PopMatters is moving to WordPress. We will publish a few essays daily while we develop the new site. We hope the beta will be up sometime late next week.
Culture

Madison Park Is Into Farm Animals

DeAnna Cool

Madison Park's DeAnna Cool takes her spot on the soapbox to defend herself for her perfectly natural love of farm animals.

That's right, farm animals. But it's not what you're thinking... Please allow me to properly explain... Better yet, I'll share a little story of mine which will help lead to the explanation of my overt fondness for farm animals.

One evening while standing around at a party, a guy that I didn't know approached me to strike up a casual conversation. He walked up to me with a drink in one hand and a plate in the other; full of what he referred to as the tastiest hors d' oeuvres ever. He was making his enjoyment quite obvious -- in that way some people manage to do in not so direct ways -- and he proceeded to ask me why I wasn't taking part of the delightful spread.

I pointed out to him that each appetizer on the table had meat, and being a vegetarian, it wasn't at all delightful to me. But rather than believing that I don't eat meat, since I'm not emaciated or pale, he decided to assume that it was because I don't eat at all -- or that I had already surpassed my caloric intake for the day. His remark, although delivered fairly subtly, was just sarcastic enough for me to decide that that moment would be a great time to step up onto my soapbox and give a complete stranger some information he had apparently never heard, since my being vegetarian was of such foreign concept to him.

I started to feel myself getting excited at the thought of facing this new opponent, whom I'd already guessed had grown up on meat and potatoes, so I knew it was going to be a challenge. I was sure my face was flushed as I felt my blood starting to get going, and I was beginning to feel that anxious sensation you feel when you are ready to take on a staunch adversary.

My confidence was high, because I knew I could knock him flat with my facts -- I would plow him over with factory farming statistics so fast and hard he wouldn't know what him. OK, I'm getting carried away, but the subject matter riles me up like nothing else. That's right, tonight! Tonight, I would have my chance to get away from the common small talk I so detest and take down a meatatarian! Or so I would try. I would even let him have a head start.

It began just like all these conversations do... with him asking me what I do eat since I don't eat meat. That question always strikes me as odd. If anyone thought it through for even just a second before asking, they could quickly run through their previous week's worth of meals and realize that by simply removing the meat from each of those dishes they would be fine. They would, in fact, find it enjoyable. That chicken alfredo can easily be served without the chicken as a delicious vegetable alfredo, pizza with pepperoni is much better for you when it is minus the pepperoni, and within every ethnic restaurant, be it Mexican, Thai, Chinese or what have you, there's a section specifically for vegetarians. You can eat rice and beans, sandwiches, tofu, pasta dishes, soufflés, sushi (veggie of course), and so on... not to mention most people consume too much protein in their diet on a daily basis anyway. It's hard on the kidneys!

He just sort of stood there for a moment, when he finally spoke up and said he still couldn't imagine life without his pork roast. I said, "Speaking of pigs, what do you know about pigs?" Did he know that pigs are more intelligent and trainable than dogs? That much research shows pigs process at the same level as a three year old child? But even so, these fascinating animals are reduced to living a miserable life where they're confined to an amount of space not much larger than the actual size of their bodies. They can't comfortably lie down or even turn around. They are incapable of experiencing fresh air, seeing daylight, or socializing with other pigs, despite being very social creatures by nature.

The stranger said he didn't know much about pigs. He figured they were pretty dirty and stupid since they like to roll around in mud. I explained that pigs roll around in mud because they don't have sweat glands and that's how they cool off their bodies. Where did we ever come up with the phrase sweaty pig, anyway? I went on to explain that pigs are, in fact, extremely clean animals, very particular about their surroundings... that is, when they get to choose their surroundings.

We talked about the treatment of cows, chickens, ducks -- and I managed to really startle him for a minute when I told him how foie gras is created.

The whole point is, animals raised on today's industrialized farms are treated like machines; inanimate objects devoid of any feeling or needs. Some of their most basic needs are completely ignored. They are crowded into factory farm warehouses where they are de-beaked, de-toed, tail-docked, crowded, neglected, and denied the very basics of life that we all take for granted, such as sunshine, fresh air, and freedom to run. There are exactly zero laws to protect farm animals in this country. When animals are used for the sake of profit and production, greedy companies can treat them however they choose. Employees of these factories can beat them, throw them, harm them in any way chosen. And organizations like Humane Farming Association, Farm Sanctuary, PETA, and ASCAP all fight mightily every day to see that laws are implemented to protect these animals. It is an overwhelming battle, even though nine out of ten Americans believe that animals should indeed be treated humanely.

I couldn't sense whether or not my opponent was coming around to experiencing animal sensitivity or not, so I thought, "Certainly he cares about the environment." I explained how Factory Farming destroys our world by severely depleting our soil, polluting our rivers, lakes, and streams, devastating our forests, and using our grains that could otherwise be used to feed the millions of starving people in our world. From there I continued to point out that twenty vegetarians can be fed on the same amount of land required to feed one person consuming a meat-based diet; that more than half of all the water in the United States is used in livestock production; that runoff from animal waste often accounts for more water pollution than all human activities combined.

At this point he was becoming fairly despondent, but still defiant, so I decided he must be more into himself than anything else. I figured he certainly had to care about his individual health, and that's when I launched into how the meat of animals raised in factory farms is meat that he should avoid. To explain, I mentioned how over half of all the drugs manufactured in the United States end up in animal feed in factory farms; that meat is commonly contaminated with animal feces or other bodily fluids; that animals become severely stressed and sick in these intensive confinement systems, and yet we wonder why there's Mad Cow and Bird Flu.

The man had stopped eating long before I got to this point in our discussion, and I felt a tinge of guilt. As much as I enjoy taking the stand for farm animals, I don't enjoy ruining someone's evening -- nor their meal, for that matter. I just want people to know, period. I want them to care. And although you can't force someone to care, you can often make an impact just by sharing, creating awareness.

He looked up at me and told me that I don't appear to be some earthy, granola girl. I laughed. He said he wanted to know how I became so crazy over farm animals. I appreciated his willingness to bring our heavy-duty conversation around, so I laughed again and said rather loudly, "I don't know -- I'm just really into farm animals!"

Of course, as soon as the words were leaving my mouth, the room had gone instantaneously quiet. The DJ in the corner had screwed up the transition to his next track, and because he stopped abruptly, the entire room full of people stopped talking abruptly as well. That is, everyone but me. And what I said way too loudly was that I was into farm animals.

The looks on the faces of this hip and trendy crowd were ones I haven't forgotten. I decided not to retract or defend my comment heard by all, instead I just smiled as confidently as I could muster, stood up, and walked out of the party, not saying good-bye to anyone. I had decided to go with the concept that it's better to leave them wanting more�

Only I still happen to wonder if my friend at the party decided that he could give up his pork roast to create a little less strain on my other, farm animal friends. If not all together, then perhaps once in a while he skips meat for a meal and goes vegetarian. Because every vegetarian meal consumed is a small, but significant victory for farm animals.

* * *

DeAnna Cool is one half of Madison Park, the celebrated dance-pop duo she shares with husband James. A sensual deep house act with true pop sensibilities, Madison Park's sexy and seductive style has been rewarded with steady hits on the dance charts, including the cover of Roxy Music's "More Than This" from the Roxy Remodeled album, also helmed by the pair through their BasicLUX label. Madison Park's second full-length, In the Stars, will be released this summer. [multiple songs on MySpace]

* * *

PopMatters is proud to invite artists, authors, actors, auteurs, and other creatives to contribute to the My Favorite Things series by sharing your thoughts about some of your own favorites. For details on how to participate, please contact Patrick Schabe or Sarah Zupko for further information. hors, actors, auteurs, and other creatives to contribute to the My Favorite Things series by sharing your thoughts about some of your own favorites. For details on how to participate, please contact Patrick Schabe or Sarah Zupko for further information.

Please Donate to Help Save PopMatters

PopMatters have been informed by our current technology and hosting provider that we have less than a month, until November 6, to move PopMatters off their service or we will be shut down. We are moving to WordPress and a new host, but we really need your help to save the site.


Music

Books

Film

Recent
Music

Laura Veirs Talks to Herself on 'My Echo'

The thematic connections between these 10 Laura Veirs songs and our current situation are somewhat coincidental, or maybe just the result of kismet or karmic or something in the zeitgeist.

Film

15 Classic Horror Films That Just Won't Die

Those lucky enough to be warped by these 15 classic horror films, now available on Blu-ray from The Criterion Collection and Kino Lorber, never got over them.

Music

Sixteen Years Later Wayne Payne Follows Up His Debut

Waylon Payne details a journey from addiction to redemption on Blue Eyes, The Harlot, The Queer, The Pusher & Me, his first album since his 2004 debut.

Music

Every Song on the Phoenix Foundation's 'Friend Ship' Is a Stand-Out

Friend Ship is the Phoenix Foundation's most personal work and also their most engaging since their 2010 classic, Buffalo.

Music

Kevin Morby Gets Back to Basics on 'Sundowner'

On Sundowner, Kevin Morby sings of valleys, broken stars, pale nights, and the midwestern American sun. Most of the time, he's alone with his guitar and a haunting mellotron.

Music

Lydia Loveless Creates Her Most Personal Album with 'Daughter'

Given the turmoil of the era, you might expect Lydia Loveless to lean into the anger, amplifying the electric guitar side of her cowpunk. Instead, she created a personal record with a full range of moods, still full of her typical wit.

Music

Flowers for Hermes: An Interview with Performing Activist André De Shields

From creating the title role in The Wiz to winning an Emmy for Ain't Misbehavin', André De Shields reflects on his roles in more than four decades of iconic musicals, including the GRAMMY and Tony Award-winning Hadestown.

Film

The 13 Greatest Horror Directors of All Time

In honor of Halloween, here are 13 fascinating fright mavens who've made scary movies that much more meaningful.

Music

British Jazz and Soul Artists Interpret the Classics on '​Blue Note Re:imagined'

Blue Note Re:imagined provides an entrance for new audiences to hear what's going on in British jazz today as well as to go back to the past and enjoy old glories.

Film

Bill Murray and Rashida Jones Add Another Shot to 'On the Rocks'

Sofia Coppola's domestic malaise comedy On the Rocks doesn't drown in its sorrows -- it simply pours another round, to which we raise our glass.

Music

​Patrick Cowley Remade Funk and Disco on 'Some Funkettes'

Patrick Cowley's Some Funkettes sports instrumental renditions from between 1975-1977 of songs previously made popular by Donna Summer, Herbie Hancock, the Temptations, and others.

Music

The Top 10 Definitive Breakup Albums

When you feel bombarded with overpriced consumerism disguised as love, here are ten albums that look at love's hangover.

Music

Dustin Laurenzi's Natural Language Digs Deep Into the Jazz Quartet Format with 'A Time and a Place'

Restless tenor saxophonist Dustin Laurenzi runs his four-piece combo through some thrilling jazz excursions on a fascinating new album, A Time and a Place.

Television

How 'Watchmen' and 'The Boys' Deconstruct American Fascism

Superhero media has a history of critiquing the dark side of power, hero worship, and vigilantism, but none have done so as radically as Watchmen and The Boys.

Music

Floodlights' 'From a View' Is Classicist Antipodal Indie Guitar Pop

Aussie indie rockers, Floodlights' debut From a View is a very cleanly, crisply-produced and mixed collection of shambolic, do-it-yourself indie guitar music.

Music

CF Watkins Embraces a Cool, Sophisticated Twang on 'Babygirl'

CF Watkins has pulled off the unique trick of creating an album that is imbued with the warmth of the American South as well as the urban sophistication of New York.

Music

Helena Deland Suggests Imagination Is More Rewarding Than Reality on 'Something New'

Canadian singer-songwriter Helena Deland's first full-length release Someone New reveals her considerable creative talents.

Music

While the Sun Shines: An Interview with Composer Joe Wong

Joe Wong, the composer behind Netflix's Russian Doll and Master of None, articulates personal grief and grappling with artistic fulfillment into a sweeping debut album.


Reviews
Collapse Expand Reviews



Features
Collapse Expand Features

PM Picks
Collapse Expand Pm Picks

© 1999-2020 PopMatters.com. All rights reserved.
PopMatters is wholly independent, women-owned and operated.