Sunday, April 25, 2010

“If they had resources, they would not be killing each other over grazing ground and water.” ~Wangari Maathai

i'm reading a book right now. and i just finished watching a documentary. and the other day i saw a different documentary related to the same topic. and....not too long ago i saw a little video about the same general topic. it's all coming together.... Krishna wants me to know what the deal is.

book= Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer
documentary=Food Inc.
other documentary=Dirt! The Movie

i think watching all or any of these things i just listed really lets you see that things are fucked up. and something HAS to change. there is no way that we are going to be able to live comfortably, let alone live, if we continue doing things the way we do. and by "we", i mean citizens in Western nations; in "first-world" countries. the problems of this system we continue to add to are not as easily seen by us because they don't impact us as much (yet). it's impacting people of color in third world countries. i did a post a while back about photos by Andrew McConnell that literally shows you where our trash ends up, and another link showing you the oceans it collects in. no, it isn't in a huge dump somewhere in Wyoming, it's in the back yards of Ghanaians (among hundreds of other places), piling up in the middle of our oceans, and is being dumped on the coast of African countries.

Eating Animals has been tremendously informative book. not only does it go into the morals and concepts behind eating animals (obviously), but it also goes into arguments by other authors, as well as the politics of the meat industry, the history of it, what fast food has done to it, what capitalism means to it, and the overall health of those that eat meat versus those that do not. i'm a visual learner, do having a book that lists facts and statistics the way this book does is very helpful.
Eating Animals and Food Inc. both do a good job of showing that refusing to eat meat is not only an emotional decision (insert typical image of vegetarians crying over dogs and chickens), but also an environmental one, and one against capitalism, one against abuses against factory workers and one in favor of better health.

the meat industry is one of the most exploitative, unethical and corrupt industries in the United States (note that i am speaking of meat consumption in the United States. it is very different from meat consumption in....a small village in Sri Lanka). theres so much that this industry does that impacts the rest of our lives. rain forests, for example, are being cut down at staggering rates mainly for livestock and factory farms. the soil is then destroyed from having vegetation ripped out and being smothered in the tons (literally TONS) of manure. it then limits the number of resources that can be grown on the land after the factory farms gave ravaged it. which then limits a town's or country's sustainability. this is why we're fishing on the coast of African and getting wood from South America.
politics is another example. individuals that headed factory farms now head organizations like the FDA and the USDA. there are laws that exist that make things like shutting down plants that have shipped out contaminated meat more than once....illegal and things like slaughter houses refusing more they have also fought vehemently against having ingredient labels and country of origin labels not because it is healthier or better for the consumer, but because they know they would lose money were facts to come out. and that doesn't include the lack of respect they have for their consumers, like the examples of the politics i just used, as well as knowing the lack of sanitation in their factories. when cows spend their days standing knee deep in their own feces, and then go into the slaughter house with it caked on their hides, and workers have to kill 500 or more cows in one shift, then theres no wonder the biggest diseases this century have been food born illnesses. the level of production, (which has nothing to do with feeding the poor or the masses, considering most of it is trashed) which is constantly increasing makes sanitation insignificant.
they also have no respect for their workers (mostly minorities and more increasingly undocumented workers) who have more work-related illnesses and injured than the majority of jobs. and they get paid minimally. these are the type of people they hire because these are the least likely people that will sue or quit. it's the pinnacle of exploitation. i could go more into this, but i think this post will be too long....and i haven't even gone into the health statistics the meat industry so happily disregards. not to mention the lack of respect these farm factory corporations have for farmers that actually want to raise their meat on feed they've actually evolved to eat (like grass....crazy, i know. but cows now eat mainly corn, even though it increases the amount of E.Coli that grows in their stomachs) and regard animal husbandry with veneration. but there are plenty of websites (linked at the bottom) that offer more information and statistics on the industry.

the video i mentioned above is also very informative. knowing where and how our resources are used up and discarded i think should impact everyone to change the way they buy and manage their waste. it speaks about capitalism as well and how industries like these thrive in capitalistic societies. i don't buy much crap that i don't need, but i work at Target, and people really do buy shit they don't need all the time. really, how is it that you spend $50 on cologne? $80 on DVDs (bootleg anyone?) ? $15 on a scarf is fairly ridiculous too. and this is not including Christmas, Easter and Halloween, which we all know have no real significance anymore besides buying shit you don't need for absurd prices that you more and likely won't use a week after the holiday. $110 on a life-sized Santa that sings and blinks? really? REALLY? and women, black women specifically spend RIDICULOUS.....ABSURD amounts of money on cosmetics and hair. $200 for a hairstyle? just because you paid $100 less than your cousin does not make you any smarter. you're a fool and so is she. you're beautiful just the way you are. you have to be the first to believe it. anymore than $15 a month on cosmetics and you need to prioritize. it really gets disgusting after a while when you see how frivolous we Americans are with our money. i'm sure we can find better ways to spend our money.

it's actually kind of backwards the way we think about eating meat. Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern (one of my favorite shows) is one of the seemingly grossest shows. he eat everything from squirrel brains, petrified shark, and dog to ostrich eggs, camel, and horse. and the other day saw the episode where he goes to the Appalachian mountains and has a meal with those that live in the mountains in ways they did in the 1800's. they had squirrel and deer and they ate every part of the animal. the brain, the liver, the rectum-everything. and my initial response to this is disgust, but if you think about their way of eating (and the way of many other people in other countries) is the most sustainable and respectable way of eating one could do. for one, they hunt their animals, meaning their animals see sunlight, have access to open air, don't wallow in their own feces, and grow on natural foods...none of which can be said for animals from factory farms. they're also aren't poked with electric prods, skinned, scolded or have their limbs severed while being conscious....which again, cannot be said for their factory farm raised counterparts. the book and the documentary, i think, advocate not only for veganism and vegetarianism (or maybe even freeganism), but also for eating meat from farmers that understand, appreciate, and implement proper animal husbandry.

and all this ties in together. the way you eat, the politicians you vote for, the way you all is tied in together. and if one is dysfunctional, the entire system is.

think. change the way you think. criticize. comment.

environmental effects of eating meat:

injustices against factory workers:

ill-managed waste:

respectable farmers:

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