All Posts Tagged With: "vegetarianism"
Lincoln was a truly great politician and president–with qualities of decency and morality–kindness, sensitivity, compassion, honesty, and empathy. After recently reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, I recognized that Lincoln’s morality included a duty to animals. I think he believed in animal rights.
Let me share an excerpt of Goodwin’s book:
“The melancholy stamped on
In a political speech,
I also found quotes online from
“I care not for a man’s religion whose dog or cat is not the better for it…I am in favor of animal rights as well as human rights. That is the way of a whole human being.”
“I could not have slept to-night if I had left that helpless little creature to perish on the ground. (reply to friends who chided him for delaying them by stopping to return a fledgling to its nest.)”
(Other famous vegetarians: Einstein, Aristotle, Darwin, Kant, Thoreau, Tolstoy, Da Vinci, Plato, Socrates, Rosa Parks, Corretta Scott King, Susan B. Anthony, van Gogh, Voltaire, Edison, Emerson, Henry Ford, Gandhi, Steve Jobs, Kafka, Martin Luther, Newton, Pythagorus, Rousseau, Upton Sinclair, Mark Twain, Kellog, and possibly Franklin, Jefferson, and Paine.)
For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, PETA just announced a $1,000,000 (1 million) prize for the first scientist who can grow chicken meat in a test tube and make it commercially viable.
“PETA is offering a $1 million prize to the contest participant able to make the first in vitro
chicken meat and sell it to the public by June 30, 2012. The contestant must do both of the following:
• Produce an in vitro chicken-meat product that has a taste and texture indistinguishable from real chicken flesh to non-meat-eaters and meat-eaters alike.
• Manufacture the approved product in large enough quantities to be sold commercially, and successfully sell it at a competitive price in at least 10 states.”
Okay, so first off I’m going to go at it from an economic point of view. A million dollars, really? Is that all? I imagine that developing technology to mass market test tube meats would cost tens of millions. A million sounds like a tiny drop in the bucket.
From a purely culinary standpoint this is disgusting. I don’t know about any of the rest of you, but to eat real free range chicken that’s walked around and eaten worms and corn is quite a treat. There’s not much meat. It’s a little tough, but it’s also incredibly flavorful in ways that store bought chicken from chickens that have spent their entire lives in tiny cages just isn’t. I imagine test tube meat would be even more flabby and uniformly flavorless.
EEEWWW. Does no one else fine the concept of eating meat grown in a test tube revolting? I’ve recently become a vegetarian – okay, well a 95% vegetarian, I’ll still eat meat to avoid offending someone or when there aren’t many options – and my rationale wasn’t animal cruelty. If a group is concerned with animal cruelty, pointing out the conditions the animals are raised in and lobbying for more sustainable practices or offering attractive vegetarian alternatives seems the way to go. Developing meat in a test tube sorta doesn’t.
Test tube meat seems to offer something for nothing. We get meat without hurting the animals. We get meat presumably without the methane. We get meat. I’m not going to lie, meat is pretty damn tasty, but really? Test tubes? I’m all for sustainable agriculture and a shift away from factory farming. I actually wouldn’t mind having a chicken coop for eggs like my dad used to when my sisters were kids. People and livestock animals have a symbiotic relationship and this would completely destroy that relationship. There wouldn’t be a cow if humans hadn’t engineered them from Aurochs. There wouldn’t be any of these animals, especially at the numbers they currently exist, if we hadn’t taken the most docile specimens of the original stock and selectively bred them for stupidity, fatness, and docility.
This wouldn’t really help the animals, without the need for meat, we wouldn’t have the need for the animals. I suppose the next project would be eggs and milk from floating udders or something. I’m not religious, but this strikes me as profoundly against the laws of all gods and nature. Meat is supposed to come from a living thing. You eat the flesh of another you gain its strength and all that. I’m not defending the status quo, I think it’s pretty bad. But test tubes seem like going from bad to worse.
Imagine a world where one private company holds the patent rights to your chicken or your beef. Ok well the beef thing is sort of true alreday. Something like 90% of all Holstein cows (our black and white dairy cows) are descended from two bulls. That’s a disaster waiting to happen, but anyway. Maybe I’m paranoid, but if they started marketing test tube meat I would either want strict labeling or I’d never eat meat again, even at the risk of being “that guy” at dinners.
Efforts should be focused elsewhere. On improving the conditions of raising livestock. Encouraging people to eat less meat. Phasing out subsidies on feedstock to make the price of meat reflect the actual costs of production, thereby assisting in #2. Helping people raise their own livestock so they see the value of that succulent chicken breast as they feed and eventually kill their own chicken.
Here’s an interesting tidbit from a Slate article on whether veganism or vegetarianism is better for the environment. After the writer discusses a University of Chicago study which concluded that purely as a matter of greenhouse gas emissions, veganism is the best route, he continues:
But Eshel [the co-author of the study] hastens to add…that your vegan acquaintance isn’t necessarily some environmental saint. That’s because direct carbon dioxide emissions are only part of the story when it comes to food’s eco-impact. You also have to look at the issue of land use—specifically how much and what sort of land is required to sustain an agricultural enterprise. In a region with poor-to-mediocre soil, for example, it may be more efficient to operate a well-managed egg farm than to try growing vegetables that can’t flourish under such conditions. And animals are handy at consuming low-quality grain that isn’t necessarily fit for human consumption. (Rather than going to waste, that grain can help create nutrient-rich dairy products.) In fact, a recent Cornell University study concluded that modest carnivorousness may actually be better for the environment than outright vegetarianism, since cattle can graze on inferior land not suitable for crops. Squeezing more calories out of the land means that less food needs be imported from elsewhere, thereby reducing the burning of fossil fuels.
Just something to chew over (ha?).