CK Friday Links--Friday May 24, 2013

Happy Memorial Day Weekend to my USA-based readers! As always, here are this week's links from around the internet. I welcome your thoughts.

PS: Follow me on Twitter!

Vegan no more. (Bing Wu)

If our food supply is so vulnerable, then why are crop prices declining from their highs? (Jayson Lusk)

We're seeing exactly the same stealth price hikes in our education system that we see in our grocery stores. ( Questions)

This six minute TED talk will make you completely rethink your washing machine. (TED)

The muddy ethics of online book reviews. (Scott D. Southard)

We feel like our house is holding us back from living our lives. (Rethinking the Dream)

The foolish do best in a strong market. (The Aleph Blog) Bonus Post: Free money brings out the worst in people.

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Emmy said...

re: the vegan article,

Dan, do you dabble in veganism? It's often a topic on your blog. I made it for 6 months as a vegan (with immunity for sushi, there was just no way I was giving that up). Then my MIL came to stay with us for a few weeks and her cooking completely derailed me - yes, it is her fault, for cooking such delicious Middle Eastern food in my home.

My struggle is, once you see the slaughterhouse videos, you can't unsee. I still can't eat pork, and I'm consumed by guilt for eating any other meats. It freaking sucks.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on veganism.

Unknown said...

I have been vegan for several years after two decades of being a vegetarian. The decision is very personal, as the linked article also points out.
I decided as a child that if it was not necessary for an animal to die so i could have dinner then why wouldn't i make the compassionate choice?
There are many ways to eat a healthy well balanced and satisfying vegan diet without excess processed foods, sugar, wheat or kale salads and equally as many ways to be vegan and subsist on processed faux meats, fritos, french fries and white bread.
For me i know it makes no difference if the cow was happy, sung to, pet daily and fed an organic vegetarian diet if ultimatly he must die for my meal. I choose love and compassion over chicken kebabs and sashimi.

Daniel said...

Emmy, great question. What we do here at CK is what I call "part time vegetarianism." We eat a relatively low meat diet, but we have not made the decision to abandon meat 100%.

I definitely struggle with the issue, but I don't feel like I want to use CK as a platform to advocate being vegan/vegetarian or NOT being vegan/vegetarian. I'm not sure that's really my place, to be honest. Instead, I try to run links on both sides of the issue so my readers can decide for themselves.

I'll see if I can share some more thoughts on the issue in a future post though. Thank you for the prompt.


Daniel said...

Unknown, I hear you. One book that has helped shape my thinking on this issue is Tovar Cerulli's excellent book "The Mindful Carnivore." You can find my review of it here. It will articulate the other side of the issue, if you care to explore it.


Sally said...

Since I'm also "vegan no more," I very much enjoyed that article. I followed a vegan diet for reasons of health, yet I can't point to one benefit from doing that. I didn't feel any better nor were any measurable data better than before I changed my diet. In fact, while I can't say I felt bad, I never felt really good when following the vegan diet. Like the author, I felt better once I resumed eating even limited amounts of animal products.

I can't remember where I read this, but I read that vegetarianism and veganism are choices only the affluent can afford to make. Of course, compared to much of the rest of the world's population, even our poorest might be considered affluent. Either Mark Bittman or Michael Pollan (or maybe both) have written that the earth can no more support a population that consumes only plants than it can a population that consumes copious quantities of meat. And that's assuming that most of the world's population has access to arable land. One popular vegan author has stated that it's only because we have access to food shipped across the country and around the world that those of us who don't live where there are long growing seasons can be vegetarian or vegan.

Being vegan doesn't lead to cruelty free eating. From The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan:

The farmer would point out to the vegan that even she has a "serious clash of interests" with other animals. The grain that the vegan eats is harvested with a combine that shreds field mice, while the farmer's tractor wheel crushes woodchucks in their burrows and his pesticides drop songbirds from the sky; after harvest whatever animals that would eat our crops we exterminate. Killing animals is probably unavoidable no matter what we choose to eat. If America was suddenly to adopt a strictly vegetarian diet, it's isn't at all clear that the total number of animals killed each year would necessarily decline, since to feed everyone animal pasture and rangeland would have to give way to more intensively cultivated row crops. If our goal is to kill as few animals as possible, people should probably try to eat the largest possible animal that can live on the least cultivated land: grass-finished steaks for everyone.

Maybe it doesn't seem so bad because we think of mice and woodchucks (not to mention rats and snakes and other animals) as pests rather than cute farm animals.