Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Clint the vegan

So there's no doubt that I read too much and get myself worked up about things.
A while back I was reading books like Blue Gold about the looming world water crisis. That got me all annoyed about how Canadians are by far the world's worst wasters of water.

Then I moved on to peak oil and started anticipating the day that gas prices went up by a factor of 10 and all those cars were off the road so that I could ride my Cervelo willy nilly on the major expressways.
Then I did some reading on suburban sprawl and how all this farmland is paved over for striphousing. For years I've been reading things like A Short History of Progress and generally thinking that screwing up the planet is built into our DNA.

And now I'm on to factory farming because I've been reading The Way We Eat and will probably try to get my hands on Food Revolution next.
I've been a vegetarian for a few years and am now taking steps towards veganism largely because of what I've been reading about the factory farm industry. I've decided not to do a big rant on this topic, but try instead to piece together a fairly logical set of facts on the issue, kind of like I did about impeaching George Bush. This "set of facts" is still to come and might take me a while, but all in all the arguments for vegetarianism/veganism are pretty overwhelming.

On the animal rights issue alone though - there's something very wrong. In The Way We Eat Singer and Mason claim that 10 billion birds and mammals are slaughtered in U.S. factory farms every year. That number isn't actually footnoted, and it's hard to believe, so let's cut the number in half and say that it's 5 billion. You've got 5 billions animals who were deliberately excluded by agribusiness lobby groups from the Animal Welfare Act, and therefore can be treated in the worst (and most cost-effective for the businesses) ways possible.

Want a little more on this? Just to show that it isn't just liberals who are on this bandwagon, check the very conservative George Will's review in Newsweek of Matthew Scully's (and he's another republican) Dominion: The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy.
And if you want an Alec Baldwin narrated video on this, try this one from PETA.
It might actually take you several trys to get all the way through that video. Personally, I'm never giving my money to the meat industry again.

Thank God there are good groups out there, like a company called 2xist making Soy Bean Fiber Underwear, the folks at Planet Friendly and the Canadians for Kyoto people.

And of course, thank god for celebrities like Clint.


Snakebite said...

Whoa there! Are you sure you want to go around riding "willy nilly?"

cyclingdave said...

i've been seroiusly considering the local food movement. it seems to me to make the most sense.

thanks for the post, as always, broad and deep.