|Enewsletter • May 23, 2006|
Notes from Vegan Outreach
Full text here; excerpts:
There have been a number of recent books that address where our food comes from. Of these, The Omnivore’s Dilemma has been doing the best by far, both in terms interviews, media exposure, and sales. It is not hard to imagine why. By saying Omnivore right on the cover, Pollan makes it clear: Not a vegetarian! I still eat meat! Which book is more likely to receive favorable treatment by the meat-eating establishment?
It could be argued that Pollan is reaching new people with descriptions of factory farming that people like Singer, Goodall, and Marcus won’t reach. As we’ve written, "When it comes to advocating for the animals, people are looking for a reason to ignore us – no one sits around thinking, 'Wow, I really want to give up all my favorite foods and isolate myself from my friends and family!'" So it is unlikely that a large number of people are going to buy and read a book that says they need to become a vegetarian.
Yet the vast majority of Pollan’s readers are not likely to decide to eat only "humane" meat -- it is hard to find and requires a real commitment. What his readers get is: "There is this huge problem on factory farms, but humans need to eat meat for many reasons. You certainly don’t want to be a vegetarian!"
This is the main failure of the "humane meat" argument: like the "health argument," it is not strong enough to keep most people from falling back into the convenient status quo. While books like Singer’s are important for a number of reasons (look for a review here next issue), we need to take the animals' case right to people, in its genuine graphic, gruesome entirety.
At right, Susan Eakins leaflets at the University of Montana; photo by Hillary Endorf.
Events in Austin This Week
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Products of the Week
Jana Wilson: "I nominate Tree Huggin Treats! They are organic and vegan and super fantastic!"
Susan Kline: "Boca original and spicy Chik'n Patties are now vegan. They are wonderful panfried and placed on a bun with Veganaise, lettuce and tomato. They can also be sliced and added to a stir fry. I'm so glad they changed the recipe! Be sure to read the ingredients right now because some of the older boxes might still be on the shelves and contain egg whites."
Notes from All Over
excerpt: "Two years ago, Tracye and her sister, Marya, had already set up a website, blackvegetarians.org, in response to a torrent of questions from friends and relatives about vegetarian recipes, nutritional requirements for a balanced diet, and, the big question: What about soul food? As quiet as it’s kept, there are also Black vegetarian societies in Texas, Florida and Ohio."
excerpt: "The pigs' piercing screams could be heard above the rush of traffic on the busy street and numerous idling police vehicles and fire trucks. Local firefighters attempted to relieve the extreme heat in the truck by spraying the pigs down a few times, but the screams and bellowing intensified as hours passed."