good.

Yes, I'd say that youth violence is related(though not only to this) to this development.

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Originally posted by Ghost of Nibbs McPimpin

Now they are drugged up with Ritalin while nearly all-female teaching staffs in conjunction with the administration forces a parent's hand in medicating their 'unruly' boy. Boys are taught their instincts are bad and that girls' instincts and nature are good.

ever since i stopped taking that crap, i've been a much happier person. damn ritalin.

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Originally posted by Gichin13

I agree. Some posts on this thread definitely demonstrate the moral and factual disconnect of people not appreciating where their meal comes from.

I will admit, I have never slaughtered a pig or cow. I have slaughtered chicken. Fish, crabs, lobsters? Definitely have done them by hand too. I think part of appreciating the gift of food is thanking the animals who give their life for our sustenance, and part of that is being humane in how we do it.

All that being said, I also think PETA is insane. I have more of a balanced view on all this, but I do believe there is a moral problem with how we go about things and I think Will has a great point here.

Well I have slaughtered pigs,cows,chickens,fish and game animals.

Perhaps I have become calloused about the subject,but my only real concern is safety in the food supply and enviromental impact.

While I purchase most my beef from a rancher that treats his stock well,I have no problem ordering a steak or even veal from a restaraunt.

I rarely eat chicken[nasty animals]or fish[who knows what they eat] and feel throwing live crabs or lobsters into boiling water sick;) ,although I enjoy calamari for some reason.

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Originally posted by NoCalMike

I am a meat eater, I love the taste, however the fact that we are being advised not to eat fish more then once a week due to mercury levells getting out of control should be a concern to ANYONE who likes seafood.

That's not entirely accurate NoCalMike. You perhaps would be somewhat close if you're speaking of women who are pregnant, might become pregnant, nursing mothers, or young children. However in all other cases the risk of mercury poisoning is neglible unless one's diet consisted mainly of the fish whose levels of mercury are high.

Straight from the EPA (http://www.cfsan.fda.gov/~dms/admehg3.html)

What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish

2004 EPA and FDA Advice For:

Women Who Might Become Pregnant

Women Who are Pregnant

Nursing Mothers

Young Children

Fish and shellfish are an important part of a healthy diet. Fish and shellfish contain high-quality protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids. A well-balanced diet that includes a variety of fish and shellfish can contribute to heart health and children's proper growth and development. So, women and young children in particular should include fish or shellfish in their diets due to the many nutritional benefits.

However, nearly all fish and shellfish contain traces of mercury. For most people, the risk from mercury by eating fish and shellfish is not a health concern. Yet, some fish and shellfish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child's developing nervous system. The risks from mercury in fish and shellfish depend on the amount of fish and shellfish eaten and the levels of mercury in the fish and shellfish. Therefore, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are advising women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers, and young children to avoid some types of fish and eat fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.

By following these 3 recommendations for selecting and eating fish or shellfish, women and young children will receive the benefits of eating fish and shellfish and be confident that they have reduced their exposure to the harmful effects of mercury.

Do not eat Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.

Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.

Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.

Another commonly eaten fish, albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.

Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don't consume any other fish during that week.

Follow these same recommendations when feeding fish and shellfish to your young child, but serve smaller portions.

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Guest Gichin13
Originally posted by China

Is this the part of PETA you have a problem with?

Absolutely. That is a great and extremely hypocritical example.

That, plus I think they have a pretty hypocritical stance on animal testing (supporting blowing up testing clinics for example). I think there is another similar point about being humane in testing protocols that we abuse, but I think it can go way too far when people are proposing taking human life to save animals. I have the same problem with pro-life people blowing up abortion clinics.

The funny part is multiple folks, including I think the VP of PETA, were medicated with life saving medications that flowed directly from animal testing ... cannot recall the details right now, maybe someone else does.

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