Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I'm back....


After getting this article from my dear M.T., I've decided to go back to over to the cause. What, after all, is the rationale we progressives have for continuing to eat meat? I eagerly await comments--will anyone, I wonder, say something convincing enough to keep me eating the proverbial "chicken nugget"?

8 comments:

Nancy D., Girl Detective said...

I'm a veg myself, but there is one point in that article I would take issue with, which is that some people believe that switching cattle from corn feed to grass food would actually be good for the environment, not just a lesser evil. It would mean reclaiming prairieland in the midwest, with cows and their glorious grass-digesting stomachs doing all the fertilizing naturally.

Betty & Bimbo said...

Nancy D., could you elaborate a bit? I'm no expert, and all I know about grass vs. corn feeding is what I JUST READ YESTERDAT by Michael Pollan on the subject in The Omnivore's Dilemma. Pollan thinks that grass feeding, when done carefully so that the cows are herded around to different patches of grass and don't destroy the land by pulling up the roots, is better for the environment, our health, and the cows themselves. Of course, this is difficult to implement on a large scale.

obamarama said...

Obamarama, a life-long meat eater, is seriously considering a switch to the other side.

betty said...

Congratulations on taking this step, Obamarama. I knew that if anyone could convince you, Robert Parish could. : )

It's so fun to be vegetarian because I think it opens you up to lots of new foods and tastes-- while of course keeping you totally into old favorites like veggie-ful pizza, bagels, pasta, and Indian food.

This article is great. The only trouble is that it doesn't acknowledge how hard it can be to connect what's going on in the world to what's going on in one's individual life. I think that is a hurdle that many people find difficult to leap. In this way, eating meat is usually experienced differently than slavery and other kinds of cruelty, because one's day to day connection to it the environmental, labor, and animal violence behind meat is rarely direct. The cognitive gap is there, and can be hard to cross.

Nancy D., Girl Detective said...

Well, as you can imagine, my thinking on this was influenced by MP as well. His point is that cows and grass have a wonderful symbiotic relationship, and if done correctly, you could sustainably set up a large-scale return to grass-fed cattle. (Of course, it would be more expensive and people would have to eat less beef, but Americans eat way too much anyway.) The upside would be a reduction in pollution: no more pools of rotting, E. coli-infested cow shit, no need for antibiotics because cows aren't crammed together in pens and they are eating their natural diet, no dependence on industrial corn to feed them (which has huge pollution problems of its own). Plus, you could restore a lot of prairie land, as long as you kept the ratio of cows to prairie at the right level. If you consider restoring prairie land an environmental good, supporting a grass-fed cattle industry is one of the only economically sound ways this could be done (providing a financial incentive to landowners to change the way they use their land).

M. Nicolas said...

Does a veggie diet make you skinnier? I would switch if it wasn't for all those yummy food that include animal protein...

An "asado", anyone?

Betty & Bimbo said...

M. Nicholas, I've eaten veggie at asados!

Of course I am in favor of everything this article says, but I also accept that not everyone in the world is going to stop eating meat, just as everyone in the world is not a progressive. Given thse elements of a harsh reality, we should focus our energies not so much on vegetarianism per se (although that might be our personal reason) and rather on strategic campaigns to close or improve conditions in the worst place, like Smithfield (which is mentioned in the article). Strategic boycotts and highly visible actions speak louder (in economic terms) than trying to make everyone into a total vegetarian. There are so many consumables out there besides meat that are horrible, and we can only comnbat a few of the worst ones at a time to make any real progress on behalf of workers, animals, the environment, et. al. In other words, Magwitch, don't eat chicken Mcnuggets, because McDonald's is a horrible company that EVERYONE even meat lovers, should boycott. I love animals and personally think killing animals is wrong, but I'd rather you ate an organic nugget from a happy farm than that you bought some lettuce at Wal-Mart. I hope this makes some kind of sense.

venus infers said...

i'm also a veggie! but of course, adolph was a veggie too.