I got some junk mail the other day from Pizza Nova, and I have a huge beef with their use of carnist language to invisibilize the cruelty of agribusiness. The company claims on their website that, “our pepperoni is now made without the use of antibiotics or hormones. […] it’s made from a mix of beef and pork that’s Canadian-raised and vegetable grain-fed.”
Except that the pepperoni wasn’t “made”; it was raised and then slaughtered. It doesn’t come from “beef” or “pork,” but cow and pig flesh. Words such as “pepperoni,” “beef,” “pork” and even “meat” are used by the food industry in the place of “animal flesh” to keep the ethical issue of eating animals out of people’s minds. “Animal flesh” does not induce our hunger, but “meat” does. It’s the rhetoric used by the exploitative system of animal agriculture to ensure our complacency in something we would never participate in, if we ever gave it a second thought. Their job is to keep us from thinking. The copywriter knew what he or she was doing by using this kind of language, because the meat industry is in the business of making sure that we never think about what we are participating in and funding with our own hard-earned dollars.
Pepperoni is not just another topping like olives or green peppers, because it came from a loving, breathing, feeling animal. It wasn’t “made” or “grown,” but raised. It wasn’t watered; it was fed. I refuse to eat anyone that once had a mouth of his or her own.
Pizza Nova clearly cares a lot about giving customers what they want, as evidenced by the gimmicky options they have available such as gluten-free crusts made with “100% purified water.” The company obviously isn’t afraid to accommodate the next dieting fad. I just wish that fad was vegetarianism, because well-raised, well-fed, ethical “beef” and “pork” is a myth.
But Pizza Nova isn’t entirely to blame, because they’re just trying to sell products where there’s a market. They even introduced a vegan cheese option just last year. Ultimately, it is up to us, the consumers, to tell food companies what we want. We are the ones who buy their products, and we’re the ones who have the power.