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Steve-O on vegetarianism and the emotions of farm animals

February 21, 2013|By Betty Hallock
  • Steve-O is the narrator of one of Farm Sanctuary's latest videos.
Steve-O is the narrator of one of Farm Sanctuary's latest videos. (SteveO.com )

Stunt artiste Steve-O, of MTV hit "Jackass" fame, performed recently not in a new "Don't Try This at Home" DVD or in the "Dancing With the Stars" television series but in a video promoting vegetarianism produced by animal protection organization Farm Sanctuary.

He's the narrator of "What Came Before: Meet Someone You'll Never Forget," which describes the fate of three animals -- Nikki the pig, Symphony the chicken and Fanny the cow, all of whom escaped slaughter -- and their not-so-lucky counterparts. (Yes, the man who once assaulted himself with a staple gun is a moral vegetarian.)

"It points out that farm animals are emotional individuals who deserve our compassion just as much as cats and dogs," writes Steve-O in a letter emailed to The Times. "There really is no ethical difference between eating a cat or a chicken, a dog or a pig."

Speciesism isn't a new pro-vegetarian argument, and you won't hear sophisticated analysis of animal rights. A montage of dishes featuring meat substitutes and another of celebrity vegetarians don't really push issues about vegetarianism forward either.

Much of the video relies on imagery of pigs being slaughtered and chicks getting the tips of their beaks sliced off. Which is certainly a call for more humane farming practices.

But persuasiveness dissipates with delivery of lines such as: "Fish feel pain and suffer like other animals; they just don't have the vocal chords to scream" (Nor do they have the tear ducts to cry, or do they?) and "They will often rub gently against one another for pleasure just like a cat rubbing against your leg." Meow.

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