Den of the Cyphered Wolf

Saturday, January 2, 2016

I Kind of Hate Cowspiracy

I am a hippie, but nothing so frustrates me as much as obnoxious hippies, lefties who base their actions and ideology off a couple of buzzwords And for the most part they have been a rarity to me, instead incarnated  as caricatures and straw-men mostly in use by political opposition to knockdown more nuanced arguments ...or as an admittedly funny meme.

They frustrate me because they tend to be half right and half crazy and that schism grinds my teeth. I want Cowspiracy to be the exposĂ©  it thinks it is. It's not.
Anyway. There are all of these issues the documentary discusses, water use, the sustainability of agriculture, the power of the farm industry over regulation. And rather than tackling any of them in a reasoned way it becomes more and more evident as I'm watching it that it's nothing more than vegan propaganda.

Before I continue let me say that there are a lot of reason to make the personal choice to become vegan and on an individual level if that's your life choice go for it baby. But a vegan world? Alright then let me explain why that's deluded.

I loved Captain Planet as a kid. Hell I still love captain planet when I decide to have a conversation with my child within but it's also kind of clear that Ted Turner was smoking something when he green-lit some those "and the power is yours" segments.  And I think the documentary has a similar problem.

One of the fundamental sticking points on environmental climate change policy is fairness. That a relatively small number of people in advanced economies get to reap the full benefits of our resource extraction and use. And if we want to make any move on climate change the other countries with less advanced economies are going to have to and already have to an extent agree to slow economic growth that could improve the lives of their constituencies.

Well that kind of sucks.

It's bad enough when we're talking about relatively modern luxuries. But we're not. We're talking food. Livestock farming is incredibly harsh on the environment.

And it is also one of the most resource intensive things human beings do. It's a problem no doubt. And more over as consumers there isn't a lot Joe Street can do. Free range grazing has it's own brand of intensiveness.  While there are a few industry facing fixes he proposes what seems to be the only consumer driven solution veganism. And while I'm not knocking vegans themselves it's delusional to think that going vegan can or even should be a goal for everyone.

What got me scratching my head was when a representatives from an environmental agency said it would be politically unpopular to do much about restricting livestock farming and the interviewer doesn't get it, as though he hadn't conceived people adversely reacting to not being able to eat what they want.

He goes on as though there was some sort of malicious conspiracy when Occum's razor sugguests that meat has become ingrained into the American diet. What annoys me is that there is whole mess of problematic stuff going on in the American farm industry. But the human drive towards meat isn't it.

I work with kids. Most of the time I don't know their backgrounds but my job means that at least for the day I am the line and one of the things I worry about is who did or didn't eat. It's not something I can really fix but sometimes it does cross my mind. The knowledge that not everybody even people immediately around me can take food security for granted.

And that fairness thing pops up.

People have to eat.

If we don't eat we suffer.

While yes you can technically survive without meat and dairy products doing so healthily takes a lot of effort and education. Being vegan is something that only people who have a certain amount of life stability can do. To me food security should be a human right.  If you live you eat. It should be that simple, yet it isn't.

I don't like the idea of telling people especially kids they can't get a carton of milk in the morning.

On the other hand we don't have a food shortage in this country. If the documentary wasn't framed as "everybody should give up meat because its killing the planet" I might be more on board, if it were about more efficient farming techniques, fertilizer use regulation, resource allocation, or better distribution systems.

But as I watch it it becomes clear that the film maker believes that human beings should just get over what have been staples of our diet as we evolved.

I don't like slapping basic staple foods out of Timmy's mouth. We aren't talking about fancy gussied up stuff but the basics, ground beef, eggs, milk, cheese, chicken. Things that you find in everybody's fridge.

But let's take this further. Think of if you were a person in a country who may be the first generation where you weren't living off of millet. You were the first generation that could regularly afford to eat beef, pork, fish, milk, eggs and chicken and your kids were demonstrably stronger and healthier for it than you were at their age. Heck you might have even had a sibling or two who died from malnutrition but thank heaven you aren't afraid of that with your own kids.

While eating too much meat especially processed stuff is bad for you, meat and dairy products are one of the easiest ways to get a lot of necessary stuff into the diet.

And then some guy from America wants you to go back to the dark days because butchering a chicken makes him cry, telling you that not feeding your children the chicken is the more compassionate and noble thing.

At least Captain Planet had super powers to fall back on when he got hit with the stupid stick.

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