Treehugger talks about vegans again and bores the hell out of me »
Sami Grover at Treehugger is talking about veganism again, in "What does a Vegan World Actually Look Like?" He in no way answers this question or attempts to take a stance. Because I’m always willing to share knowledge, I’ll answer his questions for you: Is a vegan world healthier? Yes. Is it less cruel? Yes. Is it more sustainable? Yes. Now here’s MY question: We see so many good reasons to be vegan, what’s a good reason NOT to be vegan? I’d love to hear a legitimate reason that goes beyond “bacon tastes good.”
Further: Sami Grover, what is up with you, sir? With posts like "I Don’t feel Bad for Eating Meat. So Why Do I Apologize For It?" (pro tip: because you do!) and "Why Vegans Are Welcome to Call me a Murder" (OK, murderer!), it’s starting to look like you’re sourcing your articles from Defensive Omnivore Bingo. If you’re not, you should be! Please see the below game board, that should keep you busy for a while—you can do a write-up for each square!
Meat is murder and I don’t care yet »
I read this piece today on Treehugger, "Why Vegans Are Welcome to Call Me a Murderer" by Sami Grover. Just wanted to let you know what I’ve been doing with my day, that’s all. Just kidding! I have thoughts about it! You know me, always with the thoughts!
First let me say that Grover’s Treehugger bio says he’s a committed environmental activist. It’s my opinion that you’re not an environmental activist if you eat meat and dairy. It’s like being an environmentalist and driving an SUV, they just don’t go together. However, in Grover’s post he says he is an occasional, sustainable-meat eater. If he is actually diligent about this, it’s very impressive considering the minuscule (ed.: MINUSCULE) amount of meat that is raised sustainably. But I have to wonder, does he also only eat sustainable dairy? Dairy is TERRIBLE for the environment. Oy, that’s a lot of work. Might as well be vegan and not worry about it!
I always have to question a supposed environmentalist who eats meat or dairy. Does not compute. Grover’s main point is that maybe people are right to call meat murder but maybe it’s not helpful for the cause to actually say that. He finishes with this sentiment:
So while ideas like a weekday vegetarian diet may strike many non-meat eaters as hypocritical and strange (who says murder is OK on the weekend!?), I’d suggest they are a very real step forward—whether you believe we should eat less meat, or no meat at all. I recognize that is a hard step for those who believe in the murder-analogy to take, but it may be one that ends up saving a lot of animal lives.
I don’t disagree with Grover at all on these points. Meat is murder but society doesn’t view it as such and maybe you’ll turn more people off by telling them that. Like him, I’m not sure if this is true but I’ll give it a solid, “maybe.” And while in my heart of hearts, I can’t stand vegetarians (what makes one vegetarian that shouldn’t translate into being vegan?), I applaud and am very proud of my family and friends who have committed to Meatless Monday. For someone who isn’t a serious environmentalist and doesn’t have ethical qualms with eating meat to slow their roll, look at the environmental impact and try to reduce their meat consumption is a great step forward.
So now you’re like, “OK, Megan Rascal, where are these thoughts of yours?” Well, this post of Grover’s brings up what I’ve been thinking a lot about lately; so often, when we talk about veganism, it becomes a discussion about whether or not killing animals is wrong—I think this conversation is premature! The main reason I am vegan is because the way animals are raised for meat and dairy is inhumane and horrifying. Until all animals are treated in a humane manner up until the day they are killed, we are not ready to have the discussion of whether or not meat is murder.
Grover brings up the death penalty, which is a comparison I often use to explain my point. I’m against the death penalty—not necessarily because I don’t think the government should kill people but because the death penalty is RACIST and INNOCENT PEOPLE GET KILLED. When we have a 100 percent foolproof way to ensure that only guilty people get the death penalty and it is without a doubt sentenced fairly across race and class lines, only then should we begin to discuss whether or not the government should kill people at all. Until they find a way to do this, the death penalty should be abolished. In this same way, until it can be guaranteed without a doubt that animals are raised humanely, we haven’t reached the point where we need to discuss whether or not killing animals is wrong. As long as money and people are involved, I doubt all animals will ever be treated decently but while we wait, I think I’ll just be vegan.
[graph from the Death Penalty Information Center]
What’s wrong with organic eggs? »
As new photos reveal, PLENTY. I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds that eggs are one of the most difficult foods to talk people out of. We’ve all had that conversation with that person who insists that they are totally down with your veganism but you see, they eat organic eggs, so there’s no, uh, foul. Try as I might to talk about the essential meaninglessness of feel-good labels like “free range” or “organic,” it can be hard to combat those pleasant misconceptions without any shocking, awful photo evidence.
(Un)Fortunately, we now have it.
The Cornucopia Institute, an organization that promotes family farms and more sustainable farming, visited 15 percent of egg farms in the United States, and released a report titled “Scrambled Eggs: Separating Factory Farm Egg Production from Authentic Organic Agriculture.” While the report is aimed at protecting the interests of smaller-scale family farmers rather than ending animal agriculture altogether, it’s a useful read for vegans looking to combat the “happy egg” myth.
The conclusion of the report is something vegans should already know: most “organic” eggs aren’t really any different from regular eggs, with the sole exception that layer hens who produce “organic” eggs are fed “organic” food. The chickens are still kept confined in too-tight quarters, denied access to the outdoors, prevented from exhibiting their natural behaviors, and generally treated horribly their entire lives. To the large industrial farms examined in the report, “organic” is just another brand, and the current standards for what can be labeled as organic are a joke. The report shows how many of the larger producers are playing the system, providing “outdoor access” to chickens in the form of a tiny skylight or window.
What reports like this really mean is something everyone who eats food in this country needs to recognize: we can’t trust big agriculture to give us the food they’re marketing. If it’s cheap and convenient, chances are someone got screwed in its production. What’s the solution? This Vegansaur says cut it out with the eggs already. TOFU OMELETTES FOR LYFE!
Farm sanctuary’s six rescued calves need homes! »
Treehugger reports that Farm Sanctuary in N.Y. is still looking for homes for the six calves rescued from a farm in Pottsville, Penn. (home of the Yuengling brewery! The tour is dope. This is an aside, back to the calves!). As you can see in the video, the calves were starving and ill when they found them—now they are bouncy toddlers! I never realized how damn cute baby cows are, they are almost as cute as baby pigs! If you have room in your heart/farm, somebody, please adopt these adorable calves!
[If you can’t see the video, please click over to Vegansaurus.com!]
On hypocrites: Graham Hill of Treehugger talks about why he’s a “weekday vegetarian” »
As a vegan, there are few things more nails-on-chalkboard grating than hearing yet another word or phrase invented by green-minded omnivores to feel better about themselves for eating meat. If you call yourself a “pescatarian” or “flexitarian,” unless you can point me to the pesctable and flexifruit aisles of the produce section (and no, Monsanto gene-splicing doesn’t count), you’re really just a meat-eater appropriating vegetarianism to latch onto some kind of perceived moral credibility.
So I braced myself for Graham Hill’s TED talk on “weekday vegetarianism,” half-expecting to get a new neologism-from-hell (weekdaytarian? weekdgan?) out of the deal. I had always known that Graham Hill wasn’t, in fact, a vegetarian, and has spoken about it quite candidly on Treehugger. He knows it’s a contradiction, and, as an environmentalist who should know better, he still can’t bring himself to never eat meat ever again.
In a way, it fits. Treehugger is very much in the “What do we want? Incremental progress! When do we want it? In the second quarter of next year!" vein. They celebrate bikes and bike lanes, but they also really want you to read every fuel-efficient-car press release.
Graham Hill is a hypocrite, and he knows it. He goes one further: he embraces his hypocrisy to (he hopes) commit a mainstream audience towards making better choices. Because given two binary choices—don’t eat meat/drive/pollute vs. live the McMansion/SUV/Walmart dream—most people will pick a side, and it’s not the one we’d like.
Consistency has achieved the status of our highest national virtue. It’s better to let the world drown in oil and choke on cow exhaust than be a “hypocrite” explaining away the daily contradictions of living in the world; when you’re explaining, you’re losing, they tell us. But maybe the world needs more hypocrites, individuals who are at least committing to something better, and nudging others who would normally leave their heads buried deeply in the sand.
We still need vegans and vegetarians more than ever. It keeps the Overton Window wide open, and makes room for this idea of “well I could never do that, but I could do it half/most of the time.” Graham Hill’s punchline? ”If all of us ate half as much meat, it would be like half of us were vegetarians.” I would take that in a heartbeat.
From Treehugger today:
How pretty! What a lady, this bee. I found some more info at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. This bee, the Osmia avoseta, has been found in Iran and Turkey. Oh and guess what? The AMNH says that, like the Osmia avoseta, 75 percent of bee species (and there are 20,000 known species) are solitary—did you know that? I did not. I guess being a bee is a lonely sort of life. Kind of like being a Megan Rascal. JUST KIDDING I’M SO POPULAR!