Showing posts sorted by relevance for query vegetarianism. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query vegetarianism. Sort by date Show all posts

March 25, 2005

Vegetarianism (and veganism) for peace

Ecofeminists and many anarchists see vegetarianism as an essential response against exploitation of other beings. Many religious people see vegetarianism as consistent with a message of peace.

Unfortunately, most people who call themselves progressive (let alone liberal) do not see the defense of all animals as relevant to their concerns about human society.

Yet the way that humans treat other animals is one of the most indicators of how we treat the environment and each other. Eating, hunting, wearing, poisoning, abusing animals is one way everyone participates in a social organization based on exploitation and jealous protection of power.

Besides hunting and fishing and fur farming and beings tortured and killed in labs, in the U.S. one third of what is spent for raw materials and half of all our water are used just to produce food for the animals of the "meat" industry -- 26 billion individuals killed and eaten every year.

Like the reality of our invasion of Iraq, the reality of the meat and other animal-exploitation industries are hidden behind euphemistic doublespeak and outright lies. To speak the truth is considered treasonous, a threat to traditional values and the cohesion of society. People would rather not hear it. Yet the pursuit both of meat and of war is ridiculously wasteful, counterproductive, and self-destructive.

If there is to be an anti-war movement, vegetarians, those who understand the intersection of all violence against another, should join it openly as vegetarians.

Vegetarianism for Peace -- Nonviolence begins with our diet

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February 21, 2005

"Raising children as vegans 'unethical', says professor"

After studying impoverished children in Kenya, and finding that supplementing their very poor diet with meat or milk made the children healthier, this dope concludes that vegetarianism is evil.

I dare say she would have seen the same (or better) improvement had she provided the children with seitan and soy milk and a wide range of greens, for instance, along with vitamin B12 supplements (which most vegans know they need). It is obviously more difficult to maintain a comparable diet without changing the economic desperation of the people she studied, but that underscores the relative ease with which we in the "developed" world can avoid resorting to eating dead animals.

Besides B12 (available as a cheap supplement), calcium and iron are noted as concerns. Many greens have calcium, and many products, such as rice and soy milks and even orange juice, are fortified with it. Significantly, the metabolism of animal protein leaches calcium out of the body, which is why government nutritionists recommend so much. Vegans require quite a bit less to maintain their calcium. Iron (and other minerals) is available in many greens and other vegetables. Cooking in iron pots is an easy way to add it as well.

To characterize vegetarians as unethical implies that it is ethical to kill animals for food (let alone for "sport") when we no longer have to. Yet vegetarians are well documented as a much healthier group in general than animal-eaters. Not only for the sake of our fellow creatures but also for our own health, vegetarianism is without doubt the ethical choice at every stage of life.

Even if you have no problem eating dead animals, to call vegetarianism unethical is the sign of a troubled psyche.

[Click here for more information.]

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August 1, 2012

USDA advocates, then denounces, vegetarian diet

As Mark Bittman reports in the New York Times, an internal newsletter at the USDA (“Greening Headquarters Update”, July 23, 2012) promoted not only “meatless Mondays” but even vegetarianism:
One simple way to reduce your environmental impact while dining at our cafeterias is to participate in the “Meatless Monday” initiative http://www.meatlessmonday.com/. This international effort, as the name implies, encourages people not to eat meat on Mondays. Meatless Monday is an initiative of The Monday Campaign Inc. in association with the John Hopkins School of Public Health.

How will going meatless one day of the week help the environment? The production of meat, especially beef (and dairy as well), has a large environmental impact. According to the U.N., animal agriculture is a major source of greenhouse gases and climate change. It also wastes resources. It takes 7,000 kg of grain to make 1,000 kg of beef. In addition, beef production requires a lot of water, fertilizer, fossil fuels, and pesticides. In addition there are many health concerns related to the excessive consumption of meat. While a vegetarian diet could have a beneficial impact on a person’s health and the environment, many people are not ready to make that commitment. Because Meatless Monday involves only one day a week, it is a small change that could produce big results.
Cowed by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, the USDA has renounced those facts and suppressed the newsletter. The NCBA complained that the USDA “does not understand the efforts being made in rural America to produce food and fiber for a growing global population in a very sustainable way”. Bittman notes
that meat is not fiber, that its industrial-style production is not sustainable by any normal definition, and that “agriculture” produces the food “Meatless Monday” advocates eat, too.
The only possible good that might come of the USDA's brief airing of the truth, if not their subsequent caving to corporatist pressure, is that reactionaries like Senator Charles Grassley and Representative Steve King, both of Iowa, have promised to hasten their own demises by doubling down on their corpse consumption every Monday.

environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, vegetarianism, anarchism, ecoanarchism

March 26, 2010

Excerpts from Dominion by Matthew Scully

Realism is seeing reality. And the two hardest realities are life and death. We share with animals in the fellowship of both, and there never was a better reason to be kind and merciful than the leveling death which will find us all. (p. 46)
'Killing "for sport" is the perfect type of that pure evil for which metaphysicians have sometimes sought. Most wicked deeds are done because the doer proposes some good to himself ... [but] the killer for sport has no such comprehensible motive. He prefers death to life, darkness to light. He gets nothing except the satisfaction of saying, "Something that wanted to live is dead. There is that much less vitality, consciousness, and, perhaps, joy in the universe. I am the Spirit that Denies."' (p. 77, from The Modern Temper (1929) by Joseph Wood Krutch, as quoted in A View to a Death in the Morning: Hunting and Nature Through History (1993) by Matt Cartmill)
I know that vegetarianism runs against mankind's most casual assumptions about the world and our place within it. And I know that factory farming is an economic inevitability, not likely to end anytime soon. But I don't answer to inevitabilities, and neither do you. I don't answer to the economy. I don't answer to tradition and I don't answer to Everyone. For me, it comes down to a question of whether I am a man or just a consumer. Whether to reason or just to rationalize. Whether to heed my conscience or my every craving, to assert my free will or just my will. Whether to side with the powerful and comfortable or with the weak, afflicted, and forgotten. (p. 325)
Meat is today a luxury item, large-scale livestock farming an irrational and inefficient enterprise, and the suffering it inflicts morally untenable. It will not do to say, with writer David Plotz in the online magazine Slate, that "Calves are adorable, but veal is delicious. ... God gave man dominion over the beasts of the earth [and] if an animal has economic utility, we should farm it." That is not a serious argument. It is an excuse for evading serious argument, for doing what he pleases and getting what he wants, the whims of man in their familiar guise of the will of God. Nor is it any answer to say, with Judge Richard Posner, that the law should be neutral and let corporate farmers answer to "consumer preference" alone. When the law sets billions of creatures apart from the basic standards elsewhere governing the treatment of animals, when the law denies in effect that they are animals at all, that is not neutrality. That is falsehood, and a license for cruelty. (p. 389)
If we cannot do something humanely, without degrading both the animals and ourselves, then we should not do it at all. (p. 391)
Kindness to animals is not our most important duty as human beings, nor is it our least important. How we treat our fellow creatures is only one more way in which each one of us, every day, writes our own epitaph -- bearing into the world a message of light and life or just more darkness and death, adding to the world's joy or to its despair. (p. 398)
Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy, by Matthew Scully. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2002

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism, anarchism, ecoanarchism

August 27, 2007

Taste for Meat Marches On

Tim Flannery writes in the June 28 New York Review of Books:
Many readers will doubtless ask whether vegetarianism is better still. [Michael] Pollan [The Omnivore's Dilemma] tells us that even vegan lifestyles result in animal cruelty. Just think of the the thousands of field mice shredded by harvesters, the woodchucks crushed in their burrows by tractors, and the songbirds poisoned by pesticides when farmers grow the wheat for our bread. Pollan's message seems to be that to live we must kill, and the best we can do is both treat animals decently while they live and kill them humanely.
This is moral argument?!

Your ethical vegan practices ahimsa, or "do the least harm". Choosing organically grown food eliminates the harm from pesticides. Choosing food from small farmers reduces the harm done to animals in the fields. Growing one's own food reduces it yet more.

Michael Pollan, apparently with Tim Flannery's agreement, goes in the other direction. In recognizing that our sustenance does harm to the sustenance of other creatures, he justifies willful harm beyond unavoidable necessity.

His premise is that we must eat the corpses of other animals, and it is commendable that he would like to reduce the brutality of that practice. But that premise is invalid and based only on his unquestioned appetite.

The fact is, most of us do not need to eat the corpses of animals to survive. Many people live very well without eating flesh. So to continue eating flesh is a choice to kill unnecessarily. All the coddling of your "meal" while it is alive doesn't change the brutal fact of that choice. One can raise them and kill them less brutally, but the practice can never be called humane. The result of the feedlot is the same as that for the "happy" grass-grazing beef cow.

Flannery also reviews Bill McKibben's Deep Economy, in which we learn that McKibben is a corpse-eater, too. Has the pre-eminent voice about the dangers of global warming not heard that raising animals for food is responsible for more greenhouse gas effect than transport? Let alone the inexcusable pollution and waste of water, energy, land, and other resources.

How can anyone take these men seriously?

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism

March 28, 2006

Michael Pollan: The Pathology of Desire

In a long essay in Sunday's New York Times Magazine about a quest to kill "his own" wild pig, Michael Pollan briefly envies the "moral clarity" of vegetarianism. He immediately comforts himself by declaring them "pitiable" because vegetarians "deny reality."

Yet at every step of his quest to "own" his meat, Pollan struggles with moral ambivalence and even disgust, requiring hundreds of words of twisted rationalizations. He does not deny his appetite for exotic meat, true, nor the violence necessary to transform an animal from a living individual in a vital social circle into a mouth-watering roast. Neither do vegetarians. Nor do vegetarians deny the natural repulsion we feel from the slaughter, as Pollan struggles to. But he must have his boar, so anything can be justified, any reality denied that does not fit the preordained outcome, the consumerist goal.

This is moral decadence. Most of us do not need to kill to survive. We hunt or eat meat only because we want to. It is a moral choice to continue or not. It is the same choice whether you kill your meal yourself or not, the same whether you write thousands of words about it or not, the same whether it's grass-fed and free-range or factory-farmed.

Pollan denies that reality and chooses to kill. He is proud that he is a "conscious carnivore," which only makes his choice especially chilling. The only reality indeed is his appetite.

animal rights, vegetarianism

January 6, 2007

Noam Mohr on meat-eating and the environment

The global costs of a meat diet
The Green Times (Penn Environmental Group), Spring 1997
If you care about the environment, you had better be a vegetarian. Why? Because meat consumption is one of the primary causes of environmental devastation, including the misuse of natural resources, the polluting of water and air, and the destruction of rainforests. All this comes in addition to the immense cruelty to animals and the contribution to the world hunger problem caused by the modern meat industry. In short, a carnivorous environmentalist is a hypocrite. Strong words? take a look at meat industry and judge for yourself.

Modern meat production is both wasteful and destructive. Each pound of steak from feedlot-raised steers that you eat comes at the cost of 5 pounds of grain, 2,500 gallons of water, the energy equivalent of a gallon of gasoline, and about twenty-five pounds of eroded topsoil. Indeed, over a third of the North American continent is devoted to grazing, and over a half of this country's cropland is dedicated to growing feed for livestock. What is more, the livestock industry consumes over half of the water used in the US.

In every one of these ways, as discussed below, a vegetarian diet exerts less strain on our resources that does a carnivorous one. ...

Meat production around the globe not only wastes the water it uses, it also pollutes the water it does not use. ...

Perhaps the most devastating environmental impact of America's appetite for meat is deforestation. The primary reason for the destruction of rainforests in countries like Costa Rica, Colombia, Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand, and Indonesia, is to provide grazing land for cattle, virtually all of which goes not to the poor in these third world nations, but rather is exported to wealthy countries like the United States. ...

Meat production is not only damaging to the environment, but in more immediate ways to the global human population as well. Land that could be used to grow food to feed hungry people is instead used to grow food for the animals we eat.

How environmentalists are overlooking vegetarianism as the most effective tool against climate change in our lifetimes
The McDougall Newsletter, December 2006
Summary: Global warming poses one of the most serious threats to the global environment ever faced in human history. Yet by focusing entirely on carbon dioxide emissions, major environmental organizations have failed to account for published data showing that other gases are the main culprits behind the global warming we see today. As a result, they are neglecting what might be the most effective strategy for reducing global warming in our lifetimes: advocating a vegetarian diet. ...

By far the most important non-CO2 greenhouse gas is methane, and the number one source of methane worldwide is animal agriculture ["Global Warming Potentials," National Emissions, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency].

Methane is responsible for nearly as much global warming as all other non-CO2 greenhouse gases put together [Hansen, James E. and Makiko Sato, "Trends of measured climate forcing agents," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 98, no. 26, 18 Dec. 2001, p. 14778-14783]. Methane is 23 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2 ["Global Warming Potentials"]. While atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have risen by about 31% since pre-industrial times, methane concentrations have more than doubled ["Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2002," Chapter 1, Energy Information Administration, U.S. Department of Energy, October 2003]. Whereas human sources of CO2 amount to just 3% of natural emissions, human sources produce one and a half times as much methane as all natural sources ["Emissions of Greenhouse Gases in the United States 2002"]. In fact, the effect of our methane emissions may be compounded as methane-induced warming in turn stimulates microbial decay of organic matter in wetlands—the primary natural source of methane [Hansen, James E. et al., "Global warming in the twenty-first century: An alternative scenario," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 97, no. 18, 29 Aug. 2000, p. 9876].

... [U]nlike carbon dioxide which can remain in the air for more than a century, methane cycles out of the atmosphere in just eight years, so that lower methane emissions quickly translate to cooling of the earth. ...

Moreover, the same factory farms responsible for these methane emissions also use up most of the country's water supply, and denude most of its wilderness for rangeland and growing feed. Creating rangeland to feed western nations' growing appetite for meat has been a major source of deforestation and desertification in third world countries. Factory farm waste lagoons are a leading source of water pollution in the U.S. Indeed, because of animal agriculture's high demand for fossil fuels, the average American diet is far more CO2-polluting than a plant-based one [Pimentel, David and Marcia Pimentel, "Sustainability of Meat-Based and Plant-Based Diets and the Environment", American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, col. 78, no. 3, September 2003, p. 660S-663S; Tidwell, Mike, "Food and the Climate Crisis: What You Eat Affects the Sky," Sierra Club Redwood Chapter Newsletter, Dec./Jan. 2005].
Click here to see a graph showing the greenhouse effects of various diets.

tags: environment, environmentalism, ecoanarchism, animal rights, vegetarianism

September 14, 2014

Cowspiracy

There is one single industry destroying the planet more than any other. But the world's leading environmental organizations are too afraid to talk about it. Clips:


Global Warming

Richard Oppenlander, author, Comfortably Unaware: “My calculations are that without using any gas or oil or fuel every again from this day forward, we would still exceed our maximum carbon-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2030 ... all simply by raising and eating livestock.”

Kirk Smith, Professor of Global Environmental Health, University of California, Berkeley: “If you reduce the amount of methane emissions, the level in the atmosphere goes down fairly quickly, within decades, as opposed to CO₂ if you reduce the emissions to the atmosphere, you don't really see a signal in the atmosphere for 100 years or so.”

Demosthenes Moratos, Sustainability Institute, Molloy College: “The single largest contributor to every known environmental ill known to humankind – deforestation, land use, water scarcity, the destabilization of communities, world hunger – the list doesn’t stop – it’s an environmental disaster that’s being ignored by the very people who should be championing it.”

Will Tuttle, author: “Free-living animals made up, 10,000 years ago, 99% of the biomass and human beings, we made up only 1% of the biomass. Today, only 10,000 years later ... we human beings and the animals that we own as property make up 98% of the biomass and wild free-living animals make up only 2%. We’ve basically completely stolen the world, the earth, from free-living animals to use for ourselves and our cows and pigs and chickens and factory-farmed fish, and the oceans are being even more devastated.”

Oppenlander: “Concerned researchers of the loss of species agree that the primary cause of loss of species on our earth ... is due to overgrazing and habitat loss through livestock production on land and by overfishing, which I call fishing, in our oceans.”

Tuttle: “We’re in the middle of the largest mass extinction of species in 65 million years, the rainforest is being cut down at the rate of an acre per second, and the driving force behind all of this is animal agriculture: cutting down the forest to graze animals and to grow soybeans, genetically engineered soybeans to feed the cows and pigs and chickens and factory-farmed fish.”

Oppenlander: “Ninety-one percent of the loss of the rainforest in the Amazon area thus far to date, 91% of what has been destroyed is due to raising livestock.”


Ocean


Water
“One quarter-pound hamburger requires over 660 gallons of water to produce. Here I've been taking short showers trying to save water, to find out eating just one hamburger is the equivalent of showering 2 entire months. So much attention is given to lowering our home water use, yet domestic water use is only 5% of what is consumed in the U.S., versus 55% for animal agriculture. That’s because it take upwards of 2500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef.”


Rainforest
“Our global rainforests are essentially the planet’s lungs. They breathe in CO₂ and exhale oxygen. An acre of rainforest is cleared every second, and the leading cause is to graze animals and grow their food crops. ... And it is estimated that every day, close to a hundred plant, animal, and insect species are lost through the rainforest’s destruction.”


Wildlife
Deniz Bolbol, American Wild Horses Preservation Campaign: “The government has been rounding up horses en masse, and we now have more wild horses and burros in government holding facilities – 50,000 – than we have free on the range. Basically you have ranchers who get to graze on our public land for ... about one-fifteenth of the going rate, and what the Bureau of Land Management has to do is say how much forage and water is on the land and then they divvy it up. They give so much to cows, so much to ‘wildlife’, and so much to the wild horses and burros, and what we see is the lion’s share of the forage and water’s going to the livestock industry. And then they scapegoat the horses and burros and say, ‘Oh there’s too many horses and burros, let’s move them.’ I always tell people that wild horses and burros are just one of the victims of the management of our public lands for livestock, because we also see the predator killing going on: wolves are now being targeted by ranchers. USDA has aircraft and all they do is aerial gunning of predators. All a rancher does is call and say, ‘I’ve got a coyote here’, and they’ll come over and they’ll shoot the coyote, or they’ll shoot the mountain lion, or shoot the bobcat. And this is all for ranchers.”


Population
“Some people would say the problem isn’t really animal agriculture, but actually human overpopulation. In 1812, there were 1 billion on the planet. In 1912, there were 1.5 billion. Then just 100 years later, our population exploded to 7 billion humans. This number is rightly given a great deal of attention, but an even more important figure when determining world population is the world’s 70 billion farm animals humans raise. The human population drinks 5.2 billion gallons of water every day and eats 21 billion pounds of food. But just the world’s 1.5 billion cows alone drink 45 billion gallons of water every day and eat 135 billion pounds of food. This isn’t so much a human population issue – it’s a humans eating animals population issue. Environmental organizations not addressing this is like health organizations trying to stop lung cancer without addressing cigarette smoking, but instead of second-hand smoking it’s second-hand eating, that affects the entire planet.”

“You can’t be an environmentalist and eat animal products. Period.”

—Howard Lyman, former cattle rancher, author, Mad Cowboy


“To feed a person on an all plant-based vegan diet for a year requires just one-sixth of an acre of land. To feed that same person on a vegetarian diet that includes eggs and dairy requires three times as much land. To feed an average U.S. citizen’s high-consumption diet of meat, dairy, and eggs requires 18 times as much land. This is because you can produce 37,000 pounds of vegetables on one-and-a-half acres but only 375 pounds of meat on that same plot of land.

“The comparison doesn’t end with land use. A vegan diet produces half as much CO₂ as an American omnivore, uses one-eleventh the amount of fossil fuels, one-thirteenth the amount of water, and an eighteenth of the amount of land.

“After adding this all up, I realized I had the choice every single day to save over 1100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square feet of forested land, the equivalent of 20 pounds of CO₂, and 1 animal’s life. Every single day.”

References and calculations

environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism

July 16, 2014

The Oxen at the Intersection: Review

A Collision (or, Bill and Lou Must Die: A Real-Life Murder Mystery from the Green Mountains of Vermont), by pattrice jones (2014, Lantern Books)


This book is a page-turner. Jones is an excellent writer. She provides not only a history of the whole fiasco of the plan to kill rather than retire the oxen Bill and Lou, and the efforts to save them, but also a concise overview of the mythologies, intersections of power relationships and prejudice, and psychologies that came into play. It is both a valuable case study for social activists and a good introduction to the holistic anti-oppression perspective of eco-feminism.

Regarding the case itself, Jones seems to betray some personal rancor over what can well be seen as "hijacking" of the issue by others not directly involved (Jones' sanctuary had been approached by concerned alumni). Critiques of some of those are warranted, but they probably wouldn't have mattered if there was more direct "face-to-face" interaction, which Jones notes as perhaps the biggest shortcoming. However, she doesn't acknowledge the difficulty of direct action in this case: Poultney is rather far from everywhere as well as unfamiliar to almost all of the activists involved. And rights activists in Vermont simply do not go against the farming industry. Even the abuses revealed in late 2009 by HSUS at Bushway Packing, an "Animal Welfare Approved" slaughterhouse where organic dairy farms sent their male calves to be turned into veal, made barely a ripple. In another case in the late 2000's, a jogger in Greensboro noticed a pile of dead and dying animals on a farm, alerted authorities, and – nothing happened. As in these cases, the media, when they paid attention at all, only helped to support the "right-to-farm" viewpoint and discourage questioning of what farmers actually do to their animals.

One interesting and damning aspect of the Green Mountain College farm program is revealed in the book regarding their treatment of animals. Jones describes Princess, a cow who was given to them from someone who had bought her from an "agricultural college". It was clear that Princess had been abused (beyond the "normal" routines of animal ag), and Jones had written about her just before the Bill and Lou affair began, not knowing what college she had come from. When the campaign to save Bill and Lou began, people at the college recognized Princess and accused Jones of a concerted campaign against them. Jones also describes the visit of a couple of her colleagues during an open house at the college, where they saw a calf with so many burrs around his penis that he couldn't easily urinate. That calf was later sold, no questions asked, on Craig's List, with the stipulation that the buyer never reveal where they got it – which appears to have been a condition for saving Princess as well. As Jones points out, the head of the college farm program is a mathematician. It is an extension of his own hobby farm, with the added inexperience (and callousness) of college students. The animals seem to be neglected and abused and then disposed of, without acknowledgement, when they become too much trouble. As Jones also notes from the visit, the college garden was smaller than the one at their sanctuary. And as satellite pictures show, the college's acres of meadow are far from enough to sustain more than a very few animals (for meat, that is; used for produce, they could in fact feed quite a few humans). In other words, the farm is a sham, but worse, the animals are treated like toys for these very unserious dabblers.


Princess

Back to the problem of direct communication, as Jones makes clear, the bottom line was that the college was not at all open to discussion, even within their own walls. They were determined to prove a point, their authority, their "mastery". Closed off as they were, then, it was clearly the chaotic clamor of the social media–fired campaign to save Bill and Lou that at least saved Bill (whose actual fate, however, remains a mystery; for that matter, the actual fate of Lou also remains a mystery). And as Jones notes, it was the uncontrolled barrage of telephone calls to nearby slaughterhouses that stopped the original scheduled plan to turn both of them into hamburgers.

Jones also mentions her doubts about the effectiveness of gory photos and videos of animal abuse and suffering in the fight for animal rights. I agree. People are already desensitized and, as the "conscious carnivore" pushback shows, actually relish the fact that a life is sacrificed for their passing enjoyment. As the chef in Peter Greenaway's film "The Cook, the Thief, his Wife, and her Lover" observes, people like to feel that they are eating death. Shocking pictures only serve to reinforce the very viewpoint we are attempting to change. As with the picture of the Green Mountain College student grinning maniacally in a hand-scrawled "Death to Chickens" T-shirt holding a dead rooster up by its legs, or the students screaming at protesters that even though they're "vegetarian" they were "excited" to eat Bill and Lou, the people who need to be persuaded away from harming animals are more likely to embrace the imagery, to fling it back defiantly. Disturbing pictures can be effective – if they are used effectively for specific messages and/or to specific audiences, not for indiscriminate shock value.

Anyhow, this book is a stimulating and inspiring read, an insightful analysis of the mostly failed effort to save these two lives. It is also very nicely typeset.


Last known photograph of Lou and Bill, Nov. 10, 2012.
Lou was reportedly killed before dawn of the next day.

environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism, Vermont, ecofeminism

April 18, 2014

Grass-Fed Beef Won’t Save the Planet

George Wuerthner, January 22, 2010

Excerpts:

Researcher Nathan Pelletier of Nova Scotia has found that GHG emissions are 50 percent higher from grass-fed than from feedlot cows.

One of the major consequences of having cattle roaming the range is soil compaction. Soil compaction reduces water penetration, creating more run-off and erosion. Because water cannot percolate into the soil easily, soil compaction from cattle creates more arid conditions — a significant problem in the already arid West, but also an issue in the East since the soils are often moister for a longer period of time. Moist soils are more easily compacted. Soil compaction also reduces the space in the top active layer of soil where most soil microbes live, reducing soil fertility.

There are far more ecological problems I could list for grass-fed beef, but suffice to say cattle production of any kind is not environmentally friendly.

The further irony of grass-fed beef is that consumption of beef products is not healthy despite claims to the contrary. There may be less fat in grass-fed beef, but the differences are not significant enough to warrant the claim that beef consumption is “healthy.” There is a huge body of literature about the contribution of red meat to major health problems including breast, colon, stomach, bladder, and prostate cancer. The other dietary related malady is the strong link between red meat consumption and heart disease.

Another health claim is that grass-fed beef has more omega-3 fats, which are considered important for lowering health attack risks. However, the different between grain-fed and grass-fed is so small as to be insignificant, not to mention there are many other non-beef sources for this: Walnuts, beans, flax seeds, winter squash, and olive oil are only some of the foods that provide concentrated sources of omega-3 fats. Arguing that eating grass-fed beef is necessary or healthier grain-fed beef is like claiming it is better to smoke a filtered cigarette instead of a non-filtered one.

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism

March 31, 2014

The importance of reduced meat and dairy consumption for meeting stringent climate change targets

Abstract
For agriculture, there are three major options for mitigating greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions: 1) productivity improvements, particularly in the livestock sector; 2) dedicated technical mitigation measures; and 3) human dietary changes. The aim of the paper is to estimate long-term agricultural GHG emissions, under different mitigation scenarios, and to relate them to the emissions space compatible with the 2 °C temperature target. Our estimates include emissions up to 2070 from agricultural soils, manure management, enteric fermentation and paddy rice fields, and are based on IPCC Tier 2 methodology. We find that baseline agricultural CO₂-equivalent emissions (using Global Warming Potentials with a 100 year time horizon) will be approximately 13 Gton CO₂eq/year in 2070, compared to 7.1 Gton CO₂eq/year 2000. However, if faster growth in livestock productivity is combined with dedicated technical mitigation measures, emissions may be kept to 7.7 Gton CO₂eq/year in 2070. If structural changes in human diets are included, emissions may be reduced further, to 3–5 Gton CO₂eq/year in 2070. The total annual emissions for meeting the 2 °C target with a chance above 50 % is in the order of 13 Gton CO₂eq/year or less in 2070, for all sectors combined. We conclude that reduced ruminant meat and dairy consumption will be indispensable for reaching the 2 °C target with a high probability, unless unprecedented advances in technology take place.

Fredrik Hedenus, Stefan Wirsenius, Daniel J. A. Johansson
Department of Energy and Environment, Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden

Climatic Change. Published online 28 March 2014.
doi:10.1007/s10584-014-1104-5

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism

October 24, 2013

It Was Meant to Be

James McWilliams writes:

Grass-fed beef advocates are always going on and on about how cows "were not meant" to eat corn. They were meant to eat grass. This might be true, barring any investigation into how genetics might have structured cows to eat corn, or how grasses and genetics match up. This is might be true, I suppose, if we want it to be true, and the media says so.

But let's just say its true. So, if cows were meant to eat grass and that is why advocates of grass beef support this form of production rather than corn based, feedlot production, we can logically conclude that those who eat only grass-fed beef – again, because it's more natural, and because this was how it was "meant to be" – don't drink milk or eat dairy products.

Huh? How did milk get into this discussion about beef? Well, if we're going to make a fetish out of what's natural, we have an obligation to ask: is forcibly impregnating cows, kidnapping their offspring, and drinking their milk natural? Isn't it natural for a mother to feed her offspring her own milk? Actually, is anything more natural?

Ask this question next time you hear someone justify some form of animal exploitation or another on the grounds of what nature intended. Make them answer. Force them to answer. Because there is no right answer.

human rights, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism

September 24, 2013

350.org: Just Another Wall St Greenwash Department

Cory Morningstar writes at Counterpunch:

Anne Petermann writes: ... “if you focus solely on eliminating fossil fuels without changing the underlying system, then very bad things will take their place because it is the system itself that is unsustainable. It is a system designed to transform ‘natural capital’ and human labor into gargantuan profits for an elite few: the so-called ‘1%.’ Whether it’s driven by fossil fuels or biofuels or even massive solar and wind installations, the system will continue to devour ecosystems, displace forest-based communities, Indigenous Peoples and subsistence farmers from their lands, crush labor unions and generally make life hell for the vast majority of the world’s peoples. That is what it does.”

... the so-called climate movement has sabotaged any chance of mitigating a full scale global ecological collapse, having instead cleared the way for corporate profiteering, deforestation, fund-raising and full-out omnicide. ...

A key design element within the non-profit industrial complex is that “movements” are created top down. In the case of Rockefeller’s 350.org/1Sky, the game is simply this: 350.org locals take their marching orders straight from the top (350.org International) while “the top” (McKibben et al) take their marching orders directly from their funders – and in the case of 350.org’s Do the Math Tour, those funders are Wall Street investors.

McKibben, along with key 350.org staff, developed the divestment campaign in consultation with Ceres Investors – referred to fondly as their “Wall Street friends.”

Such loyalties are par for the course in the corporate enviro world where Wall Street execs can be referred to as “our Wall Street friends.” Never mind that Wall Street is the very root cause of our multiple and ever accelerating ecological and economic crises, not to mention the global food crisis. These crises are not truly “crisis” in a spontaneous sense, rather they are strategic by design with the aim of furthering corporate profit, which is simply insatiable. ...

One must take note of 350.org’s obsession with fossil fuels exclusively. With certainty, 350.org, in tandem with the non-profit industrial complex, is strategically preparing the populace to accept what Guy McPherson calls the “third industrial revolution.” This “climate wealth” agenda will include false solutions such as biomass, unbridled “green” consumerism, carbon market mechanisms such as REDD, etc. What it will not include is: the urgent necessity to destroy the expanding military empire, to transition from/dismantle our current economic system, to address the industrialized livestock industry, to massively scale back and conserve, to employ tactics of self-defense by any means necessary, nor anything else that is imperative to address if we are to mitigate full-out omnicide. [See also: : “White House misinformation and inaction regarding greenhouse gases”.] In a nutshell, the agenda will not include anything that would actually pose any meaningful threat to the system. It’s always divide and conquer with the corporate/elite-funded NGOs. The point is to ensure the masses fight meaningless battles and never “connect the dots,” to use 350.org’s phrase. Just like the Avaaz founder MoveOn.org, 350.org successfully induces consent. ...

We are about to witness the global transition to profitable false solutions under the guise of “green economy” coupled with the complete commodification/privatization of the shared commons by the world’s most powerful corporations. All while they simultaneously greenwash themselves as noble stewards of the Earth.

[Also see: Activist Malpractice” by Michael Donnelly]

environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism, Vermont, anarchism, ecoanarchism

July 21, 2013

Slate notices the misapplication of climate action

From a couple of recent articles at Slate.com ...

Mark Hertsgaard, Tuesday, July 2, 2013:
Eating beef is particularly environmentally damaging: Cows are less efficient than chickens or pigs at converting corn (or other feed) into body weight, so they consume more of it than other livestock do. As a result, the industrial agriculture system employs 55 calories of fossil fuel energy to produce 1 calorie of beef. Meanwhile, livestock production is responsible for much of the carbon footprint of global agriculture, which accounts for at least 25 percent of humanity’s annual greenhouse gas emissions, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization.

Despite its large carbon footprint, the agricultural sector is invariably overlooked in climate policy discussions. The latest example: In his 50-minute speech on climate change last week, President Barack Obama did not even mention agriculture except for a half-sentence reference to how farmers will have to adapt to more extreme weather.
(The rest of Hertsgaard’s article delves into the “responsible meat” fantasies of Michael Pollan, in denial of the facts just spelled out here.)

David Biello, Tuesday, July 16, 2013:
Few would have to change their livelihoods as radically as American farmers if efforts to combat climate change became more serious. ... [T]he biggest change delivered by science to farming in the past century is ... the advent of fossil-fuel-powered machinery and fertilizer wrested from the air by chemistry. That, along with cutting down forests to make room for farms around the world, makes agriculture the second-largest cause of the greenhouse gas emissions changing the climate. There's methane from massive meat farms and manure lagoons. There's nitrous oxide — yes, the stuff used at the dentist’s office — seeping out of the soil thanks to all that nitrogen fertilizer, and it's no laughing matter since N₂O is nearly 300 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO₂ over a century [and persists in the atmosphere less than a tenth as long as CO₂, making it ~170-fold a more effective target for action. And methane is more than 20 times more powerful as a greenhouse gas than CO₂ over a century and persists in the atmosphere only 10 years, making it ~200-fold a more more effective target for action.]
(The rest of Biello’s article mostly describes only reducing tillage, but with the example of using herbicides instead.)

Also noticing the misapplication of climate action is the National Academy of Sciences, in its recent report “Effects of U.S. Tax Policy on Greenhouse Gas Emissions”:
[T]he combined effect of current energy-sector tax expenditures on GHG emissions is very small and could be negative or positive. The most comprehensive study available suggests that their combined impact is less than 1 percent of total U.S. emissions. If we consider the estimates of the effects of the provisions we analyzed using more robust models, they are in the same range. We cannot say with confidence whether the overall effect of energy-sector tax expenditures is to reduce or increase GHG emissions.
environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism

June 26, 2013

White House misinformation and inaction regarding greenhouse gases

Thanking Obama for his "climate action", as Paul Burns of VPIRG has asked me to do, would be like thanking him for universal health care — not only are Obama's "actions" utterly phony, they are a meaningless sideshow to distract attention of the willfully gullible from the creation of such a paranoid militarized corporatist murderous state that Obama makes Dick Cheney look like Elmer Fudd and Dick Nixon like one of the Three Stooges.

On the White House web site, the President's climate action plan includes this graphic, with the EPA cited as reference:


What's glaringly missing is any indication that the non-CO₂ greenhouse gases (GHGs) have a much greater warming effect per unit of mass emitted. For example, the EPA, despite ignoring it on one page in the same way as the White House, notes on another page the different "global warming potential" (GWP) values of a few GHGs relative to CO₂. They note that over 100 years, methane (CH₄) has a GWP of 20 and nitrous oxide (N₂O) a GWP of 300. That would appear to mean that the 9% of GHG emissions represented by methane actually has more than twice (9 × 20), and the 5% represented by nitrous oxide more than 17 times, the effect of the 84% represented by CO₂.

Moreover, the EPA notes that CO₂ persists for thousands of years in the atmosphere, whereas CH₄ persists only about 10 years and N₂O over 100 years. [Update:  “Continued global warming after CO₂ emissions stoppage”, Thomas Lukas Frölicher, Michael Winton & Jorge Louis Sarmiento, Nature Climate Change, published online 24 November 2013, doi:10.1038/nclimate2060.]

In other words, even if we were successful in drastically reducing CO₂ emissions, there would be no effect for thousands of years. If we want to more quickly reduce the effects of GHG emissions, the obvious primary target is CH₄, with at least 20 times the warming effect of CO₂ and one that lasts only 10-12 years. According to other sources, CH₄ has a 100-year GWP of 25 and a 20-year GWP of 72.

The White House graphic describes methane as coming from the production and transport of coal, natural gas, and oil, as well as from landfills. It neglects to mention that the hydraulic fracturing ("fracking") process of releasing natural gas, which Obama strongly supports, releases a particularly large amount of methane into the air. [Update: "Study: Methane Leakage From Gas Fields Guts Climate Benefit".] And it completely ignores the methane emissions from animal agriculture, which the United Nations has calculated contributes more to global warming than all transportation. [Update:  “Anthropogenic emissions of methane in the United States” [are probably at least twice as high as previously assumed], Scot M. Miller, Steven C. Wofsy, Anna M. Michalak, et al., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Published online November 25, 2013, doi:10.1073/pnas.1314392110.]

Simply changing our diet away from meat and dairy would have much more effect on climate change than all of Obama's "actions".

And there are many other benefits in reducing animal agriculture:
When emissions from land use and land use change are included, the livestock sector accounts for 9% of CO₂ deriving from human-related activities, but produces a much larger share of even more harmful greenhouse gases. It generates 65% of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the GWP of CO₂. Most of this comes from manure.

And it accounts for 37% of all human-induced methane (23 times as warming as CO₂), which is largely produced by the digestive system of ruminants, and 64% of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.

Livestock now use 30% of the earth's entire land surface, mostly permanent pasture but also including 33% of the global arable land used to produce feed for livestock, the report notes. As forests are cleared to create new pastures, it is a major driver of deforestation, especially in Latin America where, for example, some 70% of former forests in the Amazon have been turned over to grazing. [Between 25% and 30% of the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere each year -- 1.6 billion tonnes -- is caused by deforestation.]

At the same time, herds cause wide-scale land degradation, with about 20% of pastures considered to be degraded through overgrazing, compaction and erosion. This figure is even higher in the drylands where inappropriate policies and inadequate livestock management contribute to advancing desertification.

The livestock business is among the most damaging sectors to the earth's increasingly scarce water resources, contributing among other things to water pollution, eutrophication, and the degeneration of coral reefs. The major polluting agents are animal wastes, antibiotics and hormones, chemicals from tanneries, fertilizers, and the pesticides used to spray feed crops. Widespread overgrazing disturbs water cycles, reducing replenishment of above- and below-ground water resources. Significant amounts of water are withdrawn for the production of feed.

Livestock are estimated to be the main inland source of phosphorous and nitrogen contamination of the South China Sea, contributing to biodiversity loss in marine ecosystems.

Meat and dairy animals now account for about 20% of all terrestrial animal biomass. Livestock's presence in vast tracts of land and its demand for feed crops also contribute to biodiversity loss; 15 out of 24 important ecosystem services are assessed to be in decline with livestock identified as a culprit.
Another obvious target is to reduce hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), which have come into use as refrigerants and propellants to replace chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs, such as freon). CFCs were phased out because of their destruction of the protective ozone layer in the atmosphere. They are also potent GHGs, as are HFCs. For example, HFC-134a (CF₃CFH₂) has a 100-year GWP of 1,430 and 20-year GWP of 3,830 and persists in the atmosphere only 14 years, making it, with methane, another obvious candidate for meaningful action. In fact, in 2011 the E.U. banned HFC-134a in new cars in favor of HFC-1234yf (100-year GWP of 4), with a total ban on all uses being phased in through 2017. Meanwhile the U.S. has only talked and delayed about doing the same.

Update (note):  Like his continuing delay (renewed in this latest "action") to finally approve the Keystone XL pipeline to appease Bill McKibben and his 350.org "activists", while it continues to be built nonetheless, Obama's "climate action" seems to be little more than another cynical bone thrown to them, who are just as phony, just as adept at misinformation and inaction, because 350.org also ignores all but CO₂ in the atmosphere, ensuring no reversal of anthropogenic warming – let alone environmental depredation – at all.

environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism

June 22, 2013

The Myth of Sustainable Meat

By JAMES E. McWILLIAMS, New York Times, April 12, 2012

The industrial production of animal products is nasty business. From mad cow, E. coli and salmonella to soil erosion, manure runoff and pink slime, factory farming is the epitome of a broken food system.

... most people upset by factory farming have turned instead to meat, dairy and eggs from nonindustrial sources. ... They appeal to consumers not only because they reject the industrial model, but because they appear to be more in tune with natural processes.

For all the strengths of these alternatives, however, they’re ultimately a poor substitute for industrial production. Although these smaller systems appear to be environmentally sustainable, considerable evidence suggests otherwise.

Grass-grazing cows emit considerably more methane than grain-fed cows. Pastured organic chickens have a 20 percent greater impact on global warming. It requires 2 to 20 acres to raise a cow on grass. If we raised all the cows in the United States on grass (all 100 million of them), cattle would require (using the figure of 10 acres per cow) almost half the country’s land (and this figure excludes space needed for pastured chicken and pigs). A tract of land just larger than France has been carved out of the Brazilian rain forest and turned over to grazing cattle. Nothing about this is sustainable.

Advocates of small-scale, nonindustrial alternatives say their choice is at least more natural. Again, this is a dubious claim. Many farmers who raise chickens on pasture use industrial breeds that have been bred to do one thing well: fatten quickly in confinement. As a result, they can suffer painful leg injuries after several weeks of living a “natural” life pecking around a large pasture. Free-range pigs are routinely affixed with nose rings to prevent them from rooting, which is one of their most basic instincts. In essence, what we see as natural doesn’t necessarily conform to what is natural from the animals’ perspectives.

The economics of alternative animal systems are similarly problematic. Subsidies notwithstanding, the unfortunate reality of commodifying animals is that confinement pays. If the production of meat and dairy was somehow decentralized into small free-range operations, common economic sense suggests that it wouldn’t last. These businesses — no matter how virtuous in intention — would gradually seek a larger market share, cutting corners, increasing stocking density and aiming to fatten animals faster than competitors could. Barring the strictest regulations, it wouldn’t take long for production systems to scale back up to where they started.

All this said, committed advocates of alternative systems make one undeniably important point about the practice called “rotational grazing” or “holistic farming”: the soil absorbs the nutrients from the animals’ manure, allowing grass and other crops to grow without the addition of synthetic fertilizer. As Michael Pollan writes, “It is doubtful you can build a genuinely sustainable agriculture without animals to cycle nutrients.” In other words, raising animals is not only sustainable, but required.

But rotational grazing works better in theory than in practice. Consider Joel Salatin, the guru of nutrient cycling, who employs chickens to enrich his cows’ grazing lands with nutrients. His plan appears to be impressively eco-correct, until we learn that he feeds his chickens with tens of thousands of pounds a year of imported corn and soy feed. ... if a farmer isn’t growing his own feed, the nutrients going into the soil have been purloined from another, most likely industrial, farm, thereby undermining the benefits of nutrient cycling.

Finally, there is no avoiding the fact that the nutrient cycle is interrupted every time a farmer steps in and slaughters a perfectly healthy manure-generating animal, something that is done before animals live a quarter of their natural lives. When consumers break the nutrient cycle to eat animals, nutrients leave the system of rotationally grazed plots of land (though of course this happens with plant-based systems as well). They land in sewer systems and septic tanks (in the form of human waste) and in landfills and rendering plants (in the form of animal carcasses).

Farmers could avoid this waste by exploiting animals only for their manure, allowing them to live out the entirety of their lives on the farm, all the while doing their own breeding and growing of feed. But they’d better have a trust fund.

Opponents of industrialized agriculture have been declaring for over a decade that how humans produce animal products is one of the most important environmental questions we face. We need a bolder declaration. After all, it’s not how we produce animal products that ultimately matters. It’s whether we produce them at all.

Also see:  Why Allan Savory’s TED talk about how cattle can reverse global warming is dead wrong, Slate, April 22, 2013:

“There’s no such thing as a beef-eating environmentalist.”

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism

May 10, 2013

The Politics of the Pasture

James McWilliams writes:

Green Mountain College, from the founding of Cerridwen Farm in 1997 to its decision to kill Bill and Lou in 2012, was seeking to do what it genuinely thought best to do: farm in a way that modeled an environmentally sound alternative to industrial agriculture. The school loved the idea. The students loved the idea. The media loved the idea. It was extremely popular in every progressive corner. Replacing industrial agriculture with sustainable agriculture has become one of the most inspiring goals of the twenty-first century. GMC, through 22 acres known as Cerridwen Farm, aimed to play a direct role in this emerging revolution. ...

When animal advocates seized upon a controversy — the decision to kill and eat Bill and Lou — to argue that GMC’s pursuit of “sustainable agriculture” obscured basic moral consideration for animals, an unusually high-profile debate unfolded. That debate explored something that has, for the most part, enjoyed a free pass through an otherwise bramble-ridden landscape of agrarian discourse: the intensifying role of animal exploitation in “sustainable agriculture.” This book has tried to sketch out and analyze the depth and breath of that debate. As I hope has been made clear, animal advocates have made a strong case for not raising animals to slaughter and eat. They have effectively highlighted the ethical problem of killing sentient beings for unnecessary purposes. Repeatedly, and with varying levels of respect, they have demanded, sometimes forthrightly, that this quandary be acknowledged and explained by the advocates of small-scale animal agriculture at GMC.

In response, GMC never provided a serious answer. Ever. They provided excuses, but never did they make a sufficient ethical case in favor of killing the animals they supposedly loved for food they merely wanted rather than needed. More often than not, their primary battle tactic was to hyperbolize a few incendiary comments made by a few hotheads in the animal rights movement and deem themselves the innocent and helpless victim of vicious intimidation. I don’t buy for a moment that anyone at GMC ever felt truly in danger, but, as we’ll see, they put on an Oscar-worthy performance promoting their own victimhood.

As an advocate for animal rights and social justice, I’ve come to believe something very strongly: when a group seeking to reform an oppressive institution (in this case industrial agriculture) does so by relying on the exploitation of other sentient beings (in this case, two oxen), that group will eventually assume the tactics of the oppressors. They will, in other words, take the low road to perdition despite their articulated intentions to elevate themselves in the name of a nobler mission. To put a finer point on it, when a group of agricultural reformers seeks to dismantle industrial agriculture and its state sponsorship while simultaneously encouraging the single most important habit required to sustain industrial agriculture — eating animals — that group will find itself aligned, in the end, with the oppression of industrial agriculture.

Well, we’re at the end. And, in ways that could not be more affirmative of my thesis had I scripted them, GMC, in the wake of Lou’s death and the resulting vituperation that followed, has explicitly and implicitly aligned itself with American agribusiness. Indeed, GMC and Big Beef hopped in bed, divided the world into those who did and did not eat animals, and proceeded to do what those who exploit animals for a living do so very well: they consolidated their power and exploited the weakest.


environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism, Vermont, anarchism, ecoanarchism

April 19, 2013

Tofurky claims to be, but is not, "wind powered"

As a devoted Tofurky fan, I was upset to notice on a package of Tofurky Deli Slices that you claim to be "100% wind powered".

Unless you have your own on-site wind turbines without backup and without connection to the grid, that is obviously not true. You are no more wind powered than your neighbors who get the same power from the same grid.

In fact, the accounting trick with which you claim to be "wind powered" was invented by Enron, who convinced regulators that renewable energy could actually be sold twice: once as energy, and once as "environmental benefit".

So your purchase of "green tags" that allow you to claim to be "wind powered" simply represents the purchase of the right to claim the wind power that is actually going to everyone on the grid, perhaps not even the grid you are on.

It's as if meat-eaters could "offset" their burgers and drumsticks by purchasing Tofurky packaging, thereby purchasing the right to call themselves vegan, with actual vegans thereby losing that right.

If you feel strongly about supporting wind energy development (and there are many reasons to be dubious, with its addition of industrial harm to our environment, particularly in previously undeveloped areas, with little or nothing to show in corresponding reduction of fossil and nuclear fuel use), then please limit your claim to that: You offset your electricity use by helping to subsidize the expansion of wind energy on the grid.

For the animals,
~~~

============================

Thanks for your interest in Tofurky. I wouldn’t [sic] be interested in where you see this claim made because as far as I know we do not claim anywhere that we are 100% wind powered. We are however committed to making an environmental difference and have been for the past 31 years. We currently purchase wind power through our local utility and by purchasing Blue Sky Power in the last year we have reduced our own emissions by 3,842,657 pounds of C02 [sic].

Thanks,
Wes Braun
Customer Service/Marketing/Design
Turtle Island Foods
541-386-7766 ex. 19

============================

But you haven't reduced your emissions at all. You're getting exactly the same electricity you would get if you did not purchase Blue Sky Power. ~~~

wind power, wind energy, environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism

April 10, 2013

Cropland better used for feeding humans

To the Editor (Valley News, April 10, 2013):

Chuck Wooster ("Upper Valley Is an Animal Landscape," April 7) observes, "Most of the agricultural land in the Upper Valley is upland pasture, too steep for cultivating for crops." Yet he also tells us that the sheep he doesn't slaughter "spend all winter devouring ... one luscious bale of hay after another."

In other words, animal agriculture in the Upper Valley depends on a tremendous amount of plant cultivation. As Wooster notes about the grain used for larger-scale animal agriculture, the land that grows hay can be used for crops "that could more efficiently be fed directly to humans."

Feedlots and deforestation demonstrate the stark reality of all animal agriculture as wasteful, cruel, and unnecessary.

environment, environmentalism, human rights, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism, Vermont

March 28, 2013

Rump Steak

Advocacy group Rural Vermont is promoting its 2013 “Annual Celebration”:

“Philip Ackerman-Leist,” director of Green Mountain College’s Farm & Food Project ... will be the guest speaker. Ackerman-Leist will share his first-person account of the recent international controversy involving Green Mountain College’s pair of working oxen “Bill” and “Lou.” This moving and disturbing story illustrates the profound lack of understanding and connection between contemporary American society and the source of our food. ... Special guest Philip Phillip [sic] will offer his ideas on how we can work together to bridge this divide.
Rural Vermont is a fairly politically progressive organization unfortunately bound by a devotion to and reflexive defense of the exploitation of animals. Ackerman-Leist similarly is too gorged on the flesh of (and the profits from) his grass-fed heritage-breed cows to consider that he might be the one with a profound lack of understanding. What possible ideas could he offer to bridge the divide between those who think a team of oxen deserved retirement after 10 years of work and those who can only think about such animals as food?

It was precisely people who are connected with the sources of their food who were able to draw a line at killing Bill and Lou. Ackerman-Leist, who petulantly had Lou killed despite (or rather because of) the controversy, is like the slaughterhouse worker who recently posted a video of himself shooting a horse. There is nothing in his actions or words that suggests working together to bridge a divide. In fact, the bridge is already there, but he refuses to acknowledge it, stubbornly seething at the shoreline, still shouting impotent defiance after those who have left him behind.

environment, environmentalism, animal rights, vegetarianism, veganism, Vermont, ecoanarchism