Practicing Non-Harming Toward Yourself and the World



CNN: Dog Meat

CNN: China might ban dog meat

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Anyone who refuses to eat dog or cat because it is “cruel” and yet will happily take a bite out of cow or pig, is a hypocrite. Cruelty is cruelty and suffering is suffering, regardless of how cute and adorable an animal is.

I hope that stories like this will get people thinking about where their food comes from, that a cow, chicken, pig, or duck is just as sentient and alive as a dog or cat. It’s time to stop eating meat, people!

EDIT: Sorry, I couldn’t get the video to embed properly. Just click the link to view the video.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Review

This is a very belated post. I finished reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life months ago, and I’ve been meaning to give a review.

The book is basically a memoir of Kingsolver and her family’s experience of living as very self-sufficient locavores over one year. They grew their own heirloom vegetables, baked their own bread, canned sauces and veggies, etc. For people who are passionate about knowing where their food originates and how it comes to their plate, this book would be an interesting read.

However, this wasn’t exactly a vegan-friendly read and it is hard for me to recommend it. The family raises their own poultry, and slaughters them in their backyard. Parts are relatively graphic. I do want to say one thing, however – I would much rather have people eating pasture-grazed meat than factory farmed. At the same time, though, it’s still completely unnecessary and cruel.

There is one major reason I don’t want to recommend this book too strongly: Kingsolver’s ridiculous rant on vegetarians and vegans. Up until page 220, I was very happy reading this book – after all, I worked at a farm market for six years and I love learning about how food is grown. But the few pages the author devotes to hating on vegetarians ruined the book for me. I wish I could reprint the whole section here, but here are a few excerpts:

Most of us, if we know even a little about where our food comes from, understand that every bite put into our mouths since infancy was formerly alive. The blunt biological truth is that we animals can only remain alive by eating other life. Plants are inherently more blameless, having been born with the talent of whipping up their own food… Strangely enough, it’s the animals to which we’ve assigned some rights, while the saintly plants we main and behead with moral impunity.

To believe we can live without taking life is delusional. Humans may only cultivate nonviolence in our diets by degree.

I’m unimpressed by arguments that condemn animal harvest while ignoring, wholesale, the animal killing that underwrites vegetal foods. Uncountable deaths by pesticide and habitat removal – the beetles and bunnies that die collaterally for our bread and veggie-burgers – are lives plumb wasted. … without it [animals for food] our gentle domestic beasts in their picturesque shapes, colors, and finely tuned purposes would never have had the distinction of existing. To envision a vegan version of civilization, start erasing from all time the Three Little Pigs, the boy who cried wolf, Charlotte’s Web, … Next, erase civilization, brought to you by the people who learned to domesticate animals.

Emphasis mine.

Those are just a few things Kingsolver says. Her argument is weak at best. She uses as ammunition a few points that anti-vegetarians have been saying for years: plants have feelings, there wouldn’t be pigs if it weren’t for people eating meat, blah blah blah. I don’t think I can express how disappointed I was in Barbara Kingsolver as I read those words. Like I said before, it ruined the book for me.

Plants do not have a central nervous system. Nor do they have a brain with which to process feelings. Therefore, they do not feel pain and are not sentient. The plant argument is tired and redundant and unfounded in science. I wish people would stop using it. It’s hard for me to take someone seriously who even brings it up.

Also, how were animals domesticated? Humans took them out of the wild and bred them. Without humans, there would still be animals, although they wouldn’t be quite what we have today. Another silly claim.

Otherwise, I enjoyed the book. I love food, and I love how it is grown. I just hope people don’t read it and believe the myths Kingsolver puts forward about veg*nism.

Tyson Lying About “Antibiotic-Free” Label


Although Tyson Foods has been selling their meat products under the antibiotic-free label, it turns out that their claim is in fact not true. It turns out that Tyson has been injecting antibiotics into unhatched chicks, and the USDA is not too happy about it. However, Tyson feels that their practice is alright, and they are actually suing the USDA in order to keep their antibiotic-free label.

According to Natural News, this is not the first time Tyson has had issues with the USDA for not keeping their antibiotic-free promise:

After Tyson began labeling its chicken antibiotic-free, the USDA warned the company that such labels were not truthful, because Tyson regularly treats its birds’ feed with bacteria-killing ionophores. Tyson argued that ionophores are antimicrobials rather than antibiotics, but the USDA reiterated its policy that “ionophores are antibiotics.”

People have the right to know what they are putting into their bodies, and the false claims made by Tyson and other food (including but not limited to meat) companies only serve to frustrate and confuse consumers. For example, the “Natural” label on a product is practically meaningless. There are some strong requirements for selected foods, such as certified organic products, but the labels do not yet go far enough. We need strict guidelines that let the customer know exactly what they are getting with a product, such as labels that explicitly explain what “cage-free” and “free range” mean.


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