In Melody Petersen’s new piece in The Chronicle Review entitled, As Beef Cattle Become Behemoths, Who Are Animal Scientists Serving?, Petersen questions the influence of Big Pharma working against the interests of Big Ag. I thought these two worked pretty well together to destroy our environment, limit our food choices and monopolize taxpayer subsidies, but apparently Petersen makes a pretty good case for how animal scientists working for major public universities are unduly influenced by Big Pharma, thereby compromising their allegiance to Big Ag? Hmmm. Okay. I can’t seem to find the empathy for this argument.
In the movie Forks Over Knives, the decline of the health of modern day Asians is sharply contrasted with the healthier eating traditions of their recent past. Interviews with young Chinese reveal that the same myths about meat and dairy are becoming just as pervasive in popular culture now as they took hold here decades ago. For example, in a country where milk was fairly unknown a few decades ago, young Chinese actually believe that milk is necessary for strong bones. All that Western influence is really paying off for the meat and dairy industries.
A vegetarian burrito and a chicken burrito at Chipotle both have the same cost because we live in an age where the food industry has so marginalized our view of animals as mere commodities that we completely deny their true identity as complex, sentient beings. So in this narrow world view, vegetables have the same value as highly sensitive and intelligent birds like chickens. That is how the food industry persuades everyday, well-intentioned people to blindly support the exploitation of animals on the scale of 10 billion a year.
The new MFA investigation, McDonald’s Cruelty: The Rotten Truth About Egg McMuffins, contains hidden-camera footage, taken at Sparboe Egg Farm facilities in Iowa, Minnesota and Colorado, revealing shocking unsanitary and abusive conditions over a long period of time and at several facilities, demonstrating the tragic failure of FDA regulators to manage the broken egg industry and its flagrant violation of food safety and animal welfare standards.
There is something quite striking in comparing the Occupy Wall Street movement and the factory farming industry: both rally for the 99%! For Occupy, the 99% are of course the disenfranchised. For factory farming, the 99% are the percentage of all animals raised for food in this country, trapped inside of this exploitative and cruel system, forcing the taxpayers to foot the bill for their subsidies while keeping the public out of the negotiations.
The National Meat Association is considered “the voice” of the factory farming industry across the country. “Listen to factory farmers defend themselves and you would think they see the animals they raise and kill as their beloved family pets, ” writes Carter Dillard of The Animal Legal Defense Fund. But while pitching their “humane” PR spin, they are also in court asking the Supreme Court to strike down a California law that requires exactly the sort of basic humane treatment for farmed animals that factory farmers claim to want.
Advocates of sustainable agriculture are shocked by the recent discovery of significant financial connection between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and agribusiness titan Monsanto.
In August, a financial website published the Gates Foundation’s investment portfolio, which included recent purchases of 500,000 shares of Monsanto stock estimated to be worth over $23 million. (See the filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission).