Archive for the ‘Advocacy’ category

Oprah Goes Vegan(ish)…Again

February 2nd, 2011

So the time rolls around again and I hear the talk of the upcoming event, Oprah is doing another show on veganism. The Twitter is aflutter and people just can’t rock their socks loud enough to get the word out. Now listen people, Oprah isn’t going vegan. Don’t get so excited to think that the Queen of Materialism is about to put a Vita-Mix and a lifetime supply of Earth Balance under the seat of everyone in her audience and spew forth the news that she will shed her life of all animal meat edibles. No, I’m so sorry to say that won’t happen, nor did it. These are just some quick thoughts on the show that I have.

Yes I watched the show, reluctantly and only to prove to myself that I was right. All I saw was a TV show skimp over an issue while sugar coating everything, “Oh, yes it isn’t easy.”, “We’re only doing it for one week but we’ll make it with these food replacements.”, “No, they don’t taste good.” Enough! First, if you want to show the virtues of a vegan diet, and diet was all you touched as veganism is so much more, if you want to show how great a vegan diet can be get off the processed fake meat replacements!

When a woman pushed the point of having eggs as long as they are from “happy hens”, Oprah’s guest Kathy Freston, a self-proclaimed “veganist” said yes, sure. Now, I’m all for allowing whomever to eat whatever they choose but if you’re calling yourself a “veganist” the least you could do is serve up so well-intentioned facts on why one shouldn’t eat those eggs. Opportunity missed. At the end of the show Freston goes through Whole Foods promoting every processed and prepackaged food she can get her hands on. Apparently, she doesn’t care about how delicious and nutritious fresh veggies are and how absolutely easy the are to prepare. I’ll go out on a limb and say Kathy Freston is as fake a vegan as the fake meats she pushed.

Michael Pollan, who only serves to cuddle the guilt-ridden meat eater and pat them on the back all the while telling them thier corpse ingestion is not the greatest thing but a little bit two or three times a week is OK, seemingly tells the audience that eat all the meat you want as long as it’s from Cargill as they have the cleanest factory farms and slaughter-machines in the nation.

As far as taking people into a slaughterhouse and showing what happens to the cow pre-steak that’s great. I think everyone should see that but that entire segment seemed to show reasons why it was OK to eat meat. Is Oprah scared of the meat industry now after her run ins a few years back? Michael Pollan did nothing but say what a great job Cargill does and stroke the executive sitting next to him.

There are vegans that think this was great publicity and getting the vegan word to the masses. It was the wrong message. This did nothing for veganism as the vegan message was toned down through the course of the show from full vegan diet to eating meat to 2-3 times a week, to vegan-ish (whatever that is) and finally just settling on Meatless Mondays. This was not a show on veganism as much as it was a show on a diet leaning toward plant-based. Veganism is about so much more than food, don’t count on Oprah to ever understand that.

In the end the episode did more to show reasons why your SHOULD eat meat than reasons to adopt a vegan diet, not to mention the vegan lifestyle it didn’t even touch on.  From allowing, and agreeing, that Cargill puts out a good product, animals get a dignified death and vegan food doesn’t taste good as shown by staffers in line at the Harpo cafeteria eating processed junk the loud message was “meat is OK”.

Did you watch the show? What are your thoughts? Were you a meat eater that has been transformed by this? Are you a vegan who thinks there is potential in what Oprah does for veganism? Let me know, agree or disagree I would love to hear from you.

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PETA’s Predicament

August 24th, 2009

PETA Billboard - Save The Whales

Every major cause has at least one major action group behind it.  American Cancer Society, National Rifle Association, Mothers Against Drunk Driving and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.  All groups have its detractors and supporters but here recently PETA has been pushed into the spotlight by some vegans on their new campaign promoting go vegetarian as a way to lose weight.  Billboards which have been showing up in the Jacksonville, Florida area have been drawing heavy criticism and in a press release PETA’s Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman states, “Anyone wishing to achieve a hot “beach bod” is reminded that studies show that vegetarians are, on average, about 10 to 20 pounds lighter than meat-eaters.  Trying to hide your thunder thighs and balloon belly is no day at the beach”

PETA has made efforts in the past to combat factory farms and the animal cruelty plight found there by sending undercover workers in to film actions and document the violations.  They have tried to place themselves as the foremost group in the fight against animal cruelty and as an advocate for vegetarianism  However, many vegetarians, and even more-so, vegans, fail to see PETA’s actions in a positive light.  Many cite their actions of near-nude demonstrations and paint-throwing as shining a bad light on a good cause.  The majority of responses I received on Twitter when asking how others felt about the organization were in line with just that idea:

@RogerYates PeTA have become a bloated welfare corporation. They need shutting down. With www we don’t need such orgs anymore.

@ccaum I support most of PETA’s work. There are sects in the org I highly disagree with. Particularly the paint throwers & name callers

@VeganMudblood No, I do not support PETA. They are backwards, hateful, and ridiculous. Not beneficial to animals! Support abolitionist groups!

@Ocveggie Nope. Their campaigns only exploit and degrade. Not to mention make us seem stupid.

@vegheadjones I think Vegan Outreach, CoK and best of all HSUS do a much better job of reducing animal suffering

It does seem that some of PETA’s tactics can be seen as maybe not the best ways to a means. Does protesting in front of a KFC really shed any light on what goes on in poultry factory farms?  Does it cause anyone to skip the drive-thru and pass on a two-piece dinner or does it just make them buy more out of spite?

Peta - Human Meat

It seems PETA may be in a situation where they are alienating the very people they depend on for support, the vegetarian and vegan community.  With in-your-face tactics most vegetarians and vegans are more and more wishing to not be associated with PETA as they feel it makes them look crazy for adopting a healthy, compassionate lifestyle.

UPDATE:

I wrote this article over the weekend for posting on the following Monday.  On Monday, PETA backed down from pressure and replaced the “Whales” billboard with one less offensive.  In a statement PETA said:

“By replacing the original artwork in the billboard, we’re able to give a fresh perspective on the issue and keep people talking about going veg to lose weight. We’re excited that so many people across the country have been motivated by the billboard…”

petanewad.jpg

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A Different Kind Of Cancer Stick

July 22nd, 2009

The Cancer Project, a Washington DC based advocacy group, is suing on behalf of three New Jersey residents to get hot dog manufacturers to place warning labels on their products to inform consumers about the risks of eating hot dogs and colorectal cancer.   Their site states that eating “one hot dog daily increases our risk of colorectal cancer, on average, by 21 percent.”

hotdogcancer.jpg

Personally, I think most people know eating processed meat is bad for them, they just don’t care.  They eat whatever they want with purposeful disregard for their well-being and, unfortunately, people will have no issues giving their kids the same.  Warning labels won’t change a thing.

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