What makes it wrong, and the idea of it even repulsive, to eat a pet, but okay to slaughter other animals and put them on the dinner table or in our children’s lunch box? Our pets earn a special place in our hearts and often are treated as members of the family. Great efforts and expense are taken to see that they are kept safe, well-nourished, comfortable and happy.
Environment & Sustainability
What we choose to eat is one of the most significant factors in the personal impact we have on the environment and the fastest path to climate change. A recent study examining the impact of a typical week’s eating showed that plant-based diets are better for the environment than those based on meat. A vegan organic diet had the smallest environmental impact while the single most damaging foodstuff was beef. All non-vegetarian diets require significantly greater amounts of environmental resources such as land and water.
A new book criticizing vegetarianism and veganism is making a splash in the UK. Reviewers have called it "groundbreaking" and "life changing." After reading the book, George Monbriot, a well known environmentalist and advocate of veganism, has reversed his position and is now advocating eating animal flesh, as long as the animal has been sustainably raised. The book causing all the fuss was written by Simon Fairlie, a farmer with experience in permaculture, which is a type of agriculture that seeks to mimic natural ecosystems. The book is called Meat: A Benign Extravagance.
When I was nineteen years old, I dropped out of college, took the subway to the airport, hopped on the first flight to Spain, took a train out to the country and started walking, carrying only a change of clothes and some books I’d been meaning to read.
I stumbled on a lovely volunteer organization called Animal Assisted Happiness, courtesy of a friend at the Care2 network. Vicki and Peter Higa are the founders of AAH, and their goal is to facilitate interactions and relationships between animals and children with special needs or challenging family circumstances.
In the Island Life section of the Honolulu Advertiser today (Wednesday, April 14, 2010) the main story was entitled "Buying the whole bird", which was about how to "enjoy value, freshness, versatility by learning to cut apart a chicken." It was accompanied by pictures with captions like, "1. start with a fresh whole chicken. 2. After folding the wing tips back, cut in to remove the leg, breast. 3. With the chicken upright, cut the "oyster" (1) from the chicken. 4. Pop off the hip joint on the chicken and cut off the leg piece. 5. Do the same on the other side. 6.
Foer makes the case, in this final chapter of Eating Animals, that food is at the heart of the human dilemma. Eating is the most universal act, and its implications are far reaching. What we eat affects our relationship with our environment, our relationship with family and with our extended family – the other living beings that inhabit this planet. Food is a source of comfort for most people. We eat, many times, to resolve our anxieties. We eat to forge social bonds and to escape, temporarily, from the constant barrage of demands we face in life. Eating, then, is the activity which most calls on us to consult our conscience, and the activity we are least willing to examine.
An article in the Honolulu Advertiser today talks about aquaculture in Hawaii, and how various environmental groups are opposed to it on the basis that it is harmful to the environment. Aquaculture is another way of saying a fish factory farm, a large number of fish concentrated together in a small area. The concentrated fish population releases huge amounts of excretment into a very small area of the ocean; antibiotic use by the farmed fish is also a concern, both for native fish populations, and for the human consumers of the fish.
Q: What can you do with 87,000 pounds of shit? A: I don't know, but think fast, factory farms produce that much every second
In this chapter of Eating Animals, Foer pulls back the curtain to reveal the end product (literally) of the factory farming system: shit. Boatloads of shit. Communities surrounded by shit. Landscapes overrun by shit. Shit in the air, shit in the water, shit in the food.
Review of Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer Chapter Four: “Hiding/Seeking”