Mitchell Warren Talks to the Animals

It was dinner time at Mitchell’s family reunion and everyone has managed to pry themselves away from the Internet world for a moment of grace.

“It’s time to say grace…hey, can someone look a prayer up on the Internet?”

“Sure thing!  Should I check Face Book, Twitter or Yahoo Answers?”

“Oh, it’s a respectful occasion!  Use Wikipedia, please.”

Mitchell seemed annoyed.  All of these Mitchell relatives seemed confused as to the real meaning of Thanksgiving: greed, overeating, turkey factory farming and white people screwing Indians over.

It’s no wonder these Mitchells were feeling empty inside…they were all fictional characters; clones of one lone writer who detested Thanksgiving get-togethers and the prevailing spirit of fake thanks going round.  Give thanks for what we have…what we have taken from others…and before I kill you to feed my own family.

“Thanksgiving isn’t always about commerce and self-congratulatory praise,” Mitchell’s older cousin said to the younger Mitchell.  “Thanksgiving is about being appreciative of what you have, and demanding nothing more but a roomful of family and a home-cooked meal.”

“That’s a nice thought,” Mitchell replied unsurely.

“Yeah, I found it off of YouTube.  The guy said it so much better than me.  But I thought I’d share it.  Posted the link on my Multiply page too.”

“Even more heart warming,” the younger Mitchell said sourly.

“Anyway, enough of this gay banter.  It’s time for you to slice the turkey, young Mitchell.”

Mitchell looked at the turkey cavity in hesitance.

“It’s tradition.  You must partake of our hospitality,” another cousin of Mitchell said, who had just respectfully put her cell phone on vibrate instead of an Usher ringtone.

The more Mitchell looked at the bird, the more unique features he noticed.  It wasn’t long until…

A turkey head looked up from the other side of the table.  Mitchell did a double take, no doubt fearing the worst: that the cook forgot to remove the head, and this bird had reanimated into a turkey zombie.

“What the-?”

“Why hello,” the turkey said.

“Hello….say, shouldn’t you be dead.”

“Curious, isn’t it?  It appears as if there has been a mix up in heaven.  An angel must have made a processing error and has put the breath of life into a turkey instead of a human being.  Not that I’m complaining…processing errors are usually the reason why turkeys are permitted to live.”

“Why are you speaking English?”

“I’m not actually.  It appears as if you can now speak and understand the language of the animals.”

“Have I gone mad?”

“Possibly.  But while we can temporarily understand each other, perhaps it’s time to talk some things through.”

“Yeah, I’ve been meaning to talk to you guys.  My life has just been very busy lately.  Lots of work, lots of new projects, Subversify magazine, my new company and then of course all of my editing and freelancing work—HEY, WAIT A MINUTE!  Turkeys don’t talk!”

“Of course.  We’ve heard the same human logic since the beginning of time,” the turkey said boldly.  “Turkeys don’t speak.  Turkeys don’t understand.  Turkeys are not intelligent.  What a curious perspective.  Tell me, isn’t it true that you white people once said the same thing about Native Americans and Negroes?”

“Well…that’s true.  Although I resent the fact that you’re calling me white.”

“White people, brown people, black people…to be honest, most humans look alike to us.  I think we are programmed to distinguish unique features in only our own species.”

“So then, are you here to tell me about the evils of humans eating turkeys?”

“Well, I suppose I could go down that road.  Then again, that would be rather selfish of me, wouldn’t it?  It seems as if we only care about equal rights if they affect us personally.  If I were to say that you eating us is totally inhumane, then I would have to examine my own behavior.  To be honest, myself and many of my turkey relatives would have difficulty filtering out worms, grasshoppers and snails from our diets.  Then of course, my poult brothers would have to stop kidnapping and eating baby lizards and frogs.  And of course, we have no such thing as a baby-eating offender database.”

“Ah, right.  So it goes back to the same old philosophy.  Animals eat other animals.  I can eat meat because you eat meat.”

Mitchell looked over at the end of the table and saw a disdainful cow.  “Well, I don’t know about that,” the cow said.  “Many of us animals are vegetarians ourselves.  We only eat grass, hay and silage.  Or at least we try to, when you humans aren’t force feeding us to eat the grounded remains of our own kind.  So any karmic justice you’re looking for is fallacious as far as we are concerned.  What I observe is that you pick most on the animals that are peaceable and that never fight back.”

“Well, yeah but you cows can’t really be called true vegetarians.  Because you drink milk, right?

“Well I never!  My calves drink milk, you moron.”

“Now, now,” no need to start name calling,” the turkey reminded.  “We are all consenting animals here.  As long as we agree not to eat each other right now, we can continue this debate.”

“Excuse me, sir?” the pig said, pushing its snout against Mitchell’s feet.

“Babe!  You’re still alive.”

“Well without human interference, pigs can live to be about 15 years old,” the pig replied.

“Yes, and as I’ve said many times before, pigs have the intelligence of a three-year old child.  So do you agree that the killing off of your species would be akin to killing off and eating the retarded population of our human species?”

“Hmmm,” the pig replied curiously.  “It’s complicated, Mitchell.  You see,” the pig continued with a glare in its eye, “No one enjoys PETA’s blind activism more than us animals.  As Mister Turkey stated, it keeps some of us alive, and we are pro-anything that keeps our species multiplying.  But if you are asking us if we are against the murder of certain individuals our own species, then it all depends.”

“Depends on what?”

“Well, as I’m sure you can relate, there does come a point when an ‘animal,’ as you call it, does outlive his or her usefulness.  We’ve never claimed that animals are saints, and yet it’s a myth that animal rights activists persist on spreading.  Just as you send off your species to war, execute your own through capital punishment, and abort your children, so the animals also have our own sense of justice.”

The Cock entered the scene, looking aggressive with his large red comb.  “Yes, human being.  I’ll tell you a story.  Last week another rooster dared to challenge The Cock.  The Cock told him to leave the hens and chicks alone, because the coup belonged to The Cock.  The Cock was the only rooster allowed to lay with hens and sire offspring.  But this foolish young chick continued to defy me.  And so The Cock pecked his eyes out.”

The Cock glared at Mitchell, daring him to try his luck.

“Er, no disrespect intended sir.  I’m sure that other chicken deserve it.”

“Yes,” the turkey interrupted, making sure The Cock and Mitchell didn’t go at it.  “As you can see, some animals have just as much a thirst for power as you do.  You can’t reason with animals like The Cock.  He will kill or be killed.”

“Yeah I know a few cocks in the human world too,” Mitchell said, cowering away from the angry rooster.  “Some of us insist on getting our way, no matter what the weaker of the species says.”

“But the point is, we all do according to what we believe is just.  We all have our own system of values.  So don’t try to force your system of values on us,” the pig reminded Mitchell.

“So you’re saying animals go by instinct.”

“Instinct?” the cow mooed in protest.  “Why do you assume that human beings are beyond instinct?  Tell me Mitchell, in all of your years of human experience, is it logic or instinct that made you fall in love and get married, and find a career?  Is it instinct that you chase happiness and provide for your family?  Why is it so inconceivable that animals have thought processes as well?  We think, we worry, we hurt…we feel everything.  But at the end of the day, we follow our instincts just as you do.  We have bellies to feed.  And we have to do our part in the animal economy.”

“Hmm.  So if animals do have feelings and thoughts like humans, where are all the artisans and the slackers?  You know, the ones that refuse to work and just collect welfare all the while writing poems and such?”

“I can answer that,” a sloth said, peering up at Mitchell in excitement.  “We sloths are the philosophers of the animal kingdom.  Sometimes we sit for days and conduct symphonies in our head.  Sometimes we write entire novels and share them with our friends.  I will read to you one of my recent poems as an example…{ahem}”

RITTO

RIT

RIDETTE

LEEP

EAT

DIRTY

The sloth bowed, proud of his performance.

“Wow, that was very…postmodern.”

The sloth nodded.  “We call it, ‘tomorrow todayism.’  What we do tomorrow is what we could be doing today.”

“Huh.”

The pig interrupted.  “What truly is fascinating is how the human species covers the expenses for the laziest of its species and for the mentally handicapped.  We in the animal kingdom usually devour the laziest of our members, or at least stop sharing our food with them and allow them to starve.”

“Yeah.  Touche.”

“Now then, back to our discussion, Mitchell,” the pig continued.  “What perplexes us the most about the human species is how you insist upon labeling certain human creatures as ‘good’ and others as ‘evil.’  We have no such expressions for such in the animal kingdom.  What I do to provide and feed my piglets could well be considered evil to the worm kingdom.  What the snake does to live another day could well be considered evil to the rat.  What the common dog does, just out of its boredom, could be considered evil by all species of the animal kingdom.”

“Oh, dogs are terrible creatures,” the cow groaned.  “They’ll kill and eat anything.  Even their own kind.”

“So then,” the pig said, reaching a fiery climax.  “If your question is, do we think all animals should be spared out of kindness, then I’m afraid our answer would have to be ‘no.’  Some of us must die, so that others may prosper.  Of course, only the most intellectual of us animals understand the way things really are.”

“Babe…what has happened to you?” Mitchell answered in shame.  “When did Babe the pig become Napoleon the pig?”

“Well, a few years ago many of the farm animals agreed that I should enter politics.  I was far too humble to turn them down.”

“You’ve given me a lot to think about,” concluded Mitchell.  “I’ve been pondering my vegetarianism for quite some time.  Part of me thinks that I should become vegan.  You know, because of the factory farming and animal suffering.”

“But you’re already vegetarian,” the turkey scoffed.  “What is a vegan?  A super vegetarian?”

“Pretty much.”

“The vegetarians still drink milk and eat eggs,” the cow said with a smirk and a raise of the cow-brow.

The Cock objected.  “Correction, you fat female.  The correct way to say this is that humans enjoy eating chicken abortions and sucking cow nipple.  The Cock thinks that is disgusting.  The Cock thinks that humans might as well be having sex with chickens and making love to cows.”

“Hmm…I’ve never quite thought of it like that.”

The cow tilted her head, a bit blase.  “Well, in my experience making love to humans has been both good and bad at times.”

“What???”

“I find that some humans are careful to suck my udders very gently.  They care about my feelings and my satisfaction as much as their own.  But some bovine friends of mine have been repeatedly raped by factory farmers.”

“Oh my God!  That’s gross.”

“Well, what do you think you’re doing when you milk us?” the cow asked sarcastically.  “If we started kidnapping your wives and mothers and daughters and hooked them to a machine that sucked their breast milk out?  Sometimes we are aroused and sometimes we orgasm.  Sometimes we just want the farmer to hurry up and get it over with.”

“I’m kind of grossed out.”

“Grossed out?” The Cock replied defiantly.  “You humans still argue about stem cell research and yet you think nothing of using our young chick miscarriages for your products.  Why, as many eggs as you consume in a week, with cakes, ice cream and burritos, you people are almost as much chicken as you are human.”

“That’s…also disturbing.  It’s making me think twice about drinking milk and eating eggs.”

“Are you aware of what is actually in milk?” the cow asked.  “When you drink milk you are drinking small fractions of blood, puss, feces, bacteria and viruses.”  So making love to us is the least of what you are doing.  You are actually taking us into your body.  Our genes, our essence, our souls, become part of your own.”

The cow sighed, thinking back to the past.

“I am an organic cow, so I have lived a somewhat calm life.  My dear sister was sold into factory farming.  There was nothing I could do to stop them from taking her.  Word gets around…I found out a few years ago that she caught mastitis from the milking machines they put on her.  She was inseminated just a few years after she became of calf-rearing age.  She only made it to the age of five.  They sucked her dry, wore her out and then sent her to slaughter.  By the time she went down, she couldn’t even stand on her feet.  She could have easily lived over twenty more years if only she had my luck.”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Mitchell said politely.

“Yes, I am too,” the cow said.  “I live on an organic farm and I’ve had a better life than some of my sisters.  It’s not great…I was taken from my mother and fed by a nurse cow.  I’ve known a few friends that have outlived their usefulness and who went to the slaughter.  But let’s face it…we animals haven’t really been ‘free’ in a long time.”

“Come to think of it, a lot of female humans I know do nothing in life except give birth to babies.  So they are involved in what you might call voluntary baby factories.”

“We all must co-exist,” the pig remarked evenly.  “All of us must come together to produce an economically viable community made of both animals and mankind.  If not, then we are a burden on society.  I have always believed that an animal should contribute something to the world.  Even the bees contribute their labor and their regurgitation, for the betterment of our world.”

“Regurgitation?”

“Well, of course.  Don’t you know what honey is?  It’s a combination of pollen and bee spit, vomited up several times by different bees.”

“Wow.  That’s…so yummy.”

The pig continued, looking quite focused.  “You see Mitchell, we animals all believe in pulling our own weight.  Whenever we discern that some of our own are lagging behind, we force them to become useful in some way.  Why, some wild boar cousins of mine have eaten some of their own, the ones that became too much trouble to keep around.”

“Are you suggesting that we humans should eat our own kind…if they’re on welfare and not making any money for the rest of us?  Why that’s so unfair!  (Thinks about it…)  …Er…no, it’s unfair.  Yeah, definitely unfair.  It’s unfair…absolutely unfair.”  (Uncertain)

“The Cock thinks it’s unnatural for you baby-eaters to be kidnapping our eggs and eating our abortions,” the rooster retorted.  “How would you feel if we chickens started attacking your pregnant women?”

“I suppose it is…and I do feel a little bad about the factory farm conditions.  But are you really upset at the fact that we eat eggs?”

“Now, now,” the broad-minded pig objected.  “Don’t take the Cock too seriously.  All he cares about is his own coup.  He doesn’t quite see the bigger picture like we do, Mitchell.  The truth is that there is no such thing as freedom, in your world or ours.  We all eat each other’s excrement.  Even the plants eat your shit.  We all eat each other’s waste.  We violate everything that is sacred, because we must live on.  There is nothing truly natural…”

About factory farmed animals forced to squirt and die

Or organically farmed animals who are gently forced to squirt and die

Or domesticated pets that are castrated and declawed

Or wild animals who run free and are eventually killed by humane societies because of over-crowding

Or wild animals shot by hunters

Or free animals run over by cars

Or hungry animals eaten by other hungry animals

“One way or another, Mitchell, all of us die.  And all of us become product.  Why I believe your own species practices the trading of organs, the transfusions of blood, the spreading of disease, the sharing of contaminated water…and of course there is the small issue of…what you eat in your vegetable plates.”

“No, there’s nothing wrong with organic vegetables!”

“Nothing, except of course petroleum based pesticide, sewage sludge-based fertilizer, herbicide, fungicide, manure, preservatives, bacteria, hormones and antibiotics.  Oh and I did forget one more thing…”

“What’s that?” Mitchell shrieked in anticipation.

“You actually eat microscopic body parts of insects, rodents and everything else under the sun with literally everything you buy from your local grocery store.  Check out what your precious FDA says…

http://www.fda.gov/food/guidancecomplianceregulatoryinformation/guidancedocuments/sanitation/ucm056174.htm

“Your farmers and processors that you trust so much allow anywhere from 10-40% natural contaminants including…”

BUG LARVAE

RODENT HAIR

MOLD

INSECT BODY PARTS

MAMMAL EXCREMENT

ROT

MITES

INSECT EGGS

PARASITES

MILDEW

FOREIGN MATTER (WTF???)

The pig looked over Mitchell’s shoulder, reading some of the FDA’s included ingredients.

“Oh my God,” Mitchell said.  “This means that no matter what I eat, I’m eating something’s dead carcass.”

“Yes,” the pig replied.  “So don’t believe that you’re special just because you’re vegan or vegetarian.  Your choices are not religious, morale or even anti-economic.  You’re simply a niche market.  Commerce is the only true moral in today’s society.”

“Wow.  You sure are a cynical pig.”

“Well, we animals figured out your human logic a long time ago.  We may moo and oink, but we do bother to study you.  We know what makes your world tick.  We know that your so called vegetarian lifestyle and organic agriculture is just a guilt-trip marketing strategy that never actually benefits any living thing, except of course for the alpha males of your species who own the farms.”

“Oh yes,” the cow said.  “The human religion you have called the vegans…they are the most laughable of all the human species.  They worship us, the animals, as they say.  They claim they are herbivorous creatures but they still give their money to meat-eaters.  They still stubbornly earn a living which contributes directly to our plight.”

The turkey had to concur.  “Since these animal rights activists have never actually brought any positive changes to society it’s very apparent that their worship of us benefits only themselves.  The only way to change society is to violently revolt against it.  So we, the so-called inferior species, can either revolt and die against our human masters, or wait for the humans to kill us according to a much more profitable time frame.”

“This is all very depressing,” Mitchell observed.

“We have accepted the reality of the situation, Mitchell,” the turkey said forcefully.  “Regardless of whether you eat meat, avoid meat, avoid milk or avoid living plants, death and murder are unavoidable.  In order to prosper in society, one must accept this and struggle to remain atop the food chain.”

The cow mooed at Mitchell in sympathy.  “Don’t feel bad, Mitchell.  To be honest, if we were in your place we probably wouldn’t left a huff to help you either.”

“I would venture to say,” the pig said, stroking his snout, “That if there were full communication between all of our species, we probably would work out a compromise that would benefit all of our respective economies.  Believing that we could all co-exist in peace without the concept of commodity or trade is just ridiculous.  There must be sacrifices made if we are all to benefit from the world’s goods.”

“I would definitely be open to the idea of giving my milk away for free, if only the humans would stop putting us on their concentration camps,” the cow shuddered.

“I would go so far as to say that we pigs would volunteer some of our own species to be slaughtered by humans, so as long as the elite among us were offered stable trade agreements and above average living conditions.  I can think of ten sows right now that I would rather see dead.”

“Hmm.  What about you, Cock?” Mitchell asked.  “If humans approached you respectfully would you give up some of your eggs for profit?”

“The Cock thinks humans feeding on our abortions is a disgusting act.  Nevertheless, if you offered us ample commodity in return…then those old hens would just have to get used to it.”

“Old hens?  But they are your dear sisters.”

The Cock cackled wildly.  “Only The Cock matters.  Chickens and hens and their disgusting little babies are replaceable.  They are nothing but inferior species.  They live only to appease The Cock.”

The pig nodded.  “So as you can see from our egotistical rooster friend, even if animals and humans increased their lines of communication, this would not necessarily mean the end of exploitation.  It is the nature of man and pig alike to exploit the weak and poor.”

Mitchell hadn’t even accepted the thought before being surprised by a ravenous polar bear.

The bear grinned and eyed Mitchell’s alluring and very attractive young body in greedy anticipation.

“Yikes!  Um, hello Mr. Bear.  I hope that the two of us can meet together and work out a compromise of commodity.”

“Sure we can Mitchell.  You and I could talk it over…in my belly!”

“Now, now.  Let’s be civil, bear,” the pig said in reprimand.

“There’s nothing civil to discuss.  Mitchell tastes sooooo good.  He goes very well with a side of seal, harp and fish eggs.  Yummy, yummy.”

Mitchell hid behind the cow to escape the bear’s drooling mouth.

“Interesting response,” the pig replied.  “Mitchell, do you find it curious that bear seems completely unwilling to negotiate?  This brings up an interesting point.  Even if you could reach some of us animals and convince us to negotiate like mature, sentient beings, there are some species that will never negotiate.  Just as bear here is unreasonable and wants to eat you…”

“I am starving!” the bear cried.  “What I wouldn’t give to taste just a tiny morsel of Mitchell’s flesh.  Have you ever had slightly aged human scalp?  It tastes divine!  Hungry now…eat Mitchell first…ponder deep questions later.”

The pig shook his head in shame.  “You know some of my wild hog ancestors spoke very highly of human delicacy.  They feasted on wounded Confederate soldiers in the Civil War.  My relatives tell me stories about tasting human flesh.  That it is supple and very pungent.  Bear considers himself the intellectual and physical superior to you, Mitchell.  Therefore, who are you to question his judgment?”

“Yes, yes!  I understand…just call him off!”

The pig and turkey shooed the bear away.  “I’ll see you in Alaska, Mitchell,” the bear warned with a vicious smile.  Eat lots of butter and garlic, you taste better that way.”

Mitchell gathered his breath and his wits, alarmed at the ramifications of human-animal trading.  “So let me ask you something, pig and turkey.  What can I do to make peace with the animals?  Stay vegetarian?  Become vegan?”

The pig chided him.  “You must make peace with your own heart.  Do not live for the benefit of us, because we certainly don’t give a damn about you.  Until this great trade agreement happens, we are separated by worlds, forced to play until the resounding conclusion to this game of life.  Just remember that in nature you always are what you eat.  You become what you devour.  So let’s hope you eat with pride.”

The turkey concluded, “You know what I think?  I think if humans had the guts to fight me one on one rather than relying on their guns and knives, they would probably do away with Turkey Day all together.  I can be one mean bird when it’s a fair fight.”

“Hmmm…I get it now.  But there’s just one thing that bothers me about the veganism argument.  If I am supposed to do the right thing, and stop stealing product from animals then that would mean I would have to rely on manmade chemical products for vitamin and nutrient supplementation.  I would be relying on the pharmaceutical industry for Vitamin B, Vitamin D, calcium, iodine, omega 3 fatty acids, iron and B-12 and choline.  As for my taste buds?  I would be relying on chemically-based substitute products, hydrogenated non-foods, processed foods, and a whole diet of diary free, sugar-free, whey-free, casein-free, honey-free and food-free food.  So the question is…do I trust the animals or do I trust man?”

The animals scoffed.

“Why you would ever trust man is beyond us!” the pig exclaimed.

“That’s the first law of the jungle.  Never trust anything man says, does or makes,” the turkey added.

The animals faded away and Mitchell found himself in front of the basted turkey, being watched by his relatives.

“You know what?” Mitchell said to his perplexed family.  “I don’t think I’ll be having any turkey this year.  Or any year.”

“WHAAAA?” Mitchell’s relatives said in unison.

“It just occurred to me.  I’ve been wrestling with my decision to be vegan or vegetarian for quite some time now.  I think the pig and turkey are right.”

Mitchell’s family looked on in confusion.

“Even the cock had a good point.”

Mitchell’s relatives scratched their heads.

“I can’t presume to know how animals feel.  I can only judge them by their actions, whatever they allow me to see.  I understand that there is a great communication barrier between the species.  I also know that we humans will never truly understand what an animal is thinking, when it gives us its milk or when we dismember it and gnaw on its parts.”

“I think Mitchell is out of his medication.”

“Oh dear me!” one of Mitchell’s cousin shrieked in horror, hugging someone close to her.

“But above all else, I am against injustice, whether it is in the human world or the animal world!  The very least we owe our animal brothers is to allow them the chance to die with dignity and with a fighting chance for survival.  In the end, it is the way I would want to die.”

“This speech is shocking!” one relative screamed.

Mitchell ignored the protests and left the dinner table.  He ventured over to the couch where he chomped on some baby spinach leaves.

Suddenly he heard a voice.

“You insensitive bastard!” yelled a nearby spinach plant.

The Late Mitchell Warren is a freelance writer, Internet entrepreneur and novelist.  His upcoming book “Raining Cats and Dogs”, an anthropomorphic morality fable in the spirit of Animal Farm and The Brothers Karamazov, will debut exclusively at Subversify Magazine.