Week nine’s information about meat and seeds caused me to reflect upon my own beliefs, practices, and ideas. I became very interested in food and its effect on my health in December 2016, when my sister-in-law’s father-in-law was diagnosed with stage III cancer. Before that, both of my grandfathers had been diagnosed with cancer and one had passed away while the second was battling cancer in addition to a variety of other ailments: heart disease, diabetes, arthritis. From that point on, my husband and I made a conscious effort to eat less meat/animal products because we decided it was best for our long-term health. This course, along with external research is beginning to change my opinions about being fully vegan.
I was able to relate to George Monbiot’s article, “I was wrong about veganism. Let them eat meat – but farm it properly” and the letters in “Meat eating could save the planet.” I believe if animals are properly raised, in open fields rather than in CAFOs, it is much better for the animal, as well as nutritionally for the consumer. Reading Pollan’s work earlier this quarter is partly what encouraged this shift in my own thinking about the consumption of meat. While I don’t see animal products as vitally important in the human diet, I do recognize that full on vegan (vegan agriculture, for example) is not the best in terms of a circular Earth system. A balance must be found, but this balance does not serve commercial interest.
Speaking of commercial interest, sustainable and long-term solutions for seeds and crops don’t seem to serve commercial interests either. While I think Shiva may be overzealous in her rebuke of genetic engineering, I don’t think she has completely missed the mark. Hamilton’s article highlights just how bizarre it is to patent crop varieties. A farmer with a crop variety similar to a patented one risks lawsuit if they grows or sells their product. In the previous weeks we have learned how many small farmers are barely making it by so how can they be expected to standup to mega businesses in the science of plant breeding/modification?
This week’s information has left me with many questions, but the answers are still unclear. There are multiple sides to the story, and multiple solutions, but implementation and widespread change is the challenge.
Brausch, Chris, et al. “Meat Eating Could Save the Planet | Letters.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 23 Dec. 2015, www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/dec/23/meat-eating-could-save-the-planet.
Cow in Field. https://www.pinterest.com/pin/342203271677355081/.
Monbiot, George. “I Was Wrong about Veganism. Let Them Eat Meat (but Farm It Right) | George Monbiot.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 6 Sept. 2010, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2010/sep/06/meat-production-veganism-deforestation.
Hamilton, Lisa M., et al. “Linux for Lettuce.” VQR Online, 2014, www.vqronline.org/reporting-articles/2014/05/linux-lettuce.
Specter, Michael. “Seeds of Doubt.” The New Yorker, The New Yorker, 9 Dec. 2017, www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/08/25/seeds-of-doubt.