Friday, March 2, 2012

A Vegan sides with Big Ag?! On this issue, yes!

I'm going to add this edit to the post right up on the top.  I'm still not sure but here's another very valid side of the equation to think about.

My conversation with Dr. Michael Greger:

This weekend I was an Emcee  at the New York City Vegetarian Food Festival.  I had the opportunity to spend a few minutes with Dr. Michael Greger.  Dr. Greger is the Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture at the Humane Society of the United States and among other things has a website with daily vegan health tips at and his own website at  Dr. Greger's speaking fees and proceeds from the sale of his DVDS are all donated to charity.

First I'd like to thank Dr. Greger for spending some time with me.  In our short conversation his premise was that if we limited the amount of antibiotics that the factory farming meat industry was allowed to administer it would result in several things happening.  First the industry would have to change their practices.  They now use massive doses of antibiotics to counteract the illnesses resulting from the overcrowded and miserable conditions they force the animals to live under.  Limiting the antibiotics would mean they would have to change the hygienics of their facilities or "process" few animals or at least change, in some way, the disease breeding conditions causing the need for such mega-doses.  Dr. Greger made the case that the second result of antibiotic restriction would be an increase in price.  Price sensitive commodities result in fewer sales.  Fewer sales result in fewer animals being killed as demand decreases.

I can see this side of the argument and it has a degree of validity.  I'm still of the opinion that the best way to change the world is to make a vegan out of someone who is not.  I do this by basically rebutting the objections that people throw out there for eating animals.  There is an economic argument for going vegan but it's a hard sell to the mom who needs to feed her family and fast food restaurants are offering a 99 cent menu.  If this goes up to $2.00 will people go to Hale and Hearty for a veggie soup?  I don't know.  Will the person who doesn't shirk at paying $39 per pound of their beef tenderloin really not buy it anymore?  Will the person who eats steak just switch to cheaper ground beef?  I don't know the answers to these questions but there definitely will be a consumer shift or some sort.

If we continue to allow the big ag industry to pump those poor creatures with as much antibiotics as they desire and we continue to expose the health risks of eating animals, (in addition to the outcry which should ensue from a public health standpoint), will we get people to CHANGE THEIR WAY OF THINKING AND HENCE THEIR DIETS?  I think in economic terms that as time goes on manufacturing operations increase in efficiency and economies of scale drive prices lower.  Even if meat prices rise in the short term and consumption is reduced, if the reason for a shift away from meat is economic, rather than ethical or health wise, than two factors will result in "consumption equilibrium" returning to where it is now.  Long term efficiencies will reduce prices once again and people traditionally over time will make more money and be able to afford higher priced meat.  If we encourage people to shift towards a plant based diet because of health reasons, (not to mention environmental concerns or compassion), then no matter what price the animal on the shelf it won't be purchased.

Here's my original post:

A vegan sides with big agriculture.

I recently received this from CREDO Action.  Although I do add my name to many of the causes brought up by the organization, I will NOT sign this petition.  The disgusting conditions 98% of the animals slaughtered for food endure, (which is why they need megadoses of antibiotics in the first place ... and lets not even talk about the hormone cocktails they're given), is reason enough to stop eating them.  Go vegan.  Eat more plants and stop worrying about antibiotics in your food.  I will not vote to make your animal meal healthier or try and reduce the guilt you may feel in causing a needless death of a sentient being.  I'm less worried about the abuse of antibiotics than I am about the abuse, (read killing), of sentient, innocent beings.

Any change in the care taking of animals destined for the dinner table, short of abolishing their use, is a travesty.  It allows people to continue to justify eating them and I will not be a party to helping in that justification.

Those justifications really don't matter.  They range from such nonsense as, "Well, they had a good life, just one bad day," to justify so called "humane" treatment of farm animals, which in their minds makes the needless killing OK, to "They were put on earth for our benefit," in which case I say that so were the antibiotics put here and those businessmen who over use them for profit put here and the disease which kills your fellow man because we've taken an incredibly effective medical tool, (antibiotics), and diluted it to the point of ineffectiveness, all so you can have a steak or bacon?  Are you out of your friggin' minds?

If you're worried about disease then you should listen to Dr. Michael Greger speak about our creation of a world where we are a hair's breath away from pandemics:

Or read his interview with Kathy Freston about Bird Flu here:

There is only one solution to reversing this unimaginable course we've set the earth on and that is going vegan.  Not reducing antibiotics, not humanely treating animals before they are killed, not giving egg laying hens 4 more inches to live in.  No.  There are a lot of reasons to not eat animals but if you're worried about the effectiveness of antibiotics,  and how much is in your food and whether or not you can trust big ag ... you should do one simple thing.  Stop eating animals.

Here's the Credo Action page:

Deadline Tuesday: Stop factory farms from abusing antibiotics

Cephalosporins are a critically important class of antibiotics that are key to treating bacterial meningitis, salmonella, children, and the seriously ill in hospitals.
But factory farms and Big Ag companies are putting the effectiveness of cephalosporins at risk through overuse in livestock.
The FDA is poised to stop this practice at factory farms - but Big Ag is pushing back hard. We have until Tuesday to go on the record in support of new limits to stop factory farms from abusing antibiotics.
Submit a public comment now supporting the FDA's recent decision to limit cephalosporin use in factory farming.
Today, factory farms give cephalosporins to almost all broiler chickens before they hatch, whether they have infections or not. Factory farms also use the drugs large-scale to fight infections in cows and pigs.
In the absence of FDA regulation, this off-label overuse has led to an increase in the development of cephalosporin-resistant bacteria in animal populations.
The links between antibiotic use in factory farming and the increase in antibiotic-resistant bacteria are clear. So it's simple: the more these drugs are used in animals, the less effective they will be in humans.
And because these drugs are especially important for treating children -- they carry no warnings against pediatric use -- the risk to our kids of cephalosporin-resistant bacteria is significant.
If we want antibiotics to work for us when we need them, we have to to stop their misuse and overuse in farming.
Submit a public comment now supporting the FDA's recent decision to limit cephalosporin use in factory farming.
The FDA plan would limit the use of cephalosporins in food animal production. It's not the first time they've tried to put such a rule in place. An attempt in 2008 failed when the FDA was flooded with comments from veterinarians, farmers and drug companies opposing the ban. We need to make sure that doesn't happen again. The FDA clearly wants to act, but they need to be able to show that thousands of us are behind their actions.
The FDA's new rule against off-label uses of cephalosporin, which bans routine injections of cephalosporins into chicken eggs and large and lengthy dosing in cattle and swine, but allows smaller dosing under veterinary supervision and usage in animals like ducks and rabbits.
It is a small step but an important one, in protecting this class of antibiotics, and putting the brakes on the overuse of antibiotics in factory farming.
If the FDA can successfully regulate cephalosporins, it's a foothold to go after bigger wins, including finalizing a guideline proposed in 2010 focused on putting a stop to the use of antibiotics solely to promote growth or to compensate for animals' unsanitary living conditions.
Thank you for taking action by Tuesday to fight dangerous antibiotic abuse by factory farms.

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