A new relationship with animals, nature and each other.

Cows on Carousels with Music from "Chariots of Fire"

It has something of the feel of Stanley Kubrick’s movie 2001 with the passengers on their ultra-pasteurized vessel and the Blue Danube Waltz playing in the background.

In this case, we have cows at a factory farm in China, all aboard a series of carousels slowly turning as they milk the cows, and with the music from Chariots of Fire playing in the background to calm the four-legged passengers.

It’s so bizarre, you have to see it to believe it. So here it is, from the PBS NewsHour last Tuesday, November 13th. The whole clip runs more than 10 minutes. If you want to go straight to the carousel cows, skip to around the 2-minute mark.

But it’s worth watching the whole thing, or reading the transcript, to get an idea of this “brave new world” as China’s next generation takes on the challenge of feeding one fifth of the world’s human population. For example, according to PBS:

  • Pigs live in small individual cages in enclosed buildings. Visitors are only allowed to view them on remote video screens to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Keeping those pigs fed is causing the water table around the factory farms to plummet. A local farmer says he now has to dig 1,600 feet down to find any water.
  • In some lakes, if the polluted water from a factory farm touches your skin, it burns you and you immediately get a rash and an infection.
  • The chemical clenbuterol is often added to the animal feed to make the pork leaner. And people eating that pork are now having heart attacks and dying.

Mindy Schneider, a professor from Cornell University explains that eating meat isn’t just about the food value:

Now that many people who have the income to do so can buy meat every day if they want to, there’s this idea that they’re eating meat in revenge. And it’s the revenge against the past of sort of poverty and scarcity and what felt like struggle. And it symbolizes progression.

We can only wonder: Progression into what exactly?