Letters for July 27, 2017
No ‘humane meat’
Re “Meet your meat” (Cover story, July 20):
Rather than describing an ethical relationship between livestock farmers and the animals they raise, the term “humane meat” is a marketing term, one intended to mitigate any discomfort a consumer might feel when participating in the unnecessary death of a sentient being, all for just a brief gustatory pleasure. But humane meat is a lie. A myth. An act of bad faith.
Despite their declarations, livestock farmers and the consumers of the animal bodies they raise and slaughter do not “honor the process of nature and the life of the animal.” They are partners in a death-for-profit farm economy. Yet each chicken, pig and cow possesses complex cognitive capacities, intricate social relations and considerable moral significance. Each of them, given the choice, would choose to live rather than die.
Bob Comis, founder of Stony Brook Farm in upstate New York, put it best: “Livestock farmers, no matter what kind—from the largest, most cynical and inhumane factory farmers to the smallest, seemingly most ethical pasture-based farmers—traffic in death. It is death that is our aim, our purpose. Death is the end. Life is the means. Money the reward.”
Robert C. Jones
We value “other” beings on the basis of class, gender, race, species, etc. Within this hierarchical scheme, we’ve built our Earth-devouring civilization. We tinker with who’s up and who’s down, but we do the same thing we’ve done for millennia: systematically exploit humans, animals and the environment.
When I see silhouettes of a chicken and a pig and a cow, sliced-up with dotted lines, on the cover of the CN&R, it’s more of the same. That which is “inferior” is objectified. Ultimately, animals are cuts of meat. (And arbitrarily so. Imagine a similar diagram of a dog or cat.)
I’m supposed to be persuaded by the elitist foodie rhetoric, in the issue itself. But, ironically, stories about less horrific treatment of animals, on nice bucolic farms, serve to rationalize the consumption of our 200 pounds of holocaust-farmed meat, per capita, per year. That is, not one person in a thousand will read these articles and cut total meat consumption to 2 pounds per year—which is exactly what they would have to do to limit consumption to their share of less horrifically raised meat.
The cover art/cartoon tells the real story. The rest is a feel-good foodie fantasy.
Senate health hypocrisy
While Sen. John McCain was recovering from emergency surgery, the Senate delayed a vote on its so-called health care bill that would remove tens of millions of Americans from insurance rolls. The bill would permanently restructure Medicaid, which provides health insurance to 74 million disabled or poor Americans, including nearly 40 percent of all children, and millions who are living in nursing homes with conditions like Alzheimer’s or the after-effects of a stroke.
The reason for the delay? Without McCain’s vote, and those of 49 other mostly heartless Republican senators, the bill would fail.
Since then, McCain’s condition has made a terrible turn for the worse. That said, did any Republican senators see the irony of the situation? They were waiting for him to recover so they could vote on a life-killing bill.
The insurance McCain and his colleagues in the Senate have precludes them from having to worry about spending life savings, mortgaging their home or declaring personal bankruptcy in order to pay for costly medical bills. The new bill they were trying to pass also exempts Congress, and their staffs, from loss of guarantees from pre-existing conditions.
Let’s hope McCain fully recovers and Trumpcare gathers dust on a shelf.
Roger S. Beadle
Editor’s note: After this letter’s submission, McCain returned Tuesday (July 25) to cast a decisive vote that permitted the Senate to begin deliberations on repealing the Affordable Care Act.
Government must step up
It is clear that we would like to see to our local homeless problem solved, and it is true that many people are working toward a solution. Most work for the various 501(c)(3)s in our area. These people are our best and are in an almost completely untenable position. They have been told to solve a problem and given none of the resources or influence to do it.
Because government has sidestepped responsibility for our communities’ health and safety, it’s not hard to see why the problem is getting worse.
How did this happen? We are bad at math. One of the first questions that should be asked is: “What does this problem cost us?” It is probable that 20 percent of the homeless population is costing taxpayers 80 percent of the expenses (as Salt Lake City and Reno have found out).
Last year, Lloyd Pendleton from the Utah Homeless Task Force, who is credited with eliminating chronic homelessness in Utah, came to Chico and spoke about how he did this. This event was attended by many, but only a couple of our elected officials showed up.
I would like to see some leadership on this issue, and maybe some math.
Short and to the point
The Dallas Cowboys’ Ezekiel Elliott seems intent on going into prison just as O.J. Simpson is being released. It’s kinda like computers—garbage in, garbage out.
Kenneth B. Keith
Preoccupied with violence
The other day, I dropped by the seventh annual Shortz Film Fest at the Chico Theater Company on Eaton Road in Chico. Part of why short films are cool is because they’re short! If the film isn’t good, well, it’s over soon. If it is good, well, it’s food for thought and an avenue to find another film by the same director. Over time, what I love about shorts is that they are low-budget and often experimental.
What shocked me about the festival was that several of the films were filled with America’s (i.e., the world’s) fascination with guns and killing. One of the films was some sort of story about someone who was to be killed. Lots of close-ups of the guns, of the threatening environment, and then when the killer appears to show some mercy, the target is shot dead by a sniper. Gross, gross, gross.
When the next movie depicted women as without power and/or subservient, well, I had to run out before I threw up.
Where is the creativity, where is a new “movie” approach to complex human relationships rather than old worn-out shoot and kill themes? Is it any wonder we live in a world with constant gun violence, with constant threats from, well, everywhere?
Last issue’s Healthlines (“Nurturing naturally,” by Elizabeth Castillo), in detailing health reasons for which mothers should not breastfeed, oversimplified the list by including some circumstances in which supplements along with breast milk may be recommended. Conditions for which mothers are unable to give their babies breast milk include when the mother has certain infections, takes certain medications or abuses certain substances. This has been adjusted in the online version.—ed