Al-Qaeda, factory farming and the paradox of (in)visibility

I love this video on factory farming because it starts so innocently – the marketing person is taking full responsibility for the way consumers are tricked into thinking the way we produce food is ok, even quaint. But then trick number three turns the table and places the blame squarely on her audience, the consumer:

The video reminds we of a great article by Schoeneborn and Scherer (2012) about al-Qaeda, exploring invisibility in clandestine organizations. But because the targets in these two situations are very different, we get very different outcomes, using the same insight. With al-Qaeda, we are the target, so the extreme invisibility of its governance structure and operations, and the extreme visibility of its ‘products’ leads to a society of fear and insane military budgets. In factory farming, we are not the target. So the same invisibility of the governance and operations, and visibility of its ‘products’ leads to “willful ignorance” in the face of massive, systematic cruelty.

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