Beyond least harm

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And to close out this afternoon’s barrage of lunchtime entries is a paper that was submitted to the January 2003 Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics titled “Least harm: a defense of vegetarianism from Steven Davis’ omnivorous proposal.” The paper looks at Steven Davis’ assertion that while current factory farming systems must change, “vegan diets are not bloodless diets… millions of animals die every year to provide products used in vegan diets.”

Warning: lots of numbers and logic criticisms ahead, but certainly worth comparing with Davis’ original argument.

Poking more fun at Cool-2B-Real

Business 2.0 is currently running their The 101 Dumbest Moments in Business feature for 2002. Included in the top 15 are Southwest Airlines’ insensitive “If you consume more than one seat, you will be charged for more than one seat” quote (#12) and Microsoft’s botched attempt at imitating the Apple “Switch” ads (#11). Of course, the Veg Blog “favorite” is #9:

Because nobody understands 12-year-old girls quite like a cattle rancher.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. launches, a site designed to “steer” young girls away from vegetarianism. Featuring enlightening articles and insightful quizzes (“What type of beef do you most like to eat with your friends?”), the tweener-empowerment site also has recipes for snacks like Easy Beef Chili, Nacho Beef Dip, and Beef on Bamboo.

Herbivore Magazine to debut

Herbivore Clothing, makers of the super-cool “Praise Seitan” shirts I mentioned recently, are preparing to debut a new “vegetarian culture” magazine titled Herbivore.

“Vegetarian culture?” Sure. Because being vegetarian (and, especially, vegan) goes beyond just diet, it becomes part of what you stand for and how you live. The debut issue will cover ethics and environmental issues, music (” Family life with hardcore band H2O”), vegan roadtripping, and the bound-to-be-interesting “White trash vegetarianism.” They’ll also interview people active in the vegetarian movement like our friends over at Vegan Porn and they’ll have reviews of new vegetarian products. I pre-ordered the first issue and look forward to receiving it at the beginning of May.

The Story Behind Vegan Essentials

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal is running a nice piece titled “Furless Venture,” a look at how Vegan Essentials has grown to a $30,000 per month mail order business. Courtney Ernster and Ryan Wilson discuss changes in their own eating and lifestyle habits as well as how they’ve managed to use a niche business to make a difference in the world while making a living.

Is the modern organic movement missing the point?

In the current issue of the NetFuture e-mail newsletter, there is an interesting article titled Cheap Food at Any Cost, which discusses the organic industry and how bigger in organics is likely not better:

The extra heating of [Horizon’s organic] milk is necessary in order to prevent deterioration of the product as it’s being shipped all over the country. Of course, the heating also reduces the nutritional value of the milk. This milk, in other words, is more processed than some conventional, local, non-organic milk.

Also outlined are the three original goals of organic farming proponents in the 1960s and how those goals are reached by large corporations jumping on the organic bandwagon in 2003:

Recalling the “organic dream” of the 1960s and 1970s, Pollan reminded us
that the vision had three key elements: 1) green, diverse, pesticide-free
farms, 2) an overhauled distribution system with an emphasis on the local
and small, 3) and food kept closer to its natural state, with less
processing. Big Organic accommodates itself only to the first of these
three principles. As a result, the entire system threatens to be
dominated by the high-calorie strawberry, factory-farmed meat, and (sooner
or later, if organic advocate Joan Gussow’s surmise is correct) the
organic Twinkie.

Well worth reading.