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Teacher Suspended for Showing Students Footage of Animal Abuse: What Should Have Happened Instead


#1

Teacher Suspended for Showing Students Footage of Animal Abuse: What Should Have Happened Instead

Zoe Weil

Michael Fields, a science teacher in the Au Gres school system in Arenac County, Michigan, recently showed his fifth grade students an undercover video produced by Mercy for Animals (MFA). Depicting horrific cruelty toward pigs and piglets in a facility providing meat for Tyson Foods, the video reveals animal abuse in modern agricultural facilities that is not only legal, but all too common.


#2

Let's remember that public "education" is designed for training and not to foster critical thought.

Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" was also despised by TPTB. To Mr. Sinclair and all of the muckrakers, I salute you.


#4

Perhaps Fields should have required the students to read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" prior to the film being scheduled ?


#5

Note the quote: "Action is the antidote to despair."

Which is NOT the same as: "Hope is the antidote to despair." Hope is a chimera. In an age of runaway climate change and perpetual war (and the refugees both engender); in a time of rigged casino capitalism and crazed 'communism' (a la Chinese model) where the 'house always wins' and wealth accrues to the few; in an era when roughly 200 species a day are going extinct, and soil, water and air are damaged, degraded and despoiled daily; when surveillance is rampant and dissent quashed with speed and force; when...feel free to add to the list of horrors both current and potential.

In an age such as this, hope for a world of "clean air and water, a future without poverty and war, a world in which we treat each other and other animals with respect and compassion" is unrealistic at best, and probably borders on the downright delusional.

Hope these days is tantamount to 'hopium', a warm fuzzy balm or blanket to soothe (temporarily) the jangled nerves of the justifiably anxious, worried, or distressed. The problem with hope is that it is bound to be dashed over and over again - which could lead to genuine despair, or lingering depression.

I find that it entirely possible to take positive actions without a shred of hope that they will in any way alter the seemingly inevitable destructive course of this present set of living arrangements - industrial civilization, and it's violent and oppressive ways.

I would rather children learn the virtue and value of positive action - good work, right livelihood, basic kindness and respect - in and of itself, without shouldering the burden of hope. Today's lesson, mes enfents: Learn to 'do it anyway', without attachment to a particular hope-addled sunny outcome, 'cuz it's probably not gonna turn out that way, kids.


#6

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#7

Johnny will you stop playing that violent war video game produced by the DOD and talk to me about that true violent video you seen in school today!


#8

precisely. the disconnects grow wider each day--particularly in this country.


#10

Indeed, it seems irresponsible of Fields to go about it this way. Simply sheltering the kids from these kinds of real-world horrors, however, seems equally unacceptable. The best approach to these things may be the course my favorite teachers took, which is the proverbial 'leading the horses to water' and letting things sort themselves out. Discuss animal cruelty in the meat industry, give them stats and case studies instead of graphic imagery, and suggest looking further into it to the kids want to know more. Not only are the innocents spared the trauma, but the teacher is spared offending any of them or their parents. Perhaps most importantly, the kids who want to take it further get that thrill of learning things for themselves instead of being taught, and when kids learn to do that, you've got the best form of teaching there is.


#11

So long as participation in the barbaric act of consuming the flesh of other highly sentient beings is characterized as simply another "personal choice," there's little hope for humanity.


#13

I'm glad the video was showed. PETA started exposing this type of animal abuse, and other groups have followed, knowing how succesful it was. I was horrified when I was about 12 and had to dissect frogs, and crack open eggs to see what stage of life a chicken was at. That can desensitize a child to animal abuse. If these are just "things" then what does it matter that we just toss them in the trash when done ripping them apart? And they don't fight or scream. If they did, it would obviously make an impact!


#14

In the military they also train on live animals. It helped desensitizes them to killing other living beings.