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Author Topic:   Lay off the Meat!!!
AbsintheDragonfly
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Posts: 2143
From: Gaia
Registered: Apr 2010

posted September 16, 2010 04:59 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for AbsintheDragonfly     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
http://bigthink.com/ideas/23968

Novelist Jonathan Safran Foer wants you to stop eating meatónot because he cares about the fluffy animals, but because it's killing the environment. In his Big Think interview Foer shared with us just how devastating the factory farm industry is, something he learned while researching his first work of non-fiction, "Eating Animals." "Animal agriculture is the number one cause of global warming, and yet very few people, including people who are normally quite political and quite moral and moralizing, talk about it. And even fewer people act on their concerns about where food comes from."

The reason changing Americans' eating habits is so difficult is because eating meat is ingrained in our cultural narratives as Americans. "Food is not just fact and itís not just reason; itís culture, itís personal identity," Foer says. "Itís what our parents and our grandparents fed us, it's how we think of ourselves, and itís always attached to some kind of a story. And that confuses things. The Thanksgiving turkey confuses things. The Christmas ham confuses things. Every family has its own version."

And creating a new narrative that excludes meat will be tough largely because Americans are subsidized to eat this way. American farm subsidies lower the price of meat while encouraging inhumane and environmentally damaging farming practices, so much so that the real cost of a 50-cent hamburger, factoring in environmental costs, is actually $200. Plus, the subsidies hamstring farmers that use traditional, non-industrial methods of farming: "We have now created an economic system which is very advantageous to feed animals unnaturally, house them unnaturally, and raise genetic stocks that are destined for illness," Foer says. "And the small farmers, who are really the heroes of my book, farmers at places like Niman Ranch, farmers like Frank Reese at Good Shepard, farmers like Paul Willis, are at a severe economic disadvantage for doing things the right way; for being environmentally responsible; for treating their animals like animals rather than like rocks or pieces of wood."

Foer told us that change is very necessary but possible, debunking the idea that factory farming is necessary to feed the nearly 7 billion inhabitants of earth. This idea is "not only untrue, itís the opposite of the truth," he says. "It takes seven calories of food input into an animal to produce one calorie of food output. Itís an extraordinarily inefficient way to produce food." And if the Chinese and Indians begin to eat like American do, which has been the trend in the developing world, "we're going to have to farm twice as many animals as we do now." That would amount to 100 billion animals every year.

Foer also spoke to us about his fiction work, telling us that he values the freedom of fiction but that the same freedom is what makes fiction so difficult. And he gave us his take on the film adaptation of his debut novel "Everything Is Illuminated" as well as his thoughts about the form of the novel in the age of the iPad. Literature has always been "slower than the other art forms to grapple with technological and cultural changes...and I think that's one of the things that people love so much about it," he said. Whereas music and the visual arts have changed dramatically in the past 100 years, literature has remained largely the same. "Maybe it's been the saving grace of literature to be so conservative," Foer muses. "But maybe it will contribute to its death."

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katatonic
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Posts: 6012
From:
Registered: Apr 2009

posted September 16, 2010 05:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for katatonic     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
one way i have been contributing to this effort is by boycotting mcdonalds, burger king and all their ilk, for the last 40 odd years...


but seriously you can reduce your intake of meat DRASTICALLY and still enjoy it AND help cut back on the factory farm phenomenon. no one needs a quarter pound of meat every day let alone every meal!!! no one needs meat every day at ALL!

however a TINY bit of meat can make a big meal more satisfying so i don't think i will be giving it up completely in the foreseeable future. when i met my husband if he didn't see meat on the plate he didn't think he was being properly fed. if there were potatoes there had to be ketchup.

he still eats fish but hasn't had landgrown meat of any description for 25 years. casseroles, stews and salads are great ways to make a little bit go a long way. and pasta/rice dishes too.

in the meantime it is heartening to see people understanding that those salmonella eggs were generated in FACTORY farms, that cows take a lot of space, eat a lot of grass and poop a lot of methane! etc. on a smaller scale they are a boon to the environment, but as we are going now i agree, they are a threat.

and if you want any good food at all to be left on the planet, please read my post in HAH, LLC and GU and speak up!!

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pire
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Registered: Apr 2009

posted September 23, 2010 12:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for pire     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
"the small farmers, who are really the heroes of my book, farmers at places like Niman Ranch, farmers like Frank Reese at Good Shepard, farmers like Paul Willis, are at a severe economic disadvantage for doing things the right way; for being environmentally responsible; for treating their animals like animals rather than like rocks or pieces of wood."

I completely agree with this

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Randall
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Posts: 4442
From: The Goober Galaxy
Registered: Apr 2009

posted January 07, 2011 07:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Randall     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
*bump*

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"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." Charles Schultz

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NickiG
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Posts: 2649
From: Pluto, next to Ami Ann
Registered: Jul 2010

posted January 07, 2011 10:32 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for NickiG     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
.......i didnt read much of this, but what i did read i understand that persons point of view...but if i were to make a discussion out of this i would say that humans are carnivorous so meat is meant to be in our diets....me personally i LOVE meat and would rather die before i eliminate it from my life, lol

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put your foot down once, not stomp it over and over

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LoVeLy
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Posts: 37
From:
Registered: May 2009

posted January 11, 2011 12:50 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for LoVeLy     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I love this quote > Vegetarian because my body is not a GRAVEYARD

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