Agribusiness insists that manure is necessary for commercial farming and animal products are essential to our health. It’s a case of the fox, not just minding the hen house, but also trying to teach us something contrary to biology 101 where we learned that only true carnivores require the flesh of animals for health and survival. But what to make of their claim that manure is essential for fertilizing soil? McWilliams points to the veganic farming movement as the signs of a future of farming without animal exploitation.
Let’s ask ourselves the painfully honest question: If animals are their first love, why have they not become animal protection advocates? Lord knows the 10 billion farm animals killed every year in the US need as much protection as they can get. If they really care about animals so much, why focus on a “humane” food market that impacts a mere 1 to 2% of all farm animals in this country? Why not instead join the animal protection movement to combat the largest and most egregious injustices to the largest number of animals? Why instead attack these groups for exposing animal abuse cases and advocating tougher regulation for the industry? These are just some of the questions I ask myself about the sustainable farmer’s true intentions.
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.
Yes, it appears that most people are “very removed from” the meat they eat. Well, not from the meat, obviously, but from the animals to whom the meat was once attached. This removal dates to the mid- 20th century, when animals raised for food in Western countries disappeared from barnyards into factory farms.
Is Zuckerberg’s statement to Fortune magazine about becoming his own butcher a reflection of moral courage in the face of status quo cowardice? Not if moral courage means challenging our assumptions and using our critical thinking caps. He has challenged one important assumption of modern farming and determined that factory farming is morally reprehensible. But he stops there, falling prey to the other common assumptions we make about food and sustainability.
It seems like a biotech scientist’s dream to discover a technology that solves almost all of the the major problems that animal agriculture now faces: greenhouse gas emissions, air and water pollution, factory farms and slaughterhouses, and inefficient land use resulting in loss of biodiversity. According to one of the leading researchers spearheading the technology, biologist Vladimir Mironov, “The growth of “cultured” or in-vitro meat may be a vital step towards solving the global food crisis and fighting hunger in the future.” He points out that we are already running out of agricultural land in certain parts of the world.
On November 17, the United States has an opportunity to join the international community in protecting Atlantic bluefin tuna by speaking out at the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT). Atlantic bluefin tuna is one of the world’s favorite fish. Unfortunately, fishing pressure on these once plentiful marine animals has pushed them to the brink of collapse.