In a review of Jeffrey Masson’s latest book, Sang to the Moon: The Emotional World of Farm Animals, reviewer Elizabeth Abbott notes a bit of a contradiction in Masson’s lament for farm animals: although Masson advocates for veganism but is unable to give up eggs. Abbott writes,
But Masson does not stop at describing farm animals. He offers solutions to halt or at least reduce the extent of what he sees as their victimization. Heading the list is veganism. We should not eat the flesh of any animal, Masson believes, or eat eggs or consume cows’ milk. We should acquire knowledge about and develop a political stance toward farmed animals. . . .
. . .
At the same time, Masson recognizes that even well-intentioned people can find it difficult to become vegan. Indeed, to the disappointment of animal-rights supporters, he admits that he himself has not reached his goal of pure veganism: “Eggs have been very hard for me to give up.”
Imagine — putting one’s own petty appetites above the pain and suffering of the animals. Masson might want to think about adopting a more rational approach to animals.
Meet your meat. Elizabeth Abbott, The Globe and Mail, January 10, 2004.
For Christmas this year, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals took out a billboard in Toronto comparing veganism to the birth of Jesus.
The billboard shows Mary cradling a chicken in her arms with the tagline, “Go Vegetarian — It’s an Immaculate Conception.”
Doesn’t make any sense to me either, but PETA’s Bruce Friedrich explained it this way to the Talon News,
The Holy Mother is the embodiment of selfless love and compassion, and the only compassionate diet is a vegetarian one. A vegetarian diet is the best diet for our health, the environment, and animals, so it, too, is an immaculate concept.
Dennis Kucinich may not eat any animal products, but that has not stopped him from seeking support from Iowa dairy farmers.
Chronicling Kucinich’s visit to the Iowa State Fair, Des Moines Register reporter Laurie Mansfield notes that Kucinich’s views about animals did not stop him from making a stop at The Dairy Barn and making his pitch to dairy farmers that regardless of what he personally eats, he’s the man to protect the family farmer.
According to Mansfield’s story,
Like the other Democratic candidates, Kucinich is making the rounds to Iowa family farms, hoping he can persuade meat and dairy farmers that he’s on their side, even though he doesn’t use their products.
“Farmers want someone who is going to stand up for them,” Kucinich said last week. “My willingness to do that means more to farmers than what my food choice happens to be because inevitably, farmers are concerned that their families are able to survive.”
At the moment, Kucinich appears to be relying heavily on the vegetarian vote as he is currently only polling 2 percent among registered Democrats or Democrat-leaning voters, putting him dead last among Democratic candidates for president.
A few weeks ago Karen Davis sent around an e-mail promoting United Poultry Concerns’ annual conference. In the midst of the e-mail was this fascinating paragraph which really does a good job of outlining exactly how much effect the animal rights movement has had over the past quarter century (emphasis added),
Thirteen years later [after UPC’s founding] , the number of animals on US farms is 10 billion, and meat consumption is record high. Government statistics show that in 2000, Americans, per person, ate 195 pounds of red meat, poultry, and fish, 57 pounds above annual consumption in the 1950s. At the same time, “there is a proliferation of vegetarian products,” says food trend watcher Dr. Jonathan Seltzer, and a 2000 consumer report predicted the vegetarian market will grow 100 percent to 125 percent over the next five years, with vegetarian food sales topping $1.25 billion in 2001, thanks to a US vegetarian population of 7 million to 12 million people (Free Press, July 30, 2002).
Seven to twelve million might sound like a lot of vegetarians, but it is a range of only 2.7 to 4.6 percent of the U.S. population.
The size of the vegetarian food market is interesting, however I wonder just how much of that food is being sold to vegetarians vs. non-vegetarians. I know I can’t be the only person in American whose had a Boca burger and a steak in the same week. If anyone knows of any market studies that have attempted to estimate the percentage of vegetarian food sales that are made to non-vegetarians, please e-mail me at [email protected].
United Poultry Concerns’ Forum on Promoting Veganism. Press Release, Karen Davis, United Poultry Concerns, August 2003.
The Publican reports that in August the UK’s Vegetarian Society began an education campaign to highlight the fact that fish is generally not considered vegetarian fare.
The campaign was to focus on restaurants and pubs. According to The Publican,
The campaign has been developed in response to reports from its members of being offered fishy meals in pubs, restaurants and even hospitals. A poll of 1,000 visitors to the society?s website found that ?significant numbers of eating establishments? considered fish to be a veggie dish.
On the other hand, surveys on both sides of the Atlantic show that quite a few self-described vegetarians do no themselves realize that fish is not vegetarian, so the restaurants and others here might simply be trying to meet the demands of those pesky pesco-vegetarians (the fact that there is a specific term for vegetarians who eat fish is, in itself, evidence that we’re dealing with some sort of post-modern version of reality here).