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Hypocrisy in thought – and deed.

I read Richard King’s recent article with interest, with anger and, unfortunately, and with a growing sense of déjà vu.   With interest because of the description of how the English language can be used to describe the same thing in two completely different ways; one which can be brutally accurate and the other which is used to hide the discomforting reality of  our industrial food system.  Whilst few could fail to be shocked and outraged at the scenes recorded in the NSW abattoir, it is likely that the degree of attention paid to this instance will be commensurate with the assuredness with which we are told that it is an isolated incident.  The majority of people will be comforted by these assurances and their eating and buying practices will go back to normal pretty quickly.

With anger because of the description of the treatment of animals in the NSW abattoir who look to us for care and respect.  We have a responsibility to our fellow human beings, to animals and to our shared environment, but all too often we find a greater responsibility to the pursuit of profit.  This pursuit of profit often leads to acts of exploitation of people, animals and our planet which most people find unacceptable – but only when they find out.  As long as it happens behind closed doors rather than behind glass walls, life can go on.

And finally, with a sense of déjà vu because no matter how many times these ‘one offs’ are exposed and the outrage builds, day in and day out those who are outraged allow their money to finance these abuses.  Their investments, savings and Superfunds may well be invested in the shares of companies exploiting people, animals and our planet.  Perhaps we either need to open the closed doors of the world of finance, or perhaps force investment institutions to operate behind glass walls.  If this were to happen, I think the majority of investment institutions, or rather the majority of those who manage money, might feel a little uncomfortable about some of the shares they hold and the practices they are financing.

Is it hypocrisy to be outraged and upset about the treatment of animals and then invest one’s money in companies who are party to the outrages?  One could argue that as the majority of those who save and invest have no idea that they might be financing terrible things, they are hardly being hypocritical if it is being done in ignorance.  Personally, I’d argue that the “we didn’t know it was going on” excuse never stacks up; history gives us many examples of why we shouldn’t tolerate such excuses.

Richard’s article can be found at:


4 responses to “Hypocrisy”

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