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 www.nutritionfacts.org and his own website at www.veganmd.org. 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: