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Saturday Links

  • eatinganimalsbookcoverOn Sunday, the New Yorker posted an in-depth review of Jon Safran Foer’s Eating Animals, titled ‘Flesh of Your Flesh: Should you eat meat?’.  To quote:

But is even veganism really enough? The cost that consumer society imposes on the planet’s fifteen or so million non-human species goes way beyond either meat or eggs. Bananas, bluejeans, soy lattes, the paper used to print this magazine, the computer screen you may be reading it on—death and destruction are embedded in them all. It is hard to think at all rigorously about our impact on other organisms without being sickened.

“Eating Animals” closes with a turkey-less Thanksgiving. As a holiday, it doesn’t sound like a lot of fun. But this is Foer’s point. We are, he suggests, defined not just by what we do; we are defined by what we are willing to do without. Vegetarianism requires the renunciation of real and irreplaceable pleasures. To Foer’s credit, he is not embarrassed to ask this of us.

  • Following on with Eating Animals, Katie Drummond interviewed Jon Safran Foer:

But the stance in your book seems to firmly draw the line on how we conceive of animals. How do you reconcile a non-vegan lifestyle with knowing what you do now about consuming animals and ‘animal products’?

Personally, I know that veganism is what I want to do. It makes the most sense to me. But, on a more general note, I think it’s important to remember that knowing is different than feeling. Reason plays a large part in how we consume, but it’s not everything. There are some very good, kind, upstanding people I know, who are aware of the facts, but who eat meat. That’s what makes this so complicated: how we consume overlaps with so many parts of our lives.

Still, my basic stance on the issue is, I’d say, forgiving – but still quite firm. I am transitioning to veganism, and I don’t like, run home and eat 1,000 eggs or something.

  • Change.org discusses how children ‘get it‘ about veganism, reports progress in Colorado highway design for the benefit of animals, and tells us that India is releasing 140 elephants into the wild.
  • Ships in the Hauraki Gulf are causing problems for Auckland’s whale population.
  • Ed Miller isn’t the only one writing about swine flu: Grist points out that it cropped up near US-owned pork factory farms in Mexico, and AnimalBlawg muses on how little people are learning from it.
  • phoca_thumb_l_David RMarineland in Napier is alleged to have illegally taken fur seals from the wild.
  • Three local councils in New South Wales have recently banned cage-farmed eggs; will New Zealand councils ever follow this lead from Australia?
  • Team Vegan in Auckland is entering the ADRA half marathon.
  • Animal Ethics continues its feature on ‘Moral Vegetarianism’, discussing the argument that eating animals brutalises a person whereas vegetarianism humanises.
  • Livestock emissions contribute to global warming, but they are also now the biggest threat to the ozone layer.
  • …plus, it seems that we may have underestimated the effect of methane – from livestock, mostly – on climate change by some 25 to 40 percent.

About David Tong

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


2 thoughts on “Saturday Links

  1. Foer’s book is getting an unusual amount of buzz, considering he’s covering terrain that’s fairly well travelled. The interesting part of the book from what I hear is that he looks at meat’s place in the American home on a symbolic and cultural level. I’ll have a look in December and see what’s up.

    Posted by Peter Sankoff | 15 November 2009, 10:18 am
  2. Sounds fascinating – you (Peter) mention that Foer examines the cultural legacy of meat consumption on the American home. This, to me, appears the most difficult thing to snap in trying to convert people. Problematically, when considering a plant-based diet, people automatically recognise that they are going against the grain, that they are opposing culture. These responses are extremely ingrained in our thought processes, far below the reasonable. As Terence McKenna said, culture is your operating system – it’s the framework upon which our thoughts begin, and accordingly it’s the most deep-rooted part of the global meat addiction. Of course this is especially bad in New Zealand as well as the US, since both countries have proud agricultural sectors. Perhaps that would make a good ongoing segment – looking at cultural practices that are informed by vegetables consumption, and how they can be better integrated within the community. Thoughts?

    Posted by Edward Miller | 16 November 2009, 6:56 am
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