What’s Wrong With What We Eat & The Humane Myth

Two recent finds online worth sharing.

First, a video which came through the TED Talks video feed in Miro. It’s not actually from TED but from EG, which is a similar conference in Monterey focused on innovative ideas and wealthy audiences.

It’s Mark Bittman, a food critic for the New York Times (and author of How to Cook Everything) talking about “What’s Wrong With What We Eat.” He’s not a vegan, or even a vegetarian (a fact he reminds viewers of at several points during the talk) but notes the particular kind of malnutrition our excessive consumption of “animal products” is causing, how it is simultaneously killing us (through so-called “lifestyle diseases”) and ruining the planet (through global warming and industrial agriculture):

The second, which is in some ways an antidote to Bittman’s “I will never stop eating animals [but I will be concerned about the industrialization of their production]” approach is Humane Myth, an educational site recently launched to counteract the growing trend toward certifying certain methods of animal production as “humane.” In their terms, the Humane Myth is:

An idea being propagated by the animal-using industry and some animal protection organizations that it is possible to use and kill animals in a manner that can be fairly described as respectful or compassionate or humane.

The site provides a number of useful tools aimed at helping people understand the fundamental conflicts inherent in the production of animals-as-products, including some really good introductory slideshows on “happy cows” and “cage free eggs.” (Both of which are downloadable and licensed “for nonprofit and educational use”).

So, to recap: Veganism eliminates the inherent and unavoidable cruelty involved in producing “food animals,” reduces the risk of “lifestyle diseases” and increases health for you, and reduces the devestating impacts of animal agriculture on the earth.

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1 Comment

  1. Bryan Head

    Thanks for posting this John. It is discouraging to learn that many of the efforts that my family and I take to be “green”, “environmentally conscious” and “humane” are just window dressing and empty practices that have been sold to us by those who profit from the status-quo. While these green & humane efforts don’t actually improve the situation or problems at hand much (if at all, really), they are an easy way to pacify most of us who have good intentions by giving us the warm & fuzzy feeling that we are making a difference. After all, it doesn’t take any real sacrifice to go from regular eggs to cage-free or to order the free-range pork at Chipotle rather than the burger from Wendy’s. We can have our cake and eat it too.

    I feel like I just took the red pill.

    Great info. Keep it coming. If you can get a Texan like me who was raised on BBQ & steak to start to become more conscientious about this, you’re getting somewhere.