soju at lunch. Not a lot of Korean bosses offer you alcohol at daylight, and especially during office hours.
Anyhow, I am getting a reputation as a brilliant researcher, which unfortunately means that I’m inundated with way too much additional work. My main task is to list 150 different species of animals that can be filmed, their main characteristics and routines, the monitoring organizations, the local maps, etc. (all in 3 months) But since I’m the only person fluent in English, I get stuck with a lot of other people’s tasks, like extra research, making international phone calls, writing letters... I’m literally doing three people’s workload, and I’m already concerned whether I can finish everything in time.
I get paid slightly less than the place I worked before, but hell, I’m working for the media! Besides, it’s fun to roam around the staff-only sections of the building while fanatic teenagers camp outside. It’s a shame I don’t watch TV, as I don’t recognize most of the celebrities I see. Nonetheless, so far, I’m completely in love with my new job.
Last week, I was pretty grossed out researching animal welfare in the States. I swear, when I go back, I’ll be a fucking vegetarian. I’m not that much of a humanitarian and definitely not a supporter of animal rights; I love my steaks, sashimi, pork chops, burger king... and pretty much don’t care what I need to sacrifice in order to satiate my stomach. In spite of all this, I was utterly grossed out by all the gory details. Thank god I’m not a big fan of dairy products or eggs. Well, here are some delicious facts for you meat/dairy/egg lovers out there:
1. The hens are genetically engineered to lay as many eggs as physically possible. Unfortunately, that means they’re born with a fairly small body and not much flesh. Consequently, the male chicks are deemed to have almost no economic value, and are thrown into the trash as soon as they’re born. They end up dying from suffocation or the intense weight of their brothers. The more unfortunate chicks are thrown into the grinder alive and conscious. Most of their skulls remain intact, which means they are conscious while watching their bodies ground up into pieces and splattered on the field.
2. The hens that no longer produce eggs are thrown into a dark room for 18 days, without food or water. The stress forces them to molt so that they can repeat yet another torturous cycle of being crammed in a tiny cage with barely enough space to move. Afterwards, when these chicks become useless, they are thrown into the wood-chipping machine by lots.
3. The geese raised for the delicacy, Foie Gras, are crammed in a cage that is literally exactly their size. Since any living creatures can’t possibly stay still all the time, they get wounded from the abrasions against the wire cages. The rats take advantage of this situation and eat them partially or wholly, depending on their appetite. The ones that survive face another day of intentional force feeding, where a metal shoot is forced down their throats to stuff it with corn.
4. The dairy cows are forced to have a child continuously, forced to be pregnant for most of their adulthood. With the recent scientific advances, they can milk 7 months out of 9 months of their pregnancy. Most of the cows have mastitis, an infection in their udder
5. The calves are forced to separate from their mothers at birth. If they’re lucky, they stay alive for a few more months until they are sent to the slaughter house. Others get fed with food that intentionally lack iron (to force anemia – for the valued pale flesh) and get sent away as veal in a few days or weeks. If the calf is a female, she will follow her mother’s path.
6. Cows and pigs are forced into small stalls which are barely enough for them to fit in, Most of them have heart problems from overeating and lack of exercise. A good number of them are unable to stand – and become “downed cows.” When they are sent to the slaughterhouse, they are beaten, pushed, pulled, or even forced with bulldozers.
7. The majority of the animals at the slaughterhouse are conscious during the whole process, because the owners are afraid that too much electricity might ruin the meat value. They are fully conscious and try to resist, as their tails and feet are cut off, bowels are torn out, and bodies are skinned.
There is a great deal more, but I’m too grossed out to continue or to post any of the interesting pictures. In any case, Bon appetite!
This week, I’m investigating the desertification, droughts, and famines in Africa – which is less gruesome but equally brutal. Even so, I have to say I’m relieved too see less blood.
I’ve been insanely busy of late, which explains the lack of posts. I found a new job at KBS (the largest broadcasting station in Korea) as a research assistant of a documentary program, Environment Special. They’re rather lenient with the time (I just need to get there by 10, and leave any time after 6, depending on the workload PLUS flexible lunch time! ALSO, - I can tell them when I want to take a day off, and I have it! ), work (Independent research, taking as much time and resource as I want), and clothing (All my summer clothes are way too ‘revealing’ for other Korean corporations, so I’m quite pleased). We have a relatively free atmosphere, and everyone is extremely social and fun. I was fairly surprised when my superiors offered me