|Enewsletter • July 8, 2002|
Welcome to New Members
A big hello to everyone who joined Vegan Outreach at AR2002 it was great to meet so many new, committed people. If you didn't make it to Washington, Jack Norris will be at Summerfest. Stop by and say hi!
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Time Magazine Cover Stories: Should We All Be Vegetarians?
"FIVE REASONS TO EAT MEAT:
"Oh, sorry ... those are five reasons to smoke cigarettes...."
The other side gets in their licks and raises unanswered questions:
"The other reason for beef eating is, hold on, ethicala matter of animal rights.... One study showed that simply mowing an alfalfa field caused a 50% reduction in the gray-tailed vole population. Mortality rates increase with each pass of the tractor to plow, plant and harvest.... By contrast, grazing (not grain-fed) ruminants such as cattle produce food and require fewer entries into the fields with tractors and other equipment. Applying (and upending) [Professor Tom] Regan's least-harm theory, [professor of animal science at Oregon State University Steven] Davis proposes a ruminant-pasture model of food production, which would replace poultry and pork production with beef, lamb and dairy products. According to his calculations, such a model would result in the deaths of 300 million fewer animals annually (counting both field animals and cattle) than would a completely vegan model."
"The moral: there is no free lunch, not even if it's vegetarian."
Following the terrible new Farm Bill, another bitter disappointment. What does it say when McDonald's is the leader in animal welfare in the U.S.?
Better News Overseas
"As farmed animal advocacy continues to emerge as the most important animal rights issue today, more and more attention is being focused on the egg industry. ... This investigation, like other recent egg factory farm investigations, is intended to expose the cruelty inherent in commercial egg production and to ask consumers to take stand against such abuse by refusing to buy eggs."
Excerpts from Vegan is as Vegan Does
by Matt Ball
When one replaces the question, "Is it vegan?" with "Does it reduce suffering?" the answers are not clear. Just a few examples:
What is the best way to spend money? For example, should you pay more for organic products, or save money and put it towards activism?
What is the best way to earn money? Should you work for an animal-protection group, or try to maximize your income to fund activism? Or should you work in a different field that could lead to a major payoff, such as perfecting the process for a cheaper meat substitute? Or growing animal-free meat? Etc.
What about legislative reform, such as those enacted in the European Union? Or corporate reform, such as those brought about from the outside (the PeTA / McDonald's agreement) or the inside (the BK Veggie Burger)? Or industry reform from the inside?
In terms of activism, there are even more questions. Is it best to promote veganism or vegetarianism, assuming more people will respond to the latter? Or attempt to reduce the worst areas by focusing on pigs, poultry, and eggs?
Even if one decides that, given the distribution of efforts throughout society today, promoting veganism is the best approach, questions remain. For example, what is the best use of our limited time and resources? Leafleting? Building a FaunaVision van or Faunette? Seeking to get stories in the media?
After many years, I have no clear answers to these (or other) questions. In fact, I don't even know how to go about approaching many of them, given the variables and uncertainties. However, I believe the best strategy is to be honest about the unknowns. I don't know how anyone can believe they have all the answers, and I think that many people are distrustful of people who present themselves as omniscient. I think it is relatively easy for most to dismiss others trying to "convert" them to a rule-based dogma or religion, but if issues are presented as fundamentally about trying to prevent suffering, it is harder for people to ignore.