Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Fear mongering and elections

I wasn't going to say much about Proposition 2 here, because it seems to me such a no-brainer. We've all seen the Meatrix, right? And we like the A in the LOAF acronym for ethical eating - Animal friendly?

But last night I heard an ad on television which made me very angry. It appealed to people's fear of food borne illness (bird flu!), it appealed to people's xenophobia (food from Mexico!) and it appealed to people's romantic notions of "farmers" - who would all be out of business.

Please, let's not call people who own CAFO's farmers, with all the farmer in the dell images the word conjures up. Watch the Meatrix again, to deromanticize your notion of industrial farming.

Here's the link to Oprah's exploration of the topic:

And here's a nice quotation from the Nicholas Kristof opinion piece that apparently got her going on this topic. (Think of him as a former Oregon farm boy who eats meat.)

"I draw the line at animals being raised in cruel conditions. The law punishes teenage boys who tie up and abuse a stray cat. So why allow industrialists to run factory farms that keep pigs almost all their lives in tiny pens that are barely bigger than they are?"

And one more resource. The National Conference of Churches Eco-justice unit has published a children's curriculum on "Sacred Food" with lots of info about animal cruelty. I just learned of this today, but will review it soon. You will need to go to their site and sign in to download it, an unfortunate feature of their work.

Finally, I just noted on the Prop 2 web site that United Farm Workers support Prop 2. If you can't think about animal rights, think about human rights, and the tremendous toll it takes on workers in CAFOs to disregard the life and comfort of animals day in and day out. Dakota by Martha Grimes was my least favorite book she's written, but the descriptions of the stench, the stress and the learned callousness of those working in a CAFO made me shudder.

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