Monday, February 24, 2003

Have you ever noticed how many different kinds of euphemisms we use to talk about the animals that we eat? It’s creepy. For example, there are a bunch of special words for groups of animals that are destined to be food. These words make them sound more like substances than like animals. For example, when someone talks about a chicken, you picture a chubby white bird with a beak and a red thing on it’s head. But “poultry”? Might as well just call them McNuggets.

A cow is a big rectangular animal with brown spots that gives milk. But “cattle” are steaks on legs.

We don’t seem to have words like that for dogs and cats and parakeets. Because they are individuals? Is it easier to treat food-type animals badly if we talk about them like they are already meat?

Another question: How come we call chicken meat what it actually is (Chicken. Wings. Thighs. Breasts.), but we call cow parts and pig parts and sheep parts by all kinds of wierd names? Such as beef. Steak. Pork. Bacon. Mutton. How come we call lamb “lamb”, but we call baby cow “veal”?

Do they do this in other languages too?

What does it mean?


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