Don't bruise that pig! Retro pork-o-ganda comics.

from Ethan Persoff's COMICS WITH PROBLEMS, scans of a midcentury slaughterhouse graphic novelette advocating against animal mistreatment. I mean, well, advocating against inadvertently bruising cows and pigs before you kill 'em for sweet delicious bacon and steaks. I'm so confused.

Regarding the cell above: "Man, what an unfortunate and unintended history reference," says Ethan.

Previously on Boing Boing:
* About that ginormous beef recall


  1. The swine are all stoked to be herded into trucks on their way to slaughter, grinning like happy children. And the handlers happy as shit, waving their “canvas slappers”. It reminds me of something else from just before mid-century.

  2. I’m not that confused — what would be the point in mistreating the animal? (Besides amusement value, I suppose).

    I’m eating it because it’s tasty, not because I hate it or anything.

  3. This is the kind of thing that animal rights activists should be doing… show food producers how it is in their interest to treat animals well. Instead of fighting them, work with them.

    Hardcore PETAns won’t want to compromise, but then they’ll never really accomplish their goal. For more reasonable animal rights activists, though, this is how to make progress.

    Personally, I eat meat. But I’d like to know that the meat I eat is treated well. Like #4 said, I don’t hate animals… I love them!

  4. Oh, and I work in the oil industry and we’ve figured out that environmentalism and safety are good business… we spend more time making our equipment safe and clean than we do just about any other single thing.

    I would love to deal with environmentalists who were willing to work with me and listen to me rather than just shrilly screaming that we’re raping the environment.

  5. “canvas slappers” ? is that what the golf pro and the railroad engineer are waving about? oh, and #8, perhaps NOW the oil industry is BEGINNING to work on environmentally safe and clean equipment (in the countries that require it) however, when it comes to environmental rape, they and the military industrial complex ( who, it would seem, work pretty much together) undoubtedly kick the most hella-ass! woot-woot! #1!

  6. I just love the “canvas slappers” cartoon…piggies and stock handlers just havin’ a fine old time, like snapping towels in the locker room. (Any odds on when that image will be repurposed for a BDSM personal ad? Err…not that I’d ever know where such a thing would be seen…)

  7. I would rather the pig have a life, then not have a life at all… but I might be mistaken in my thinking that the pigs slaughtered aren’t wild (having been captured and taken from their babies)

    I would definitely feel better about my food if the meat I ate where given the five star treatment (I want some rockstar beef!)

  8. I guess when I read Temple Grandin’s Thinking in Pictures, the distinction between wanting to kill an animal and wanting to cause it suffering was a little novel at first, but then it was obvious.

    Anyone who would like to be welcomed into an alien mind should read Thinking in Pictures. The book reviewed in the link above, “Animals in Translation,” looks more narrowly focused.

  9. What is that thing that both men are holding in their hands? Is that a whip?
    What conflicting message this poster is giving me.

  10. #7:
    You confuse animal rights with animal welfarism.

    Animal rights is not about bigger cages or exploiting more “nicely”. It is rather about abolition. The current animal exploitation contain many evils: suffering, deprivation of valuable experiences and activities (seeing sunlight, fresh air, the smell and experience of a natural environment, the ability to roam freely…). Welfarists hope to reform those. They’ve been at it for over 100 years and things have not improved much. So there’s strong reason to believe that the central function of welfarism is not actual improvement for animals but rather preservation of status quo and mental comfort for the exploiters. It gives meat eaters the warm feeling that things are improving, that we have created “ethical” forms of exploitation. Welfarism is thereby the worst excuse ever deviced to justify continuing a massive and essentially evil practice.

    The worst thing is not what welfarism falsely assures us that it will fix. The worst thing is what it ignores: the harm of death for the animal. The economical model for modern meat production involves doing a great harm to the individual animal by killing it in its youth, thereby depriving it of many years of valuable future life. Imagine what “pork” would cost if the animal had not been killed early in its life. And was treated in a way that maximizes its welfar. Would the price be 20 times higher? 40 times? Would you afford it regularly? Probably not. So if you only want to eat meat from animals that has been treated “well” then don’t eat meat.

    Understanding that the harm of death is a harm not only for humans is central to understanding what animal rights mean.

    Finally, read something by Tom Regan for a better presentation of what Animal Rights means.

  11. is there any room on Earth for animals that do not serve man? Suppose we all relinquish the husbandry of the most common meat species. Dairy cows are obligate parasites now as are battery chickens. Even if hogs are no longer kept and bred,the survivors wouldn’t have the wild range they need and would be too dangerous when feral to tolerate. Even “wild” animals live at our mercy since their necessary habitat must be “artificially” protected within our economic life. They live to serve us as symbols and objects of admiration and curiosity.

    There is no going back.

  12. So are we going to see another 100-post long discussion about the pros and cons of raising livestock? Ugh.

    My $.02: If the folks who so vehemently preach either side of this (or any other) issue would take the time to do some research on WHY those opposite choose their opposing viewpoint, we might be better able to understand each other as people. That, in itself, is its own reward.

  13. I logged on to mention Temple Grandin too – I read about her in Oliver Sack’s “Anthropologist on Mars” – and it’s quite fascinating reading. She designs chutes that drastically reduce the animals distress before they come to the actual slaughtering, which involves a air gun shot to the brain.

    I, like Takuan, see no conflict in reducing suffering whenever possible.

  14. They no longer use ‘canvas slappers’ to move slaughter animals along. They use cattle prods, which are essentially slightly-lower-voltage tasers. (Trust me, you still don’t want to be stuck with one.) Seems to me like the canvas slappers would have been much more humane.

  15. The pamphlet isn’t advocating against mistreatment out of concern for the animals’ welfare; bruised meat is damaged meat, and has to be sold cheaper.

  16. It said in the article that about $6.00 of meat was lost to bruising in 1/15 cows. I get that every bit counts, but think about it: A cow has about 500 pounds of usable meat. In today’s dollars, you can buy about a pound of good quality beef for $4, give or take a bit depending on the quality of the cut. Even if we double the dollar value (I don’t get inflation, and I imagine beef’s a complicated issue thanks to the number of variables like the fact that we now feed cows GM soybeans which are cheaper than the old feed and the fact that we have rising energy costs), that’s still just about 3 pounds of meat lost from an animal with 500 pounds of meat on the hoof, out of 15. This really shows how big the beef industry is if that was enough loss to warrant a nice illustrated pamphlet explaining how to better treat the animals. Or maybe they had the animals’ interests at heart as some of the animal welfare people on this board feel and offered up the economic incentive for those farmers who might not be as concerned with the animals’ pain.

  17. I just did the math to make my point clearer. At least in beef, just .04% of the meat is lost in the figures they gave. That’s really not that terrifying a number if I were a farmer who didn’t care about animal’s pain. However, I like to think this did help improve conditions a little for some animals, as I’ve heard a lot of farmers believe that animals that experience pain or fear a lot release hormones that hurt the quality of the meat.

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