Grassroots activism takes time to grow. Broad-based participation is vital. Issues must be clearly defined. Leadership is needed. Major obstacles must be overcome. Avoiding being co-opted, diverted, divided, and/or subverted are key. So is staying the course because major struggles aren’t won short-term. Achieving social justice is the mother of them all, especially in today’s environment.
What began last September waned during winter cold. Perhaps May Day protests began Act II. Only the fullness of time will tell.
Editor’s Note: While animals, by our own logic that terms them inferior, are said to lack any form of morality except expediency in the service of survival, often devour one another, humans, who do have choice in what they eat, can and should apply ethics to such decisions. For once again lest we reveal our contradictions in the arguments that justify our speciesism, we can’t have it both ways. In the vast majority of circumstances eating a non-meat meal is cheaper and far less harmful on a strained environment than eating a non-vegetarian one.Fact is, leaving all the self-serving rationales aside, we choose to eat them. We choose to raise them by the billions in conditions that can only be described as Dantesque. And we get away with it because we have might, not right on our side. Can anyone in good faith argue that an animal will graciously consent to be killed so that someone else may enjoy a transitory meal? Their instinctive response—were they asked, or were we to consider their situation—would be a resounding no. As would be ours, of course, for as animals we all share the instinctive reaction of living organisms to untimely death. Yet every day, without nary a thought, we force zillions of viable animals into needless death. Out of minimal decency, if nothing else, we should honestly consider their horrendous plight and stop looking for excuses to defend the indefensible. Make it a nonviolent meal the next time you sit at the dinner table.—PG
PS/ The addendum carries a piece, Factory Farming – A New Disease Model, by nutritionist Jamin Thompson. By now there are hundreds if not thousands of articulate denunciations of meat eating and animal enslavement. Thompson’s piece, reflecting the views of a person who’s clearly NOT an animal rights activist (albeit one that may, some day, become one) is highly accessible and that’s one of the reasons for its inclusion here. I personally do not subscribe to some of Thompson’s thinking, since he does believe it’s alright to go on eating meat as long as it’s “humanely” produced, a very slippery proposition that again puts traditional “practicality” over ethics, but, as previously mentioned, his appeal may sound less of a rant to those who are just beginning to examine this issue. His blog is perfectbodyrx.com.
COUNT on The New York Times to take a basic topic and vault it into the stratosphere of esoteric, philosophic discussion. Food, for instance.
Other daily newspapers and Web sites tell you about restaurants, recipes and diet. The Times does that, of course. But it also tells you about the ethics of eating. Whether you like it or not.