28 February 2008

Ban Snares

Here is an interesting and useful website.

25 February 2008

From Today's New York Times

To the Editor:

Your Feb. 21 editorial “The Biggest Beef Recall Ever” made some excellent points. Unfortunately, in a nation of more than 300 million people, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to produce enough wholesome food for everyone, especially as we start using our agricultural prowess to fuel our monstrous fleet of S.U.V.’s.

Even “factory” agriculture has its limits. At the same time connections between the food industry and government agencies like the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration have become so incestuous that we should expect little from them.

As nutritionists have repeatedly pointed out, the government can no longer even produce a “food pyramid” that makes any sense for fear of irritating some agricultural special-interest group.

If we cannot separate government from economic special-interest groups, then we will continue down the same path we are on. Common sense tells us not to put the foxes in charge of the henhouse, but politicians repeatedly deny common sense in favor of the needs of special-interest groups.

Gary L. Peters
Paso Robles, Calif., Feb. 21, 2008

To the Editor:

The correct response to “The Biggest Beef Recall Ever” is to not just be appalled and sickened at the horrifying treatment of living beings at the Westland/Hallmark Meat Company plant, but to realize that this is almost certainly just the tip of the iceberg, that not just cows are being tortured, but pigs, turkeys, chickens, calves and sheep.

And it is not just at the slaughterhouses but at the factory farms where these animals are tortured from the very beginning of their lives to the horrible end.

Indeed, we have not come far from Upton Sinclair’s “Jungle.” What we do to animals shows how we feel about other species. If we must eat conscious beings, we must show them respect.

Bertha Rogers
Delhi, N.Y., Feb. 21, 2008

To the Editor:

You rightly capture the magnitude of the problem of ensuring safe food products. You suggest that Senator Richard Durbin and Representative Rosa DeLauro’s idea of a single agency devoted solely to food safety is a worthy first step. Perhaps. Yet not mentioned is a simple step that will go a long way toward ensuring compliance with our already lax slaughterhouse requirements: Place video cameras throughout the kill process. The live feed can be monitored by any and all who are willing to watch.

The vast number of meat eaters brake for geese, call the A.S.P.C.A. if they see a mistreated dog, and shudder to see a wounded deer in the road. So why would they not insist that the cow that became their steak was treated humanely? I think most would, enthusiastically. And as the slaughtering of animals is not high tech, certainly no trade secrets would be at risk with the imposition of cameras.

This physical evidence of properly handled cattle would go a long way toward ensuring healthier meat while lifting the shared burden that comes with consigning millions of animals yearly to a terrifyingly cruel death.

Jonathan Spitz
Westfield, N.J., Feb. 21, 2008

To the Editor:

The biggest beef recall ever is something that would be expected as our food industry becomes more consolidated into larger and larger processing companies. Back in the olden days of the family farm we never knew about the occurrence of food-related illness because we did not have a way of tracking it.

Today, because of the consolidation of the industry, all of our trains are barreling down the same tracks, and it takes only one critical contamination to cause a disaster. Over all, our food supply is much safer today than ever. Vigilance in our food system is critical because bacterial pathogens will change and new ones will emerge.

We currently have a good system of tracking pathogens after they have entered the food supply and caused disease. The federal government needs to recommit itself to putting boots on the ground in America and elsewhere to inspect and protect our food supply. We cannot allow food-processing businesses to disregard safety standards without financial and criminal retribution.

Thomas Richard
Concord, N.H., Feb. 21, 2008

22 February 2008

Canis Lupus

Here is a New York Times story about gray wolves, who are no longer on the protected list in Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming. If you haven't read Barry Holstun Lopez's 1978 book Of Wolves and Men, you should do so. It changed my life.

20 February 2008


Here is the latest attempt to categorize animals in terms of their usefulness to humans. Remember: Weeds don't think of themselves as weeds.

17 February 2008


If you eat beef, why not use the latest beef recall to disavow it? It will be good for you; it will be good for your children (if any); it will be good for the environment; it will be good for other human beings; and, most importantly, it will be good for the cows.

Addendum: This book by Peter Singer and Jim Mason should inspire you as you change your diet.

16 February 2008

Becoming Vegetarian

Read this blog post and its comments.


Here is Greg Boyd's fifth reason for becoming a vegetarian.

15 February 2008

Deer v. Cars

New Jersey is thinning its deer herd. How many of you oppose this? What would you do instead?

14 February 2008

From the Mailbag


I thought this article may be of interest to you.



Here is Andrew Revkin's latest post at Dot Earth.

13 February 2008

Meat and Romance

Here is a New York Times story about mixed couples, and no, I'm not talking about race, religion, or politics.

From the Mailbag

Hi guys,

I wanted to let you know about an article in today's Forward that may be of interest for your blog. An inside look at South American kosher slaughterhouses where Israel gets most of its meat is the subject of a new PETA tape released exclusively to the influential American Jewish newspaper, the Forward. According to the article by Nathaniel Popper, PETA and Israel animal rights group Concern for Helping Animals, have tried to address this “shackle and hoist” process, approved by the Orthodox Union but has made little headway.


10 February 2008

Vegan Talk

Here is a blog for your consideration. I will add it to the blogroll.

Peter Singer on Animal Rights

Why is it surprising that I have little to say about the nature of rights? It would only be surprising to one who assumes that my case for animal liberation is based upon rights and, in particular, upon the idea of extending rights to animals. But this is not my position at all. I have little to say about rights because rights are not important to my argument. My argument is based on the principle of equality, which I do have quite a lot to say about. My basic moral position (as my emphasis on pleasure and pain and my quoting Bentham might have led Fox to suspect) is utilitarian. I make very little use of the word 'rights' in Animal Liberation, and I could easily have dispensed with it altogether. I think that the only right I ever attribute to animals is the "right" to equal consideration of interests, and anything that is expressed by talking of such a right could equally well be expressed by the assertion that animals' interests ought to be given equal consideration with the like interests of humans. (With the benefit of hindsight, I regret that I did allow the concept of a right to intrude into my work so unnecessarily at this point; it would have avoided misunderstanding if I had not made this concession to popular moral rhetoric.)

(Peter Singer, "The Fable of the Fox and the Unliberated Animals," Ethics 88 [January 1978]: 119-25, at 122)

08 February 2008

From the Mailbag

Your blog looks really terrific. I am checking out as many animal rights blogs as I can. I started a blog a few days ago. It's still very new for me, and hopefully will evolve into something interesting and helpful. I thought maybe you'd be interested to check it out.


06 February 2008

Michael Fox on Vegetarianism

The strongest part of [Peter] Singer's case against meat eating is his brief discussion of the world food crisis. It is a patent truth that by any conceivable health standards most North Americans are overfed. More specifically, they eat far more meat than is necessary to maintain adequate nutrition. Surely some of the excess food they consume should be distributed, in some form, to the starving millions of the world. One can only agree. Modern livestock farming on a grand scale also wastes a colossal amount of feed grains on animals which, in times past, would simply have fed off the land. Even if, contrary to fact, none of this feed grain could be used to nourish humans elsewhere in the world, at least the land which yields the grain could be sown with high-protein-yielding crops, such as soybeans, according to Singer. There is no doubt a good deal of truth in this last point as well, and we are here presented with a serious moral problem concerning the world food supply. But even this fails to establish a case for vegetarianism. All it establishes is that we should eat far less meat so that factory farms become obsolete and that, in conjunction with this, arable land should be turned over to the production of high-protein crops, where possible, so that world hunger can be alleviated somewhat.

(Michael Fox, "'Animal Liberation': A Critique," Ethics 88 [January 1978]: 106-18, at 116-7)

05 February 2008

Ends and Means

Somebody explain to me how this helps animals.

01 February 2008


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