Saturday, March 1, 2014

The Sinclair Effect


I think how we treat our animals reflects how we treat each other.
- Barack Obama

In fact, how we treat our animals affects how we treat each other.

At the turn of the 20th century, Upton Sinclair exposed the devastating work conditions and living environments of those who toiled in Chicago’s stockyard slaughterhouses. In The Jungle he made a connection between the numerous after-work fights instigated by slaughterhouse workers and the killing and dismembering of animals all day at work.

This is from the introduction to Slaughterhouses and Increased Crime Rates – An Empirical Analysis of the Spillover From “The Jungle” Into the Surrounding Community by Amy J. Fitzgerald from the University of Windsor and Linda Kalof and Thomas Dietz from Michigan State University (Organization & Environment, 2009 v. 20).

Their study concludes,

The findings indicate that slaughterhouse employment increases total arrest rates, arrests for violent crimes, arrests for rape, and arrests for other sex offenses in comparison with other industries. This suggests the existence of a Sinclair effect unique to the violent workplace of the slaughterhouse, a factor that has not previously been examined in the sociology of violence.

Albert Einstein had a suggestion:

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us 'Universe,' a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest. A kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.

and

If a man aspires towards a righteous life, his first act of abstinence is from injury to animals.

Others have written in a similar vein.

We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals.
- Immanuel Kant

The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.
- Gandhi

Until he extends the circle of his compassion to all living things, man will not himself find peace.
- Albert Schweitzer

As long as people will shed the blood of innocent creatures there can be no peace, no liberty, no harmony between people. Slaughter and justice cannot dwell together.
- Isaac Bashevis Singer

But slaughter and beauty do dwell together, among us.






I expect to pass through this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness or abilities that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
- William Penn




8 comments:

  1. Wow. When logic and emotion are presented site by side like this, it's powerful. Enjoyed this post - thank you.

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  2. I see so many interesting correlations here! How we treat each other (and animals) is a reflection of how we feel about ourselves... Seeking external power *over* rather than authentic power... Training young people to kill, sending them to war, some returning as murderers, killing their wives, or others and we wonder what went wrong... Parents being violent with their children both physically and emotionally, breeding violence behind closed doors - domestic violence... We learn to treat others the way we have been treated... And then there's the children who are left home alone to watch violent TV and computer games... It seems there is no end in "the matrix" - where so many are "disconnected" from the "Source" of the Universe...

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    1. Hi Christine - I like how you call it the matrix - tug on anything and everything else jiggles.

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  3. Thanks yet again for shining a light into a very dark place. The juxtaposition of the elegant and dignifying orchestra against the ugly bitterness of the gestation crate is almost too hard to grasp. And once you know that the other side exists it's even more impossible to separate the unconscionable from the "civilized". It's such a thin veneer in between the two. More light on this truth helps. I'm grateful for it.

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    1. Thanks, Bea. The veneer is indeed thin. So many reminders of the dark places waiting for light.

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  4. I've not been here for a while, David - things have been tough. I visit and I'm blown open by your willingness to engage with these things. We SO need to speak and keep speaking of them. Thank you for your courage, your heart (coeurage) and your compassion. With love - Roselle

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  5. Thanks for you kind comments, Roselle. It seems I haven't been here for a while either :/ Love back.

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