3.16.2004

People for the Eating of Tasty Animals

I was on my lunch break... well actually, I was sitting here writing this and eating Lay's "Tastes of America: Sante Fe Ranch" chips and drinking water I got from the Culligan cooler by the bathroom (I forgot my lunch at home and am poor).

Anywho, I was thinking about how "Santa Fe Ranch" really means "Candy-Ass Barbecue" because it tastes like BBQ's lighter, interior decorator cousin. Having just met my 12:30 deadline with four stories, I had nothing really to do, so I read the ingredients. Near the bottom it stated, in bold lettering "CONTAINS MILK PRODUCTS."

Now, at first glance this may seem an important message for vegans and the extremely lactose intolerant. However, it wasn't as if the milk contents were exactly hidden within the ingredient list or given funny euphemistic names. There were no less than eight different dairy product entries and the word "milk" itself showed up six times not counting the PSA at the bottom. See below:

INGREDIENTS: potatoes, corn and/or cottonseed oil, salt, maltodextrin, whey, butter milk, tomato powder, sour cream (cultured cream, nonfat milk), monosodium glutamate, onion powder, parmesan cheese (cultured milk, salt, enzymes), cheddar cheese (cultured milk, salt, enzymes), Monterey Jack cheese (cultured milk, salt, enzymes), dextrose, partially hydrogenated soybean oil, garlic powder, corn starch, chili pepper powder, corn starch, whey protein concentrate, cultured nonfat milk, ETC.


Damn things are nearly milk chips. Why does this annoy me? Because, at the risk of earning the rage of my fellows, I have a growing hatred for vegans and especially anyone associated with PETA. I know, I know, I'm a dick. As a concept, I don't have anything against people who don't want to eat meat or the like for health/religious/spiritual reasons. However, there is a kind of fanatical, cult mentality amongst these people and I really dislike feeling the need to experience guilt because I think filet mignon is frikken delicious.

The benefits of soy and detriments of milk are wildly exaggerated, yet continually propagated as truth. One of the arguments is that the common occurrence of lactose intolerance in some minorities—namely those of African, Latino and Native American descent—is a sure sign that milk is the devil. Other races have no problem, however, because they produce enough of the enzyme lactase to digest the milk. So what? Are jalapeƱos bad because you gringos get heartburn? Screw that. There are plenty of racially specific traits that don't necessarily denote the evils or failings of various peoples or habits. Black people get sickle-cell anemia, does that mean blood is unnatural? White people can't dance, which is probably why so many Christian fundamentalists think the activity is sinful, nevermind that the Bible is rife with dancing, drinking and having a good time.

The argument that milk or meat is unnecessary because the proteins, essential minerals/vitamins and what not can be obtained from other sources is equally stupid. I could also say that buying a house is unnecessary because all the necessary materials can be found readily in nature. So, while you are consuming five more meals a day gleaned from pounds of odd or disgusting vegetables, be sure to go cut some trees down for a house frame, refine various ores for metal for pipes and electrical, make some cement etc.

Supposedly too are milk and meat's horrible health side effects. Everything from cancer to osteoporosis, the latter which I'm fairly certain is prevented by milk. Well happy Christmas, but everything we eat, drink and breathe has negative side effects. Too much of anything can cause cancer. Too much water and you get water-poisoning. Soy milk isn't exactly a host of magical benefits either; both soy and tofu have been linked to all kinds of problems and health risk, most involving brain function, but, surprise surprise, they are also linked to cancer.

There is no damn way that we can safely, as a planet, live with health and happiness off of plants alone. Current agricultural practices are questionable as it is, with pesticide use, deforestation and the environmentally crippling effects of irrigation and damning. Add to this most vegans dislike of genetically or chemically modified foods that could actually produce larger and more healthy, delicious and disease resistant crops and you have a very hungry populous. Soylent green anyone?

Aside—despite what PETA says, drinking milk and eating meat doesn't make you fat. Look at me. Not getting off your damn ass every once in a while will make even strict vegans fat. Look at cows.

Vegans are also against honey, as it is produced by bees for their own private, bee uses. This strikes me as insane for a number of reasons. The bees in question are farmed in a way that promotes over-production of honey. The bees are not negatively affected because all they do is produce honey, so they aren't likely to get overworked or miss the latest episode of The Simpsons. The bee farmers are not likely to do things to damage their profit producing little workers. And THEY'RE BEES FOR FUCK'S SAKE. I'll get behind more humane treatment of dogs, cats, hell, even cows. But bees don't experience the world in a way that relates to the human perspective so the very idea of humane treatment is idiotic. We aren't eating the bees themselves. We aren't chaining them to daisies. We are just harvesting what would otherwise be devoured by cartoon bears.

Oh, I know that statistically somewhere in the vicinity of one bee is crushed into every jar of honey in the collection process. Well eat this vegans: every damn "animal free" food you devour is virtually guaranteed to contain some animal matter, as bugs and other pests lived on and ate the living plants and processed materials.

Most vegans are hypocrites. Most cut corners, stop looking at ingredient labels when it is inconvenient or expensive to pay too close attention as nearly all pre-processed foods contain either whey or beef gelatin. No big deal, right? We all cheat on our diets. The thing is it is supposedly a health and morality concern for these people.

Healthwise, do you know of any diabetic who just downs sugar-rich foods when they get "too-busy" to keep track of their diets? Sure there are a couple, but I think we all agree they're playing insulin Russian roulette.

Moralitywise, do you know of any parent that beats their kids when they are too busy to provide adequate, humane disciplinary action? Probably. But what do we call these people? That's right: Assholes.

To boil it down to brass tacks (mixing metaphors rocks), I give you an excerpt from an article by Teresa Platt, Executive Director, FCUSA. Admittedly, she works for the fur commission, but that doesn't mean she doesn't to have her side heard. Besides, PeTa's had its fair share of publicity, what with the sick anti-meat propaganda and anti-fur campaign riddled with derogatory sexualized imagery. Give the article a read, it's a quite interesting look from the other side.

Did you know meat can go bad and kill you? Did you know that many of the animals are skinned alive to produce beef? Did you know cattle produce a lot of manure, that it takes a lot of grain to feed them? Did you know that fish feel pain, that they suffocate and die horrible deaths? Many people live without meat, fish, poultry. We should stop eating animals and live off grains and vegetables.

The PeTA arguments follow this line of thinking and analysis:

* Did you know that you can get AIDS from sex and die?
* Did you know that sex can break your heart?
* Did you know that you can catch sexually transmitted diseases or get pregnant?
* Did you know that lots of children get pregnant from having sex?
* Did you know that sex is not necessary?
* Did you know that many people live long and healthy lives without sex?
* Therefore, we should all be celibate.

So, let's take the PeTA method of deductive reasoning and apply it to the crops that they promote so heavily:

* Did you know that most of the Earth is covered with land and water that can't support crops but we can force some of it to unnaturally produce by diverting water and infusing vast amounts of fertilizer?
* Did you know that, somewhere in the world, runoff from farms is polluting our waters right now, even as we speak?
* Did you know that tilling fields causes air pollution?
* Did you know that human beings are exploited for their backbreaking labor in the hot sun in the fields to harvest your crops?
* Don't you realize that trillions of gallons of water are diverted by huge concrete channels to irrigate farmland for agra kings driven by profit, removing that water from natural uses?
* Did you know that saline buildup from irrigating fields can render the fields unable to support life?
* Did you know that vegetables can grow molds and bacteria that can kill you?
* Did you know that 25% of the pesticides used in this country are used to produce cotton?
* Did you know that erosion from flooded farmlands is most likely responsible for the "Dead Zone" or hypoxia in the Gulf of Mexico?
* Did you know that pfiesteria, an organism that eats fish, grows in nitrogen rich waters and that nitrogen is present in fertilizers?
* Did you know that agra kings kill, using guns, traps and poisons, billions of birds, rats and mice every year, animals that are just trying to get something to eat?
* Did you know the animals lose their homes whenever we put down a crop and that they are sliced to ribbons by combines during the harvesting of the crops?
* Did you know that the greatest threat to wildlife is habitat loss?
* Therefore, people should be educated to not utilize any products produced by the agra-industrial complex which promotes mono-culture crop production and is destroying the world. Living from a sustainable take of grazers, birds and fish is the kinder, more Earth-friendly solution.

Voil

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