Is it ethical to use pig fat to power motor-cars?

Our ethical columnist on a dangerous and speciesist alternative to oil.

Ethan Greenhart

Topics Politics

Dear Ethan,

I let out a little cheer this week when I read that an American oil company and a meat manufacturer have found a way to turn animal fat into diesel for cars. At last, I thought, we can wean ourselves off our addiction to dirty, war-causing, smog-producing oil! But, Ethan, is it ethical to use animal fat to power motor-cars? Please tell me if I cheered out of turn….

Harold Morley
West London

Dear Harold,

You most certainly did cheer out of turn. What on Gaia’s good earth were you thinking of when you applauded the further enslavement of animals and the exploitation of their bodily fluids and residue just so the likes of eco-criminal Jeremy Clarkson and other ‘lads’ (an acronym for ‘lazy and dangerous scum’, perhaps?) can do 200 miles per hour on an A-road?!

What many have referred to as a ‘breakthrough’ in the use of animal fat is for our furry and cloven-hoofed friends Just Another Holocaust.

Of course you are right that oil is filthy and dangerous. In terms of war and terrorism, our addiction to oil has cost many millions of lives. When people ask ‘Why did terrorists slaughter 3,000 people on 9/11?’ I always reply: ‘Oil!’ Indeed, I find that that one word is a useful – and correct – answer to SO many questions these days. ‘Why did America invade Iraq?’ ‘Oil!’ ‘What will be the cause of mankind’s destruction?’ ‘Oil!’ ‘Why do houses burn down?’ ‘[Chip] oil!’

A Martian who landed here today would think humanity was stir crazy (which of course it is) – we rely on, spend a fortune on and fight over a sticky, sickly substance that kills us! It kills us in car crashes (powered by oil), in wars (fought over oil), and in terrorism (caused by oil).

As my good friends in the American environmentalist group The Detroit Project put it: if you drive a big car that guzzles up a lot of oil, then YOU ARE A KILLER. Pure and simple. I loved their ad that showed a 4×4 driver saying: ‘I helped hijack an airplane. I helped blow up a nightclub. I gave money to a terrorist training camp.’ Yes sir, you did. It’s such a simple theory (as in easy to understand, not as in simpleton!): drivers’ need for oil sustains Western intervention in the Middle East which antagonises the people who live there which forces them to become terrorists and then they end up attacking us.

Forget butterflies flapping their wings and causing hurricanes. When you fill your car with petrol in London it causes a nightclub to explode in Karachi. Just think about that.

So why don’t I welcome the replacement of oil with animal fat? Because using animals to help us drive to supermarkets or pubs or drunken parties just about sums up human arrogance. We think animals are ours to ‘utilise’. We eat them, wear them, gawp at them in cages, and now we will strip the fat from their bodies, pump it into cars and burn them alive as we zoom around town.

Please, Harold, tell me what the difference is between using dead animal blubber to power cars and the Nazis’ use of the skin of death-camp victims to make lampshades? That stumped you, didn’t it? We have become so speciesist that we think it is a-okay to stick reconstituted and chemicalised animal fat into our cars, but we balk at the idea of melting down humans.

Well, guess what? Animals have feelings, too. And that includes pigs, perhaps the most disrespected and disregarded sentient being that exists. It pains me when I hear humans using ‘pig!’ as an insult, as if there is something shameful about being a pig. We call fat people ‘pigs’, but pigs don’t sit in McDonald’s all day wolfing down Big Macs, do they? (Sorry wolves, but ‘wolfing’ was the only word I could think of there.) We call capitalists and policemen ‘pigs!’ – but when did you EVER hear of a pig exploiting his fellow pig or punching a 19-year-old pig at the back entrance to a piggy nightclub just because she was drunk and a chav?

My friend Joe, an organic farmer, has a pig called Dubya, and I know from ‘talking’ to Dubya that pigs are beautiful, peaceful and courteous creatures. They’re certainly better behaved than us. I bet that in pig language they use ‘human!’ as an insult! Ha ha. We deserve it.

But Harold, there is another reason why I’m upset by this discovery about animal fat. I know many people fear the End of Oil, our own ‘End of Days’, when the black stuff will dry up. But there will be positive spin-offs after the Earth vomits up its last drop of oil. We will be FORCED to drive less, to have less power and energy, to live more frugally; in the long run population numbers will fall, both in post-oil wars and as a result of there being less food production and food transportation; we will be humbled, we will come to our senses. Now, the discovery that animal fat can generate power will push this Day of Enlightenment further into the future.

There are so many sensible, cheap and ethical ways to live without oil and without chopping up a pig and sucking his fat out with a plastic (ie, toxic) tube. Instead of driving a car, ride a bike (but bear in mind my earlier warnings about the secret toxic dangers of bike-riding – make sure you get one with ethical tyres). Don’t fly in planes (that goes without saying, doesn’t it?) but travel on non-oiled trains instead. And of course you should never use soap or feed your pets with manufactured pet food – both of these products ALREADY contain lashings of executed animals’ fat. Instead wash with the natural oily secretions from leaves (trees replenish themselves easily and painlessly) and feed your pet cat or dog nuts and berries (their poo will stink, but at least you haven’t forced them to become cross-species cannibals!)

Harold, let us be an example to the world and break our own addictions to oil – others will follow.

Ethan Greenhart is here to answer all your questions about ethical living in the twenty-first century. Email him at {encode=”” title=””}. Read his earlier columns here.

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Topics Politics


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