Full page ads in the Wall Street Journal are not cheap. A full page ad announcing the winner of the Environmental Media Association Documentary Award to EATING ANIMALS directed and produced by Christopher Quinn gets your attention.
I have not seen it, although I'm quite familiar with the book it's based on by Jonathan Safran Foer: EATING ANIMALS. Like all of these things, I say "amen" to the indictments of the factory farming system, but the problem is they never spend any time saying it's okay to eat animals grown in an environmentally enhancing way. Or that domestic livestock are actually the ticket out of the climate change they want to stop.
You can see it in the "why this matters" portion of the ad:
1. About 23 percent of global warming can be attributed to the livestock sector.
2. About 75 percent of U.S. cropland is used to grow crops to feed animals.
3. Livestock and feed production are the major threat to biodiversity across the planet, and in particular are increasing forest destruction in the biodiversity hotspots.
4. If crop production used for animal feed and other nonfood uses were shifted to direct human consumption, the calories available could feed an additional 4 billion people.
5. Animals living in crowded conditions in industrial factory farms are breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria, causing a major public health crisis.
The ad does not offer one iota, not one scintilla, nada that domestic livestock can be encouragers of carbon sequestration, biodiversity, and better nutrition. For many years I have complained about the conservatives who pooh-pooh environmental causes or animal welfare or climate change, noting that they don't stop even for a moment and apologize for abuses of industrial agriculture. They don't offer any repentance for the sins of the past, the gullies, the deserts, the diabetes.
Now the shoe is on the other foot. I'm waiting for someone from this radical anti-animal crowd to step forward and in bold type admit that an alternative does exist and we should eat animals that are environmentally enhancing. The fact that nobody does shows that the real agenda is simply a criminalization of eating animals. It's couched in sacred-speak, to be sure, but the agenda is there nonetheless.
Just like the conservatives, in failing to admit their sins of the past, they actually become voices for more abuse and advocates for extreme exploitation. What could it possibly hurt to have this ad throw a bone to proper domestic livestock function and contribution to the world? The fact that they can't shows a sinister underbelly and I don't like it. Yes, they have some big names like Bill Niman and Paul Willis in the movie, but why can't their headline advertising, their front and center voice, include a bone to the other side? It smells like a rat to me.
How about you?