Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Other Side of the Story

Hello everyone! So as I read Righteous Porkchop, I can't help but wonder - honestly, how do the farmers on industrial farms defend what they are doing? Is there any argument besides economics? Is economics sufficient?

Hence, this afternoon I tried something a little different with my Google searches, and here's a little of what I found. I hope you'll take some time to read these pieces. They are interesting, and, if not necessarily convincing, at least show another perspective.

First off is farmer Blake Hurst, who wrote in The American (Thursday, July 30, 2009) an article in response to Michael Pollan's Omnivore's Dilemma which he called "The Omnivore's Delusion: Against the Agri-Intellectuals." He makes an interestingly powerful case, the basic premise of which is that "farming has always been messy and painful, and bloody and dirty. It still is. This is something the critics of industrial farming never seem to understand." Check out his arguments and let us know what you think.

Next, this article which appeared in Foreign Policy in June of 2010: "Attention Whole Food Shoppers." Writer Robert Paarlberg suggests that we "stop obsessing about arugula. Your 'sustainable' mantra -- organic, local, and slow -- is no recipe for saving the world's hungry millions." This very interesting article about solving global hunger will give you pause about what's right and what's wrong. (Anna Lappe directly refutes Paarlberg in Zester on July 21, 2010 in her article "Debunking Myths About Agriculture.")

More on global hunger from Jay Rayner, a British writer writing in The Guardian in September 2010. Rayner's article, "Big Agriculture is the Only Option to Stop the World Going Hungry," warns that if we are to survive the coming food security storm, we will have to embrace unashamedly industrial methods of farming. We need to abandon the mythologies around agriculture, which take the wholesome marketing of high-end food brands at face value – farmer in smock, ear of corn, happy pig – and recognise that farming really is an industry, much like car manufacturing or steel forging, one which always works better on a mass scale, but which can still be managed sustainably." 

We hope you might enjoy a look at the other side of the fence. We'd welcome your thoughts. 

1 comment:

  1. At our discussion last night, we talked about the need to look for common ground between the food industry and environmentalists/animal activists. Our group decided that this is not "caving" but compromise, a concept that seems to have lost popularity in politics . . .

    The last article does touch on compromise. He seems to think that we need to accept factory farming as part of life in order to reform it. That's what was done with the egg industry--it worked with HSUS to create SLIGHTLY better living conditions for laying hens.

    This is a frustratingly slow way to make progress for the large majority of farms . . . but maybe it's the only way.