Philosophy   > Osama bin Laden on Meat


from Editorial by Merritt Clifton, Animal People, October 2001


It was no radical animal rights activist or militant vegan whose recently disclosed words linked the events of September 11 to the phrase "Meat is Murder!"


Rather, the fate of the thousand of people who were murdered aboard four hijacked airliners, at the World Trade Center, and at the Pentagon appears to have been inseparably linked to meat by Osama vin Laden himself, the mastermind and financier of the attacks, in his handwritten final orders to the 19 hijackers.


Copies of the four-page letter were found in the misdirected luggage, the wreckage of United Airlines flight 93, and a car parked at Dulles International Airport in Washington D.C.


"You must make your knife sharp, and you must not discomfort your animal during the slaughter," bin Laden commanded, depicting slashing the throats of flight attendants, passengers, and pilots like killing sheep and goats at Ramadan. "If you slaughter," bin Laden emphasized later in the letter, reinforcing "do not cause discomfort of those you are killing."


That terrorists might slash the throats of some jet riders to intimidate others, without causing them discomfort, en route to murder thousands, is self-evidently preposterous. Yet bin Laden obviously did manage to convince the hijackers that their deeds would have no more negative moral consequence than killing animals for meat.


Many and perhaps most of the nine billion animals sent to slaughter in the U.S. each year, as well as the billions killed abroad, have at least as long to sense doom as did the September 11 victims. Neither are the animals' cries as unlike the cell phone calls made by some September 11 victims as the typical meat-eater would like to believe.


Equally disturbing to meat-eaters might be awareness that doomed animals, too, often put up frantic resistance, like the passengers who tried to retake United Airlines flight 93, saving countless lives by causing the hijackers to crash the plane far from any target.


It is much easier to see the link between violence against animals and the violence against people in the behavior of psychopaths than in the much denied and disguised behavior of ordinary people doing ordinary things in daily life.


The violence countenanced by normal people for normal reasons too often differs from the mayhem of psychopaths chiefly in the degrees of disassociation and denial that are involved.


Our deepest denial involves human consumption of animals. The horror of September 11 was a reflection of human attitudes toward meat.


You don't have to take our word for it.


Take the words of Osama bin Laden