Midnight Oil

[Powderworks] NMOC: Was Protesters chip

Kate Parker Adams kate at dnki.net
Thu Sep 30 09:15:45 MDT 2004

I attended a forum on antibiotic resistance last night, sponsored by the
Union of Concerned Scientists.  One general consensus point was that massive
factory farming created unnecessary demand for antibiotics because of the
demand for fast growth and the squalid and unnatural condition in which
animals were kept.  It was also noted that factory farming created and feeds
an unsustainable demand for unrealistically cheep food, and employed far
fewer people per unit of production than comparable family-based operations.
Thus sustainable production of less meat would increase employment, decrease
impact, and lead to a healthier food supply for those who partake.

Of course some trustifarian undergrad just HAD to comment that nobody would
get antibiotic infections if they just stopped eating meat entirely - and
was shot down by one of the panelists because several outbreaks were from
vegetables.  I caught up with her after and had a sharp word with her
because I was a vegetarian when I was nearly killed by one of these
resistant infections (e-mycin, sulfa, cipro didn't work) AND that such
"individual level" solutions as "you get sick because you eat evil things"
arguements were generally the province of right wing republicans and
corporate apologists seeking to devolve health and safety responsibility to
the individual regardless of the source of the risk!

In other words, it is fine and good if you choose not to eat meat, wear
leather, etc. That is your perogative and you can prosletyse to whatever
open ear you find. I tend to make such decisions based on personal belief
for myself and my family.  HOWEVER, such individual-level moral practices
have no place in the formulation of successful public health and
sustainability policy.  They simply do not work because they only address
harm at the person level (protect yourself from external risks) and not the
level of generation (eliminate/reduce the source of the risks for all).
Look at the drug laws, temperance movements, homeland security
shelter-in-place amid unguarded chem facilities, and the like. Problems are
best solved at the level at which they originate.

Personal morality is about you yourself and your values.  Democratic public
policy must be about all of us, and must address the areas of collective
harm or potential harm and not the content of the individual soul.  Rape and
murder are illegal because they cause extreme and demonstrable societal
harm. Meat production is harmful, but it doesn't have to be and then it
comes down to your personal beliefs about eating animals.

Besides, organic farmers use manure to raise their crops.  The farm
ecosystem requires animals at some juncture, and many organic farms turn to
milk and egg production to offset the cost of that animal nitrogen.  It is
extremely difficult, if not impossible, to have an economically viable
organic farm on compost alone.  I'm not sure how that fits into the "no
animals involved" mindset.

My niece was a vegan who owned and operated a vegan restaraunt for a time
until she decided to go to nursing school.  When she was visiting last, she
wore leather trimmed shoes and helped herself to a glass of milk.  I was

Seems that working for and catering to the larger vegan community put her
off the strict vegan diet.  While many vegans seek a better world, many
others degenerate into a "purity of essence" contest that is all about
themselves.  Consequently, they start "movements" around whether a
particular restaraunt used soy cheese from a plant that sometimes uses
rennet when my niece's friends were being detained right and left and
followed by the FBI.  As she put it "there are far more pressing things to
get active about".  I suggested that she open a vegan tea and discussion
room.  Serve the tea - then ask who wants some honey in it :-P

- Kate

p.s.  One reason I don't eat much meat is because it is soft and flavorless.
Not like a good elk your daddy shot or the cow running around grandma's back
pasture. Beans and rice are more interesting. I still consider myself lucky
to have a mom who didn't just clean things, but dissected them.  It instills
a respect for the similarity between animals and us.

-----Original Message-----
From: powderworks-bounces at cs-lists.cs.colorado.edu
[mailto:powderworks-bounces at cs-lists.cs.colorado.edu]On Behalf Of Kiri W
Sent: Wednesday, September 29, 2004 11:42 PM
To: powderworks at cs-lists.cs.colorado.edu
Subject: Re: [Powderworks] NMOC: Was Protesters chip

Quoting Bruce,

"Would I be a more moral person if I went out and shot, skinned, gutted and
dressed the beasts myself? Just curious to know how you veggans make sense
of things, given what would appear to be our natural state of omnivory..."

Probably not be a more moral person Bruce, but I reckon if everyone HAD to
do that to get a steak on the table, they might lean more towards
vegetarianism. Killing a creature as you look into it's eyes and watch the
life and blood drain from it, is most likely a lot harder than picking up
chops at the local supermarket.

I reckon us "veggans" make sense of things by looking or being outside the
box. It's all a matter of environment and choice really. I was raised to
believe all living creatures are worthy of living, be it a cow, a dog or a
human. We are all animals after all, the only difference for us humans is
that we are capable of cognitive thought. Unfortunately, the majority of
humans believe that the ability of cognitive thought makes them superior to
all other creatures, and they can selectively use and abuse them at will.
Eating a cow is okay, but could you eat the family dog?

Have no fear, humans will not stop eating animals, nor stop polluting the
environment, nor stop cutting down trees, nor stop declaring war etc... We
have the ability of cognitive thought!

My two cents,

KW...a vegetarian, who doesn't wear leather btw

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