New slant on chump chops

Bruce Friedrich Brucef at
Sat May 17 20:30:11 EDT 2003
Cambridge Daily News, March 29, 2002:

New slant on chump chops
ALONG with details of breed, nationality, and how the animal was fed, we
may soon have to seek an extra bit of information printed on supermarket
meat packs: IQ.
More and more people teetering on the edge of vegetarianism need to know
how brainy was the beast they are about to eat. They may shun a really
clever cow while devouring a dim hen.
But pigs are the real problem. A Cambridge professor did nothing this
week to encourage timid carnivores.
The actress Cameron Diaz, in one of those statements we have come to
expect from show business thinkers, declared she had given up bacon
after someone told her pigs had the same mental capacity as a
three-year-old human being. "Eating bacon would be like eating my
niece," was her pithy way of putting it.
But she could have said something rasher, if you will forgive my own
pithy way of putting it. For, as Prof Donald Broom of Cambridge
University Veterinary School pointed out, pigs are smarter than kids.
"They have the cognitive ability to be quite sophisticated. Even more so
than dogs and certainly three-year-olds."
So, eating one's niece could be a relatively civilised activity compared
with crunching a nice slice of loin crackling. Although, here I must
caution against generalising. Some nieces, and indeed some pigs, are
more stupid than others.
For really effective butchery labelling we may need each sacrificial
animal to sit an examination before slaughter. 
The knowledge that failure to get, say, at least 80 per cent in a
multiple-choice cognitive reasoning test would sharpen the wits of a
sluggish sheep and possibly lead to fowl play among the poultry. 
Strict invigilation would be essential if the IQ quoted on the shrink
pack were to be any help at all in deciding what's for supper.
Whatever the outcome of all this, Prof Broom's words have made is
impossible for us ever again to read with an easy mind those words on a
steak: "cut thick."

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