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Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Vegetarianism in a Nutshell

After discussing vegetarianism over on Olaiya's blog, I realized (after reading Clay's pithy dismissal) that there is a strong emotional element to this issue. Sometimes I do a disservice to that emotion by overanalysing the topic. This film is a mashup of a veggie propaganda video that features footage taken by undercover PETA agents working in the factory farm industry. The original featured annoying voiceover work by Alec Baldwin. This shortened version just shows the raw footage with a music overlay. I think it's more effective this way (even if it's slightly less informative.) Here's my emotional reality.

*Warning* There are disturbing images in the video.



At 10/04/2006 06:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Imogen Heap makes great music for all occasions, even animal abuse. Coincidentally tickets go on sale Friday at noon!


At 10/05/2006 04:53:00 AM, Anonymous molly said...

Thanks for posting that. I understand your emotional response to these images. I'm suddenly feeling quite unwell. And the funny thing is I'm going to continue to eat meat. I don't know that even visiting an abatoir would change my mind, because essentailly I've already done that. But I feel as strongly about the treatment of these animals as you do.

Humans are atrocious creatures. We even treat our own kind the same way. For me, these images don't just raise mournful feelings for the animals who are treated inhumanely, it brings to my mind all of the horrible things we do to other humans that we don't regard as equals.

I suppose my view of eating meat would be in agreement with the Anonymous poster who talked about the Native American's relationship with the earth and their food sources. And I know that if the world were just a little bit different, I would be the one getting eaten.

At 10/05/2006 11:46:00 AM, Blogger Origami Nightingale said...

Heartbreaking video, John. I have seen many like it and after over 17 years of being a vegetarian, I'm still so very sad and outraged.

During a time when I had actual money to donate to good causes, I contributed to the Humane Farming Association, a very cool orgranization.

Check out the Humane Farming Association website:


At 10/05/2006 12:21:00 PM, Blogger Johnbai3030 said...

Molly, the anonymous poster you mention on Olaiya's blog was Cher, O's mom. And I agree that she has a profound point. There is a conscious and respectful way to deal with living creatures on this planet, and that may include eating them, but it doesn't include torturing them first.

Cher also raises the issue of dietary needs. I guess I'm lucky that I've never felt that my health was jeopardized by eating vegetarian. I've never suffered from protein deficiency or anemia. If I had, I would probably be much more interested in finding another path that included eating ethical meat.

Courtney, thanks for the link. I'll check it out.

At 10/06/2006 11:50:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

“Pithy,” yeah right. The last person to use that word in relation to me was my probation officer. Um, thanks? Watched your emotionally manipulative video and it hasn’t changed my stance on eating meat Johnboi. Unlike you, I accept the nature of man and instead of running away from it and hiding under a set of whiny liberal ethics I embrace it. While we may choose not to eat meat, still will man have murderous intent in his heart and blood on his hands. If only vegetarianism translated into kindness and nonviolence you might be on to something.

Everything’s connected and unless you're the boy in the plastic bubble every action we engage in may directly or indirectly lead to violence and brutality in some other part of the world towards someone else. Can you trace the implications of all your purchases, choices, chances, and stray words? People act like they stop being brutal and gluttonous simply because of a "moral" stance. Being human means being a brutal killer by default and not all the convoluted rhetoric in the world can change that fact.

(Excuse me while I finish my steak.)

“Man is a carnivorous production,
And must have meals, at least one meal a day;
He cannot live, like woodcocks, upon suction,
But, like the shark and tiger, must have prey;
Although his anatomical construction
Bears vegetables, in a grumbling way,
Your laboring people think beyond all question,
Beef, veal, and mutton better for digestion.”

~Lord Byron~

Clay – Oh snap son

At 10/07/2006 03:15:00 AM, Blogger molly said...

Hugh from Channel 4's River Cottage has some interesting takes on vegetarianism


He also wrote a column in a mag that I read last night, which I can't find online, which begged to question how we would practice farming without the benefits domestic livestock provide us, such as manure and would instead rely more on chemical fertilizer. He also talked about what we would do with all those domesticated livestocks which are bred to be food who rely on us to keep them healthy (this would obviously be a hypothetical question, as I don't think the world will suddenly go off eating meat). What would we do with them (because they can't fend for themselves) and would we have the resources to keep them if they weren't part of our ecosystem anymore? If the world were to turn vegetarian, if you think about it, it would be a radically different place altogether...

At 10/07/2006 10:07:00 AM, Blogger Johnbai3030 said...

Molly, I think Michael Pollan advances the same fertilizer argument in his new book The Omnivore's Dilemma. I haven't read enough to know if it's credible. Simply saying that "we'd have to rely on chemical fertilizers!" isn't proof that we couldn't. It just suggests that things would have to change.

And I find the whole, "what would we do with all the domesticated animals argument" silly. First of all, the world isn't going to suddenly become vegetarian. If it is a global trend, it's a very slow moving one. And any big change will have unintended ripples if it's implemented too quickly. If the market demands less and less beef and more and more soy patties, I'm sure the ranchers and farmers will be able to adjust. All they have to do is lower their breeding rates every year and devote more acreage to farming and less to raising livestock. There will never be roaming packs of marauding razorbacks, or heffers hitching rides and spare changing at the highway reststops because they have no survival skills. That argument only works against animal rights activists that support liberating large numbers of ill-prepared animals back into the wild. Since I'm only asking for slow reforms and an increase in consciousness, this is an ad absurdum threat.

At 10/09/2006 04:12:00 AM, Blogger molly said...

I agree, it is absurd. I understand that we wouldn't just ditch our cows all of the sudden.

But think of it... a world without cows as we know them. I'd miss their wet noses and slobber. And went they go on a mooing rampage, "MMmMmmmmoooooo(breath)mmooo(beath)mooo(breath)mmmoooo(breath)moooo(breath)mmmoooooo!!!"


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