Sunday, January 25, 2009

"Veggienomics" and Vegecology

When I took a philosophy class entitled "Animal Ethics" I had no idea about the wealth of information that was available for everyone to see. Since it is the job of animal production companies to keep the public largely ignorant of important facts surrounding their methods, it was no wonder that I was shocked at what really goes on. Acquiring some insight into the unethical and inhumane processes of animal farming and slaughtering changed my diet and lifestyle, helping me to make a direct impact. But this post is NOT to throw a bunch of links at you that will take you to horrific videos and bring you to a PETA petition or for that matter, guilt you into vegetarianism. I am writing this to enlighten those who are interested in how their food choices affect not only the animals themselves but affect you as an individual and the world economically, ecologically and environmentally.

A great article was just published in The Global Voice which is OPIRG's published journal. A copy of this can be found inside the January 2009 edition of The Scoop. OPIRG (Ontario Public Interest Research Group) whose offices can be found on the second floor of Dillon Hall, featured an article on Page 2 of the recent issue (Vol. 8, No.1 Winter 2009) called "Veggienomics: Vegetarianism affects our Economy too". OPIRG also has a show on our campus-community radio station that you can stream live from Noon to 1pm on Thursdays: CJAM 91.5FM OPIRG's The Shake Up is well worth the listen. The issue also dealt with other topics including Fair Trade and Islamic Feminism - fascinating stuff! But back to greenness.

The article was written by OPIRG volunteer Gurpreet Dhaliwal and it gave a lot of important and relevant facts that I think everyone should want to know about. It specified that about 95% of pesticide residue in one's diet comes from meat, dairy products and fish and that over 15 million pounds of antibiotics used in animal production end up in the meat on your plate. A fundamental aspect that many vegetarians and vegans have considered is that "your diet affects not only the environment, but also the lives of six billion other people we share the planet with along with countless animals". Think of the economic, ecological and environmental affects of the-diet-dynamic. "Modern meat production involves intensive use - and often misuse - of grain, water, energy and grazing areas and contributes heavily to all sorts of pollution and soil erosion". These are all resources that could be used in more efficient ways: ways that could build our self-sustainability. "There would be enough food to feed the entire planet" if resources weren't used up to maintain carnivorous diets. Imagine all the people...

I take a central axiom from OPIRG's article: even though it seems inconceivable that these facts will instantly turn most people onto being veg, the important lesson is knowing these facts will enable a clearer understanding of the interconnectedness of the planet. Your diet is important to how it functions - your choices affect everything.

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