Saturday, November 18, 2006

"....greed is the mother of treachery."

Title courtesy of a character in the book I'm currently finishing up, the great Steve Earle's Doghouse Roses.

It also is a great summation of the chip that's been on my political shoulder for years now...that greed will kill us all. That greed is responsible for every ill that plagues every society on Earth. That greed is responsible for virtually every war that's ever been fought. That greed is responsible for the monopolistic and corrupt political system in the U.S. today, which in turn has led us into the arms of the folks who we currently collectively refer to as "the White House." A group which, to my mind, will eventually take "greed" to the most insidious, ugliest and morally horrifying limits of its definition. But more on that group later...

In the meantime, here's an article from the LA Times which touches on - too briefly, unfortunately - one of the model concepts for what greed is capable of achieving when it infiltrates the world of commerce and "necessary" commodities: factory farming.

Factory farms are harmful to the public and the environment, researchers report.

Factory farming is yet another reality most Americans willfully ignore. Myself included, though I am working to rid my life from as much dependence on it as possible. Any time any part of the natural world - be it animals, plants, minerals, fossil fuels, etc. - becomes a commercial commodity, bad, ugly things happen. The Middle East is the most obvious example, but others include the mountaintop-removal mining that's going on in the Appalachians, the destruction of the wetlands at the Mississippi River delta, the abominations of Lake Powell and Lake Mead in the southwestern U.S., and countless others. People like Willie Nelson, who I do admire, push the "innovations" of bio-diesel and ethanol fuels with noble intentions. But those intentions will ultimately fail just as surely as fossil fuels have failed us. Because they require us to turn part of the natural world into a commodity. And for the time being, we have proven ourselves incapable of achieving mass production without mass destruction.

One of the reasons I admire Temple Grandin (there's a link to her website somewhere on the right of this site) is that she's made it her cause to try and convert factory farms and other large animal operations to more humane systems. She uses her gift of autism to see the world of animals through their eyes and it's a truly remarkable feat. I only hope she becomes busier than ever, though, and is able to monitor and perhaps make improvements to the growing factory farm system in the U.S.

I encourage you to read a bit about her and her contributions to animal welfare in the world of industry. And I encourage you to read a bit about factory farming and the abysmal, appalling conditions that are inherent. I know it's hard to devote the energy to it, but we all really should stop to consider more where our food comes from and the more troubling "costs" which we are discouraged from acknowledging as a society.

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Anonymous Wendy said...

I love Temple Grandin. Just heard her on Minnesota Public Radio a few weeks ago talking about her work. Of course she was asked the inevitable question of if she loves animals so much, why does she work for the cattle industry? She responded that people are going to eat meat, regardless, and if she can make the last day of an animal's life better, she's done something.

10:08 AM  
Blogger rama666 said...

Exactly, which is part of her genius. She understands the bigger picture and uses the gifts she has in the most effective possible ways. I think what she does is profoundly compassionate and I wish more people knew about her....

11:02 AM  

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