2008/01/29

Partial breach in the news blackout on meat and the environment

I've written before about the media's suppression of news on the important link between meat and global warming (here and here). Since then the blackout has remained pretty solid - a Lexis-Nexis search turned up plenty of discussion in the newspapers of Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada, but only one major opinion article from the Los Angeles Times (2007 October 15) and no news articles.

This weekend, The New York Times finally published a full account of these findings, as well as a comprehensive list of the many other ways the livestock industry ravishes the environment: Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler.

The article was in the Week in Review section, so the prohibition on treating meat-related environmental destruction as news still stands, but the article is an outstanding summary of the issue. I encourage everyone to email it to anyone who might benefit.

There is clearly a lot of hunger for news on this topic - the article rose to the number 2 spot on The Times's most emailed list before falling to number 3 right now (Times readers just can't get enough of those vapid JFK-Obama comparisons). We'll have to see if there's any follow-up on the news reporting side, or if other news outlets follow The Times's lead.

The author stops well short of calling on people to stop eating meat, and in fact manages to avoid using the word vegetarianism entirely. This may be the best way to communicate with meateaters, and I won't argue against anything that reduces the number of animals tortured and killed. Even so, I'm concerned that what could become a growing movement to eat less meat for environmental reasons might completely ignore the issue of speciesism.

2 comments:

pelagus said...

you're absolutely right jake. Stopping eating meat for environmental or health reasons rejects speciesism & does not lead to the abolition of the non humans' exploitation. Add to this that as soon as a way is found (& this never takes too long) to be able to eat meat again, then everyone will fall back in the consumption of non humans' flesh.
This is actually the welfarist perspective of animal "lovers" for whom no matter the way, as long as people stop... but how long? This really matters. Someone who addresses the issue very well is gary l. francion, if you want to check out: http://www.animallaw.info/articles/arusgfrancione1996.htm

Justin said...

After reading your post, Jake, I put a quotation from the article on my Gmail Chat away message. Since then, I have received about 10 unsolicited emails and messages from friends commenting on the quote. Many conversations later, I've concluded that the arguments in the article are very persuasive to lefty-meat-eaters. Connecting meat eating to global warming rather than animal rights seems to re-frame the issue in a way more likely to overcome the inertia people have in changing their consumption behaviors.