Category Archives: Systemic Fallacies

Pollan Up To His Old Fallacies

pollan-cooking

The rationalizations of Michael Pollan were explored on this site some time ago here. Sadly, he has not progressed or phased out his old fallacies. They have just been repackaged. Pollan is like religions: he would scarcely be as popular or be able to earn a living were it not for promoting meat eating.

Now he’s back with a series on Netflix that I cannot be bothered watching. For this reason, I repost this takedown by Robert Grillo, guest blogger over at Vegan Place. Here it is:

Putting Out Michael Pollan’s Fire
Robert Grillo

Last night I watched “Fire,” the first episode of Michael Pollan’s Netflix mini-series Cooked based on his book by the same name. • • •

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Agricon, Agrispin, and Ag-gag

Most people tend to ignore animal welfare because they think their governments or animal groups are taking care of whatever needs to be taken care of. They generally think it is okay to eat animal products, while at the same time believing it is not okay to treat animals badly. What many fail to understand, however, is that bad treatment is built into the food system. And part of the reason for that failure is that they are kept in the dark, like the proverbial mushroom, and fed bullshit.

Keeping people eating animal products requires skillful manipulations and rationalizations to maintain ignorance and to manipulate choice. • • •

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An Ethically Upside Down World

In his book Eating Animals, Jonathan Safran Foer observes an inversion of values when it comes to one of the greatest disgraces of the modern world, concentrated industrial farming. The worse the conditions on a factory farm, the better for profit. “In the world of factory farming,” Foer writes,

expectations are turned upside down. Veterinarians don’t work toward optimal health, but optimal profitability. Drugs are not for curing diseases, but substitutes for destroyed immune systems. Farmers do not aim to produce healthy animals.”[1]Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals (New York: Back Bay Books, 2010), 184.

The factory farm is where sick not healthy animals are raise; it is where imperfection is the aim using drugs and genetic peculiarities nature could never abide; it is where perversity at every level now counts as normality. • • •

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Put the Noble Savage to Rest

Critics of today’s human behavior often point our tribal past as an example of how we should nobly live in harmony with nature. Animal activists sometimes do the same, when decrying today’s vanquishing of the natural world. But this nonsense is becoming particularly tiresome and annoying. The following is therefore a response to the myth of the noble savage.

Our prehistoric ancestors indulged a wide range of murderous and bizarre excesses resembling the insanity of rampaging chimpanzees. Archaeologist Lawrence Keeley provides a detailed account of our ancestors’ war-faring behavior in War Before Civilization. He presents the thesis of a decline in violence—the same picked up and expanded later by Steven Pinker in The Better Angels of Our Nature, noting that as civilization emerged in the form of established settlements and governments, violence declined and has been declining ever since. • • •

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South Korean Agribusiness and Premeditated Cruelty

This is case study of how governments and agribusinesses put profit above animal welfare and cannot be depended upon to ensure proper standards are met. The failure to comply with standards occurs daily around the world in slaughterhouses, on factory farms, and in testing facilities.

This example concerns a massive culling operation in South Korea that began on November 29, 2010 and ended March 2011. It entailed all manner of incompetence, standards violations, and moral failings from beginning to end. Korea is not alone in such failures, but this example serves as a wake up to the disregard for animal suffering by governments and meat industries that goes on everywhere. • • •

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