Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Just a lazy nowhere kind of day.

Just been sitting around all day, cooling off from the crazy topsy-turvyness of the last week or so. More emotional than situational, but also some serious geographic leapfrogging as well. Went out to buy beer earlier. Trying out some Harp lager (made by Guinness!). Recently I have been buying a variety of differnt beers whenever I go out beer drinking, trying to broaden the horizens of my drinking habits. Also bought pop, A&W cream soda and root beer, Sunkist. The Moutain Dew products were not on sale where they sold beer (why I went). And I feel I need to tone down the caffeine intake for a bit. I think I am cycially chemically dependant. I like my cheap legal drugs—caffeine, alcohol—but every so often you just need a break from them, you know? Sometimes, all you want to drink is water. I went a while without beer, and now that's back in my life (yay!). Now, caffiene is mostly something for breaks at work. Maybe I will switch to lemonade.

I am reading the Belgariad right now. Recommended at work. Is good. Like characters. Enjoyable read, but not strenuous, which is a welcome respite from that last couple things I read. And it is kind of fun watching Garion's world get torn apart.

Am on second Harp's. It seems to be a good beer, but honestly most lager's just blend together for me at this point. It might was well just be MGD right now. I think I prefer the darker beers, the ales and the stouts.

And Guinness. Mary's friend Ben likes Guinness. Probably even more than I do. He named one of his cat's Guinness. All I did was buy comemmorative glasses on clearance. (And buy a lot of Guinness.) One time, after drinking a lot of Jameson's, I went to the Trail of Dead show with Vahid. I got him a Guinness. He let me have a sip of it. It tasted like candy. God, I love Guinness.

What the hell was this post about?

Factory Farming

My friend Boyle swung by here on his way back form somewhere out west last Sunday, and during our brief catching up encounter, he mentioned that by something like the largest Cattle hard farm in the country, where there was something like 100,000 cattle, all in one place, and that is was something like the kind of thing that that mind just can't process. Boyle said, and it is important here to note that Boyle is about as far was you can get from a vegetarian animal activist, that it made you not want to eat beef ever again. And then he proceeded to rant briefly about the horribleness of the conditions animals are often kept in.

Which reminded me of something that has been bothering me recently, which is the political organization surrounding factory farming. Factory Farming is probably pretty close to to child labor on the things that, when acquainted with, people immediately turn against. People just don't like the idea of keeping animals in confined quarters 24/7 and cutting off parts of their bodies that interfere with the eventual harvesting of meat. In fact, many people start refusing to eat meat solely due to their disinterest in having any part of this process and it's pursuant economic transactions.

I bring all this up because I think the political aspect of dealing with Factory Farming is completely fucked up.

I remember, when the living family was in Rome and eating with Mary's awesome vegan friend Bernie at the awesome restaurant on the street Anne used to live on (whose front step was literally, literally three strides from the Pantheon, and that fact is truly more visually awe-inspiring that you can imagine), Bernie said that the main reason he was vegan was not opposition to the killing animals, exactly—he had no problem with hunting—but was a rejection of the cruelties of factory farming. This was noble, in it's way, but because I really liked Bernie (Bernie really is awesome) I didn't want to mention that just not eating meat didn't seem like a very effective way of putting a stop to factory farming. I mean, if you want to end factory farming, the problem really isn't people eating meat, but having government regulations lax enough to allow such things to be economically profitable. The thing to do would be to pass legislation that made such conditions inadmissible. And boycotting an industry seems to be a poor way of getting them to do something. They just right you off; you are not in their target audience.

But no one else is going to take the lead on this issue, so it would probably have to animal rights activists. And I think they could get a lot of external support in ending factory farming, enough to make it an actual political issue, up there with guns and gay marriage, if they tried reaching out to groups not affiliated with vegetarianism/veganism. Environmental groups for a start, but also just setting up coalitions on that single issue separate from the broader animal rights groups. (I don't really know the specifics of who is active on this stuff.)

The problem with this is that I think much of the animal rights crowd doesn't want to work with others on this. People who care really intensely about this stuff probably don't want to compromise on their cause. Plus, factory farming is probably the main draw for vegetarianism. Anyone who cares about vegetarianism in itself (and such people are probably in leadership roles) are not want to get rid of the main draw for their cultural cause. Adn so factory farming sticks around. There is really no incentive to end it, but nobody except the meat industry has any reason to support it.

Slightly less disapointed.

Thanks Nathan Newman!