With Thanksgiving approaching, everyone will soon be taking time to acknowledge what they’re grateful for. I am grateful for many things, but one thing that stands out to me the most is my puppy Mango. I recently rescued a puppy from the Humane Society. Going to the Humane Society or any rescue agency is probably one of the saddest things ever, but also rewarding in many different ways.
What we eat can cause or worsen diet-related illnesses and thus has a significant impact on our quality of life.
Virtually all the major scientific and medical institutions in the world agree that the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke, obesity, osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, cancer, and diabetes, among other diseases is linked to a meat-based diet consisting of highly processed foods laden with fats and artificial ingredients. These institutions further agree that the risk is greatly reduced by adopting a healthy low-fat, high-fiber diet.
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.
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.
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.
Review of Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer Chapter Four: “Hiding/Seeking”
A few years before I became a vegetarian, I had a glimpse into the reality of factory farmed meat that made me pause and rethink my habits. It was an assignment for a class I’ve since forgotten; I was tired and skimming through the photocopied handout when a phrase jumped out at me. At the end of a list of additives to livestock feed, the article mentioned waste from candy factories, including “rotten Snickers".