Aaron Sorkin Misses the Mark on Animal Rights

So Sarah Palin shot a caribou on her lousy reality show. Killed it, butchered it and stuck it in her freezer.

This is one of the least offensive things Palin has done during the course of her political career. And yet, it has Hollywood screenwriter Aaron Sorkin up in arms. In a hilarious and widely read rant on The Huffington Post, he tears into Palin for making a critter snuff film:

Like 95% of the people I know, I don’t have a visceral (look it up) problem eating meat or wearing a belt. But like absolutely everybody I know, I don’t relish the idea of torturing animals. I don’t enjoy the fact that they’re dead and I certainly don’t want to volunteer to be the one to kill them and if I were picked to be the one to kill them in some kind of Lottery-from-Hell, I wouldn’t do a little dance of joy while I was slicing the animal apart.

Well, bully for you, Mr. Sorkin. But it doesn’t much matter to a dead animal how you felt about butchering it. It’s just as dead.

That you would prefer an underpaid factory worker kill your dinner for you instead of doing it yourself does not make you morally superior to Palin. Killing an animal for food is not a “Lottery-from-hell,” it’s the food chain. That you can choose to participate in the food chain without getting your hands dirty speaks not to your ethics, but to your financial privilege. No, wealthy Sarah Palin doesn’t have to kill her own food in order to eat – but millions of people do.

As for what you call “torture,” have you ever been to a factory farm, where most of the meat Americans eat comes from? Livestock are generally kept in crowded, uncomfortable and unsanitary conditions. They are subjected to painful practices such as having teeth, tails or beaks removed without anesthesia, deprived of natural social interaction with their own kind and fed sub-par diets.

In sharp contrast, wild animals like the caribou Palin was hunting have the pleasure of living in their natural habitats, free from cages and steroids and cattle prods. A brief period of suffering at the end of a hunted wild animal’s life is nothing compared to the daily torment animals endure on factory farms.

Mr. Sorkin, If you genuinely want to take a stand against cruelty to animals, start by identifying the real problems. It’s not hunters. It’s not Republicans. It’s certainly not The Learning Channel. Real perpetrators of animal suffering are the farming systems that reduce sentient creatures to profit margins, the social trends that reduce pets to status symbols and fashion accessories, and the cosmetic companies that reduce companion animals to laboratory test subjects. But most of all, they are the consumers who choose to look the other way.

At least Palin knows where that meat in her freezer came from. Here are a few sites you can check out to learn about your own dinner:

And if it makes you feel any better, cocaine is 100% vegetarian.