Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Playing With Your Food

Bizarro is brought to you today by Bill Maher.

As a lot of you know, like my friend Bill Maher, I'm an ethical vegan. (As opposed to someone who is vegan purely for his own health.) I occasionally think of cartoons that have to do with this topic and its related issues – nutrition, cruelty, health, the environment – and I toss them into the mix. I have been guilty of being pretty preachy about it in the past, it is difficult not to be when you are fighting against the suffering of those unable to speak for themselves, but I try very hard not to be and I hope I'm getting better.

I think this is a fairly successful cartoon in that regard. It evokes the subject of food choices without being overt. To me, there is something inherently funny about a little girl expected to slaughter a live chicken at her school lunch table.

Lots of people are concerned about environmental issues these days, so they choose local foods to save the pollution caused by shipping foods across country. If you're doing this but still buying meat, you're undoing your efforts many times over. Animal agriculture is responsible for far more greenhouse gases than all transportation combined.

Many people insist on organic meats to protect their family from harmful chemicals. Animal protein, in and of itself, feeds cancer and heart disease as fast as the hormones and chemicals you fear. Organic meat is a bit like organic bullets. It misses the larger point.

Many people become angry and defensive when they hear these things and I understand that. Attacking a person's diet is like attacking their religion, ethnicity, traditions, and family. Sorry about that. I'm the sort of person who is more than willing to toss a tradition overboard if it serves no purpose, harms me, or depends on the victimization of someone else. Like cheap sneakers made by orphans, I can do without them. It's just how I roll, homey.

22 comments:

Aaron said...

Oh, but did you ever stop to consider the chicken's feelings as it was being delivered to school in the confines of a lunch box...how could you draw so cruelly...just kidding. Good stuff.

Waldo said...

Where is the video of Palin (no, not in Go-Go boots... hummm Palin in Go-Go boots... oops sorry- where was I) where she is giving some dog-and-pony speech while they are slaughtering a Turkey in the background.

Also, why don't they call them Go-Go boots anymore? That is what they are... aren't they? (ummmm Go-Go boots)

Anonymous said...

Is hunting a herbivore in an area where there are plenty of other herbivores around for other carnivores environmentally wrong? just wondering your holiness

Writer said...

I have a question. And I'm being serious because I really like your work and your blog, so I'm not being a smartass.

If hypothetically everyone in the world became vegan what would become of all the animals that we typically raise for food? More importantly, how would we take care of overpopulation? And wouldn't that be just as bad as the meat industry is now??

lambelly said...

I was listening to NPR the other day and they had some woman who had created an index of Sarah Palin's book. According to her, there's a lot in the book about Sarah Palin's negative feelings toward vegetarians. Because she lives in alaska and shoots her own food, don't you know. I guess at one point Sarah Palin said that if a vegetarian came to her house for dinner that she would make dinner, but would tell the vegetarian why she thought it was wrong not to eat meat.

I guess my point is that you should go to Sarah Palin's house for dinner.

Monkey Grrl said...

Thanks for always telling it like it really is and for being one of the few courageous voices against the myth of humane slaughter. I love your dark humor. You totally rock, Dan!

behrmark said...

I find it interesting that the site that you, an atheist, reference regarding egg production quotes the Bible throughout. Just sayin'.

baku said...

Food for thought. No question about that. I am a huge fan and respect your opinion, but I favor trying to find a middle ground. We should have greater respect for our home, our food (be it animal, vegetable, or mineral) and, of course, for our neighbors.

My two cents.

veggiemundo said...

Great post! I love how you roll, Dan. Rock on! :-)

Awful Cute Studio: The Spiffiest Place on Earth said...

Love this. I consider myself a health-vegetarian, but recently have decided I wouldn't be willing to slit a cow's throat myself and feel its warm, fresh blood drip down my elbow.

It's reflected in one of my favorite paintings from a current project (I invite you to Day 42 of my blog.)

Steve Jones said...

I agree with all your views on diet. However, if you're really that bothered about getting cancer from your food, perhaps you should cut down on the cigars too....

Piraro said...

@Anonymous...
Hunting in moderation isn't necessarily damaging to the environment. Although we humans are so good at and irresponsible with our hunting that we've caused countless extinctions by over hunting. Not to mention that the seas are devastated beyond description from over fishing. Humans are a blight on the earth in this regard.
No holiness, just science.

@Writer...
Good question, thanks. All of mankind becoming vegan overnight would never happen, but if it did, you could pretty easily let food animals live out their lives, stop breeding them, and in a very short time they would be gone. This would greatly improve the health of the planet. They exist in such absurd numbers because we make them do so. There is nothing natural about the billions of farm animals alive (and burping/farting methane and shitting in our groundwater) at any given moment.

@Behrmark...
I'm not against using bible verses to convince someone who believes in it to change their destructive behavior.

@SteveJones...
Good point, well taken. But since I don't inhale cigars and don't consume animal protein, there is very little chance I will get cancer. If I do, so be it, but I think it's a small risk. My bigger concerns are over destruction of the planet and the torture and unnecessary death of innocents.

martin said...

What's your opinion of synthesized meat? Would you eat it if it was available? http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/6684854/Scientists-grow-meat-in-laboratory.html

Steve Jones said...

@Piraro: I couldn't decide whether or not the cigars were just a prop or not. It just seemed like a nice irony.

And I agree - avoiding meat, for me, is about environmental concerns more than health reasons.

Anonymous said...

Eh,veganism isn't all it's dressed up to be...And it's ONLY in really rich countries you can survive being a vegan,you would starve to death in most countries... http://www.second-opinions.co.uk/vegetarian.html

Piraro said...

@Anonymous...
The overwhelming majority (if not ALL) of people reading this blog are in countries wherein it is easy to not only survive, but to thrive as a vegan.

Allan Koay said...

i recently became an ethical vegetarian, or am trying to. i've stayed off meat for over a month now. what happened was, in the course of working on a story about World Meatless Day (Nov 25), i came across a lot of stuff in my research that made me realise eating meat doesn't just hurt your health, it hurts the planet too.

before this, i was already on a meatless diet every Friday, for religious reasons. and the thing about a vegetarian diet, it's harder to stay on one than it looks. most eateries are not vegetarian friendly. but once you do try to be on a vegetarian diet, it does get easier. i think it's all about taking a step back and looking at what's available out there, and then homing in on the meatless stuff.

Mr Piraro, if you haven't already read it, i recommend this book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. fantastic book about what really goes into what we eat. and all America's food problems begin with corn. yep, that's it, corn. strange as it may sound.

and, like in your cartoon, everyone thinks "organic" is better, but according to the book, sometimes "organic" isn't all that great either, because we've polluted, destroyed and altered the land on which our food grows.

Katherine said...

Thanks for always sticking up for the animals! It's really great to have someone like you in the world.

Pies said...

We "still" eat meat? :D I guess vegans are still hopeful that they'll rid the earth of cows and chickens.

Shirley Cooper said...

Sanctimonious twaddle. If eating meat was bad for us, the human race would have stopped eating meat a long time ago.

Sure, there are places that completely abuse the system, but claiming cow farts as your reason for not eating meat? C'mon... You emit just as much methane (don't tell me you don't fart) and toxic gases in a day, Mr. Cigar-smoker.

Do you walk everywhere you go? Do you avoid the subway? Do you light your house with non-energy using lights sources that don't include the exploitation of bees (ie. candles)? Where did you get your clothes from? Are they ethically sound?

Vegans... are you positive carrots don't cry? I mean, they are living things...

My guess is you won't post this comment.

chris said...

Shirley... come on...

Animal agriculture accounts for one third of ALL fossil fuel usage in America. If you want to enlighten yourself, check out this post: http://teamsuperforest.org/superforest/?p=7256

Did you know a vegetarian driving a car is actively using LESS petroleum than a omnivore who is biking?

Food for thought,
Chris.

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