What’s for Dinner?

Debate

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At least since the publication of Frances Moore Lappé’s Diet for a Small Planet, environmentalists have worried about the consequences of meat eating. Raising livestock is resource-intensive, often polluting, and, as we are beginning to learn, a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. It’s also one of the ways we’ve fed ourselves for millennia. So can a meat-inclusive diet be reconciled with ecosystem protection? Rancher-attorney Nicolette Hahn Niman says, Yes. Lindsay Rajt, a campaigner for PETA, isn’t so sure.

Animals Are Essential To Sustainable Food

By Nicolette Hahn Niman

As Senior Attorney at Waterkeeper Alliance, Nicolette Hahn Niman sought to improve conditions at livestock operations. Today she and her husband Bill, founder of Niman Ranch, raise grass-based cattle, heirloom turkeys, and goats. She is the author of the book Righteous Porkchop.

A chorus of impassioned criticism has been rising against meat and dairy consumption. Many of the critics identify themselves as environmentalists. Their vehemence has been stoked by several reports, most notably one from the United Nations, documenting that animal farming is contributing to climate change, depleting and polluting groundwater, and poisoning rivers and streams. These reports are timely and necessary. But they cannot rightly be used to bolster arguments that farm animals should be scrubbed from our landscapes. The data indict only inappropriate practices in raising animals, not animal farming per se. The prevailing industrial methods differ radically from traditional land stewardship and animal husbandry. The most environmentally sustainable food production mimics nature in all its complexity – and animals are an essential component. …more…

There’s no reason to Eat Animals

By Lindsay Rajt

A vegetarian since her teenage years, Lindsay Rajt manages grassroots campaigns at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Rajt has coordinated campaigns targeting KFC’s “torture” of chickens as well as the treatment of horses at Churchill Downs, home of the Kentucky Derby.

If we care about the environment and believe that kindness is a virtue – as we all say that we do – a vegan diet is the only sensible option. The question becomes: Why eat animals at all?

Animals are made of flesh, bone, and blood, just as you and I are. They form friendships, feel pain and joy, grieve for lost loved ones, and are afraid to die. One cannot profess to care about animals while tearing them away from their friends and families and cutting their throats – or paying someone else to do it – simply to satisfy a fleeting taste for flesh. …more…


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