The meat industry is terrifying, and it knows it! »
According to Gene Baur’s blog,* some of the most-read articles of 2010 on MeatingPlace.com are the following:
“Bomb found in employee locker at Hormel plant”
“Man dies after fall at Cargill beef plant”
“Worker killed at Wis. beef plant”
“Worker loses legs in meat grinder accident”
The violence, you guys, the violence! Obviously the meat industry is violence, but the workers are subjected to horrific conditions and are any of them even unionized? Not from what I can tell. Obviously we’re socialist lunatics over here and believe very strongly in the power of unions and The Worker, but for real, if you want safer meat, omnivores, you want the people in charge of the animals you’re eating—as in, from kill to cuts—to be physically able to follow Food Safety and Inspection Services guidelines. But of course, unionized workers have to be paid a decent wage and provided with safe working conditions, both of which items cost money, and how are you gonna get your $5 Meat Lover’s pizza if the people working the sausage grinders aren’t at risk of losing their limbs?
The most infuriating part is that the white-collar workers in the meat industry knows this; they write about these issues themselves and apparently read all about it—but they refuse to do anything about it. Lobbyists fight against safety regulations, corporations refuse to spend any money to care for their workers beyond the bare minimum; we’ve read our generation’s The Jungle and ignored its warnings. Everyone has. And now look what we’ve got: the industry knows it’s corrupt and disgusting, and it apparently doesn’t care.
*We’d link to them, but there’s a ridiculously involved registration process to access hardly anything on Meating Place, and your Vegansaurus neither wanted to invent an elaborate false identity, nor share so many personal details with “an online meat industry site,” so we’re trusting our hero Gene Baur on this.
[photo by Lachlan Hardy]
Happy New Year, your meat is full of fucking poisons! »
Wired gave us all a smashing Christmas present to close 2010: the news that the 28.8 million pounds of antibiotics “used in agriculture,” i.e., fed to eating-animals, constitute fully 79.8 percent of all antibiotics sold in the U.S. That’s a 10 percent increase from 2000! Here, look at this hideous chart:
According to Wired reporter Maryn McKenna, nearly all of the antibiotics given to animals are also prescribed to people, meaning that “[w]hen organisms become resistant on the farm to drugs used on livestock, they are becoming resistant to the exact same drugs used in humans.”
Have you started your probiotic supplements yet, omnivorous friends? Oh, and careful about where you buy your “humane,” “organic” dead animals from, too, as First Class Foods recalled 34,373 pounds of ground beef on Thursday because of a delicious E. coli O157:H7 contamination. E. coli O157:H7?
E. coli O157:H7 is found on cattle farms and can live in the intestines of healthy cattle. The toxin requires highly specific receptors on the cells’ surface in order to attach and enter the cell; species such as cattle, swine, and deer which do not carry these receptors may harbor toxigenic bacteria without any ill effect, shedding them in their feces, from which they may be spread to humans.
There have been several unsuccessful efforts to control the spread of this illness by food advocates by promotion of the so-called “Kevin’s Law”. This law would give the FDA power to shutdown food processing plants that fail multiple inspections. This law has been vigorously opposed by the food processing industry.
Let’s eat and drink and live forever! »
Killer news, you guys: a longterm study of nearly 130,000 people found that those participants eating lower-carbohydrate, higher-protein diets in which the protein and fats came from plant sources were overall healthier and lived longer. Moreover, the study “confirmed a ‘direct association’ between animal-based low-carbohydrate food intake in men and increased cancer deaths, particularly from colorectal and lung cancer. That association aligns with previous studies that have confirmed a link between red meat, processed meat, and those two types of cancers.” Whoops! Enjoy that bacon, hope you don’t mind dying at 50.
The National Institutes of Health funded the study, which began following 85,186 women in 1980 and 44,548 men in 1986. The vegetable-protein-eaters ate more whole grains and drank more alcohol—color your Vegansaurus surprised—while the animal-protein-eaters were more likely to smoke. And yes, the study took more “positive” lifestyle factors into account as well, like vitamins and exercise; our people still outlived the death-eaters.
This coincides nicely with what Nation’s Restaurant News reports as one of fall’s big trends: VEGETABLES! Everyone’s crazy about vegetables, and not just because they are so damn delicious! Did you know that “[p]rotein production uses many more resources and generates much more waste than vegetable production”? You guys, they’re learning and mending their ways! “John Fraser, the executive chef at Dovetail in New York City, introduced meatless Mondays earlier this year and has come to enjoy focusing on cooking vegetables so much that he said he is toying with the idea of opening an all-vegetarian restaurant.”
That brings a tear to my eye, it absolutely does. Science keeps supporting our choices, and chefs are backing us up with more cruelty-free dishes. Lucky us; when we do end up living to ridiculously old age, we’ll always be able to eat well.
Lax food safety standards make veganism a safer choice »
“Food safety” is totally conceptual, right? Like “equal rights for all humans,” everyone’s all for it in theory, but in practice it just…isn’t.
The forced labor camps in Iowa where all the Salmonella-eggs came from had “pits beneath laying houses where chicken manure was piled four to eight feet high” and “hens that had escaped from laying cages [were] tracking through the manure.” Not to mention the “meat and bone meal” chicken feed tested positive for Salmonella AND was kept in bins full of holes! Want to feel worse? Read all the stories on Chow’s list of the terrible history of the DeCoster farms.
Or, OK, leave off the half-million recalled eggs; maybe they were some kind of huge outlier. An FDA inspector hadn’t seen the inside of one of those chicken-prisons in at least six years, anyway. How’s the meat industry doing? Very poorly, is the answer! They’ve fought every change to every regulation, claiming that they follow all the rules and new ones are unnecessary. Now a super-rare strain of E. coli has appeared in ground beef from Cargill, but the American Meat Institute says that they’re so busy working on preventative measures, which would be blown all to pieces if the Dept. of Agriculture dared to list this new scary E. coli as an illegal substance in ground beef. Even though it has already make people sick, and forced a recall of 8,500 pounds of Cargill ground beef—no no, it’s not THAT bad! Shut up and listen to the nice executives, FDA.
And if you don’t eat meat: how about some honey from China? It’s full of delicious antibiotics! Not that China has time to worry about one company’s scam; it discovered that 402 tons of imported dairy products—99.8 percent of total dairy imports!—were full of Enterobacter sakazakii, plus “excessive amount of nitrites, zinc and total bacterial count.” Wait, E. sakazakii has “historically high case fatality in infants,” up to 80 percent, and the aforementioned “dairy products” were POWDERED MILK FORMULA? That people FEED THEIR INFANTS? Way to go, every country involved in this disgusting scandal, which include Australia, France, New Zealand, Singapore, Taiwan, the U.S., and of course China: you are all reprehensible. [news links via Tom Scocca]
Of course it’s safer—and more humane, but duh—not to eat animal products, but for how much longer? If we don’t change our methods of food production, the world is fucked. The animal-borne bacteria will get into our produce because giant farms aren’t careful with their runoff, and we’ll all perish of some kind of horrible E. coli/Salmonella hybrid. Good luck out there, everyone.