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Saturday Link Roundup

  • Last week, Green is the New Red noted that the US agriculture industry is calling for prosecutions of undercover animal activists.  It seems that parts of the industry feel a little threatened by employees covertly videoing their operations and releasing the footage to animal rights groups.  And, rather than dealing with the atrocious welfare conditions exposed, they want the employees prosecuted.  Not fired, or sued for breach of contract, but prosecuted.  Madness.
  • On Tuesday, Al Jazeera reported that more than a third of 47,677 species studied by the IUCN are at serious risk of extinction.  17,291 species are under threat of extinction.  It’s important that we do not see animal rights issues in isolation.  Fighting for the liberation of farmed animals, but ignoring the risk of extinction faced by 21% of mammals seems to be missing the forest for the trees.

Seen in this light, the claim that NZ farmers ‘feed the world’ is really a bunch of disingenuous crap. Intensively growing animal protein is enormously profitable, but is ecologically destablising and destructive. It also produces a fraction of the food that growing plants would produce. In my view New Zealand needs to start planning how to move to a more plant based economy rather than continue to argue that we can’t cut GHG emissions (or improve water quality) because there are very limited ways to reduce emissions from livestock. I have a very effective method: reduce their numbers.

  • George Monbiot, who has long advocated eating less meat, discusses the reasons for climate change denial.
  • My colleague Emily is half-way through her month without meat, and finding it easier than expected (but isn’t a convert, yet).
  • Vegan Leo Babauta’s wildly successful lifestyle blog, Zen Habits, discusses the Anti-Fast Food Diet.
  • The Green Party’s Frogblog tells us to buy the ‘best’ fish, in terms of sustainability, entirely neglecting the most sustainable approach: Not eating fish.
  • On Sunday, SAFE launched their LovePigs TV advertisement campaign, and on Monday Mike King was back on Campbell Live about intensive pig farming.  The untruths in the pork industry apologist’s gibberish almost deserve a post of their own.
  • Phil Twyford supports SAFE’s campaign, even though the government signed off the relevant code of welfare while Labour held power; pity he didn’t come to the party a little earlier.
  • Hot on the heels of Campbell Live, 60 Minutes ran a story on Ric O’Barry, his documentary the Cove, and the Taiji dolphin slaughter.  The point that people can buy dolphin sandwiches while watching a dolphin show at a marine park is one of the most poignant examples of our moral schizophrenia about animals that I can conceive of.  The ending is probably familiar in a few ways for a lot of animal rights activists:

RIC O’BARRY: When you see what goes on in The Cove, it’s really difficult to sleep. When you see it, you can’t unsee it. Those images stay with you forever.

LIAM BARTLETT: Still give you nightmares?

RIC O’BARRY: Yeah. Yeah. I think about it all the time. We should get out of here before they call the police.

  • Scotland grows more cannabis than vegetables.
  • Sociological images notes the connection between rebranding fish with unpopular names and the collapse of fish populations.
  • Well, this is unexpected: Prince Philip and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon are hosting Windsor Castle’s first ever vegan banquet, because catering for nine different faiths would get a bit hard otherwise.
  • Luis Chiesa of Animal Blawg explains the oddity in accepting factory farming and banning bestiality.
  • Finally: Can anyone at all explain to me what possible justification anyone could have for giving the Meat Board and the Pork Industry Board the legal ‘powers to spy, bug conversations and hack into private computers’?  Ah.  Right.  Thought not.

About David Tong

Climate campaigner | Cyclist | Photographer | Vegan | Straight Edge || Views my own


2 thoughts on “Saturday Link Roundup

  1. Love the roundup in vegan news. Great job.
    Found Emily’s blog the most interesting – and as you can probably guess, I’m more sympathetic to her “meat culture” argument than you. I think she makes a valid point. BBQs and going out with friends can occasionally suck, mainly because we are surrounded by meat options that are more tasty than the non-meat ones. This goes back to my earlier blog point of the need for more vegans in order to get better vegan options. I agree with you that in many ways, it is easy enough to go vegan – if you care enough to do so, but I also see the point of it being hard. In Auckland, my wife and I hardly ever go out to eat these days, because we’re tired of the same old same old. Another reason we’re excited to head to Melbourne this week – but that’s for another blog. We cope with it because we care about the issues – a lot. But to turn around people who area on the fence, lukewarm, etc., the viability of alternatives is a significant point. You can continue to say “It’s easy, I have lots to eat, It’s possible to do” until you’re blue in the face – and I don’t disagree with you. But I feel dismissing the concerns of those who are concerned about good options is a mistake. I think we have a lot of work to do to address those options! Vegan advocacy and altering the balance of vegan options available is an important part of “the solution”.

    Just my two cents….

    Posted by Peter Sankoff | 9 November 2009, 3:19 pm
  2. Peter,

    I’m not unsympathetic to Emily’s position. When it comes to meat options being more tasty than vegan ones at BBQs, to be honest, I can’t remember whether the meat options were more tasty. I’m pretty sure that processed (bread) sausages and chicken nuggets taste worse than Fries schnitzel, and worse still than homemade chickpea patties, etc.

    The thing I found hilarious when Emily first said at work that she was tempted to hit a chicken nugget was that THAT was the meat that tempted her. I could understand more if it was a steak, or a good home-made burger pattie or whatever.

    I think this really comes back to culture and convenience. And that, I think, is one of the biggest barriers.

    However, I’m not entirely sure if vegan junk food options like fake meats are things that we entirely want to promote, especially when they’re heavily salted, processed as hell, and imported. I’m not sure if we want to simply encourage replacing a junk food omnivorous diet with a junk vegan diet!

    Posted by David Tong | 11 November 2009, 9:17 am
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