Monday, November 2, 2009

A NYTimes Look at "Eating Animals"

I just finished reading this book, "Eating Animals", by Jonathan Safran Foer a few days ago. I really enjoyed Foer's style and the hard questions he asks himself and others about our connections with the animals we live with and that animals that are brought into this world to be eaten. There is enough humor, modesty and self discovery here to keep it real.
The New York Times has a nice little review of the book, AND a cute picture of a Boston Terrier !

Sunday, November 1, 2009

World Vegan Day

Today, November 1st, has been declared World Vegan Day by the venerable Vegan Society of the UK. The term "vegan" was even coined there. Here's a quote, lifted right off the Vegan Society's website :

The Vegan Society, the world's first, was born in November 1944 - after a lengthy gestation. As early as 1909 the ethics of consuming dairy products were hotly debated within the vegetarian movement. In August 1944, Elsie Shrigley and Donald Watson (a conscientious objector later to be acclaimed as the Vegan Society's Founder) agreed the desirability of coordinating 'non-dairy vegetarians'; despite opposition from prominent vegetarians unwilling to even consider adopting a diet free of all animal products.

In November, Donald organised a London meeting of six like-minded 'non-dairy vegetarians' at which it was decided to form a new society and adopt a new name to describe themselves - vegan derived from VEGetariAN.

It was a Sunday, with sunshine, and a blue sky, an auspicious day for the birth of an idealistic new movement.

And so was today ! Here in Northern Virginia, it started out rainy and cold but the clouds moved off and it warmed up enough to enjoy the sunshine and the last of the Fall leaves, glorious on the rain-darkened tree trunks and limbs.

However, a cloud was cast yesterday when Nicolette Hahn-Niman authored an essay in the NY Times. She's muddied the waters with her particular form of moral schizophrenia that allows abstinence from eating the very animals she raises and sells for premium dollars in niche markets. She explains this dichotomy to Jonathan Safran Foer in his wonderfully written new book Eating Animals, " I feel I can make a choice and I don't want it on my conscience . But that's because of my personal connection with animals. It would bother me...I think because I know it's not necessary. "
Huh. Not necessary. But doesn't that kind of make all pain and suffering the animals must endure, in making a profit for her, her responsibility ...? In the NY Times essay she delivers this cloudy bit of self-serving logic:

To a rancher like me, who raises cattle, goats and turkeys the traditional way (on grass), the studies show only that the prevailing methods of producing meat — that is, crowding animals together in factory farms, storing their waste in giant lagoons and cutting down forests to grow crops to feed them — cause substantial greenhouse gases. It could be, in fact, that a conscientious meat eater may have a more environmentally friendly diet than your average vegetarian.

Come on...why not promote a vegan diet, that we know for sure is much more environmentally friendly than the "average vegetarian" diet, or "conscientious carnivore" diet and leaves the needless suffering of billions of farmed animals behind ?
Let the sun shine for all, especially for those who have no say in how they may be brought into and used in this world to make a buck.