The dull introduction doesn’t prepare a listener for the gruesome depiction of animal slaughter in the lyrics. No doubt this song has converted many a carnivore to vegetarianism.
Alternative rockers The Smiths closed their 1985 album of the same name describing singer Morrisey’s passion for animal rights. It’s not settled, however, that animals do have rights. Critics of animal rights suggest that animals can’t enter into any kind of a social contract to set themselves up for such immunity from the food chain. We can’t ask them if they understand what animal rights activists want for them. Too, would rights for animals put them on the same level as humans? Perhaps such a case could be made for advanced primates, but not cute little geckos. Besides, we humans don’t treat each other so well, often. So, who is to say life would be better for animals if they could have some sort of constitutional protections?
For The Smiths, an animal killed for food is murder. That’s that. The song appears to call for no discussion or middle ground, which is the practical way humans have been dealing with animals. This includes attempting to minimize suffering at the slaughterhouse as some sort of a reasonable compromise to maintain our food supply. No doubt improvements need to be made here, and we can turn to The Smiths for advice.