Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Chris Hayes and panel: "You are what you eat?"

Some of the vegetarian and vegan sites are linking to this panel discussion, “You are what you eat?” on UP with Chris Hayes:

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Two aspects worth noting: First, Mark Bittman’s controlled facial reactions while he’s listening to the drivel spilling out of Forbes.com’s Josh Barro. Second, the honest and self-critical perspective Hayes himself brings to the discussion, particularly when he talks about the numbers of animals harmed in this system and the practices necessary to continue exploitation on that gargantuan scale, especially the alleged “treating” of farmed animals with drugs for stress and discomfort.* This disturbs him most, he admits, because it drives home the ways in which nonhuman animals suffer like we do - how similar to us these abused and exploited beings are. Hayes even encourages people to carry that forward:
That little glint of some sort of moral intuition that there’s something wrong with that – I don’t think it’s a healthy thing to override that. I think that’s something we want to cultivate.
I couldn’t agree more, and find the language of cultivating compassion perfectly apt. The panel as a whole – well, minus Barro - does seem interested in beginning to confront not just the human health problems related to factory farms, which are substantial and significant, but the moral questions they raise. Morally, too, we are what we eat.

*The very notion of giving psychotropic drugs to these animals is so awful and absurd on so many levels I wouldn’t know where to start.

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