Pollan, Vegans, and Plant Suffering

The New York Times with another round of the same old horse shit about plant suffering:

Is it morally permissible to submit to total instrumentalization living beings that, though they do not have a central nervous system, are capable of basic learning and communication? Should their swift response to stress leave us coldly indifferent, while animal suffering provokes intense feelings of pity and compassion?

Yeah, our feelings of pity and compassion toward animals are so intense that, in America alone, we raise 9 billion animals in factory farms, and then cut their throats.

Michael Pollan nevertheless cheerleads for this piece on Twitter—doubtless out of a bizarre belief that if he can put vegans on the hook for plant suffering, he can get himself off the hook when it comes to thinking about animal suffering:

Cool piece on how pea plants communicate with one another, possibly raising some tough issues for vegetarians.

It’s galling to see a guy who regularly sidesteps and dismisses the tough issues facing omnivores trying to assert that the rudimentary perceptual and communication capacities of plants may constitute an intractable vegan dilemma—particularly since vegans cause the death of vastly fewer plants than do omnivores once the grain cycled through poultry and livestock is taken into account.

Pollan’s a gifted and entertaining writer who consistently demonstrates he lacks the capacity to think deeply about anything. I’ll start thinking about plants the moment Michael Pollan shows any willingness to think carefully about the ethics of eating animals. Link.

California Chefs Try to Derail Upcoming Foie Gras Ban

Writing for the San Francisco Chronicle, Stacy Finz and Paolo Lucchesi report:

More than 100 of California’s best-known chefs have joined forces to fight the nation’s first state law banning the sale of foie gras.

Typical for the Chronicle, this story is heavily slanted in favor of foie gras producers, who get their absurd talking points quoted at length without any direct rebuttal from advocates:

“We’re trying to create a humane market, not a black market,” said Rob Black, the restaurant association’s executive director who is seeking a legislative sponsor to carry a new foie gras bill or amend the old one.

“By repealing the ban and enacting strict new standards, we will send the message to the world that California is the leader in the humane and ethical treatment of animals.”

Strict new standards my ass. Note that this article ignores the recent foie gras investigation carried out in late 2011 by the Animal Protection and Rescue League (APRL)—this despite the fact that reporter Paolo Lucchesi spoke yesterday with APRL’s Bryan Pease. Here’s that investigation’s video:

Foie gras is down in California but it’s not out. This could be the industry’s last gasp in the state, so it’s crucial for California animal advocates to make one last push to knock the industry out for good. How do you do it? Contact your state senator and assembly members, and let them know you strongly oppose any efforts to rescind the July 1st statewide ban of foie gras. Link.

Pink Slime’s Sequel: “Meat Glue”

Dan Noyes of San Francisco’s ABC News reports:

It’s commonly called meat glue — and it does just that — glues bits and pieces of less desirable meat together, back into one single piece. But while pink slime is simply gross to think about, glued meat that’s not handled properly could make you sick.

American Meat Institute mouthpiece Janet Riley responds:

There’s just no way that gluing chunks of chuck meat together is going to give you filet mignon.

A typically shifty response, which is really the only job requirement for employment at the American Meat Institute. Meat glue may not give you filet mignon, but it could give you something close enough to fool restaurant diners. Notice that Riley doesn’t actually deny the practice. Noyes nicely describes the transformation wrought by meat glue:

Our humble $4 a pound stew meat is now a $25 a pound prime filet…We confirmed this with an industry trade group that meat glue is common where filet mignon is served in bulk—at a restaurant, banquet, cafeteria or hotel.

It’ll be another kick in the beef industry’s ‘nads if ABC’s story goes viral. Please do your part. (Thanks, Venkat.) Link.

Our Henhouse Picks Winning Anti-Meat Essay

In response to the New York Times’ problematic “The Case for Eating Meat” essay contest, the Our Henhouse gals started an essay contest of their own about why it’s unethical to eat meat. They announced the winning entry this morning, written by Alan W. Peck. Peck’s piece doesn’t really make any original points, but perhaps there’s not much new on the subject that can be said. At any rate his piece is short and engaging, and something that could easily inspire an omnivore to reconsider whether it’s ethically acceptable to eat animal products. Link.

Reuters: Processed Food Lobbies Rout Reformers

This one deserves a Pulitzer. In a lengthy article for Reuters, Duff Wilson and Janet Roberts offer some of the best food politics reporting I’ve ever seen:

At every level of government, the food and beverage industries won fight after fight during the last decade. They have never lost a significant political battle in the United States despite mounting scientific evidence of the role of unhealthy food and children’s marketing in obesity.

And, if you want to see an example of being hopelessly outgunned:

…the Center for Science in the Public Interest, widely regarded as the lead lobbying force for healthier food, spent about $70,000 lobbying last year—roughly what those opposing the stricter guidelines spent every 13 hours, the Reuters analysis showed.

As the developments since the passage of Prop 2 have demonstrated, the big animal agribusiness lobbies are beatable—the big soda and processed food lobbies, not so much. (Thanks, Venkat.) Link.

Roberto Martin’s Vegan Cooking for Omnivores

Ellen DeGeneres’ personal chef’s new book has just been released: Vegan Cooking for Carnivores: Over 125 Recipes So Tasty You Won’t Miss the Meat.

It’s exciting that, as I write this, the book is ranked #30 on Amazon.com. I bet we can all think of a few omnivores near and dear to us who this book would be perfect for. If it’s good enough for Ellen and Portia, these meals are likely to win over your dad as well.

Anytime you get to Amazon.com by following a Vegan.com link, anything and everything you buy during that visit generates commissions that allow me to keep this site constantly updated.