The following is a letter I sent to three organizations–Food & Water Watch, Natural Grocers, and Colorado Interfaith Power & Light–who are sponsoring a forum in Denver this week on the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. Working to change laws on this is fine as far as it goes, but the best solution doesn’t require legal or corporate change: we need to encourage people to reduce or eliminate their use of animal products. That viewpoint will not be represented on the forum, although grassfed beef and dairy interests will be. I call on the sponsors to include the veg viewpoint in any future events on this topic.
To Lisa Trope, Food & Water Watch; Alan Lewis, Natural Grocers; and Colorado Interfaith Power & Light:
I just picked up a flyer at Natural Grocers about the potluck and forum you are sponsoring April 2 regarding antibiotic-resistant bacteria. I know that Food & Water Watch has a petition campaign urging passage of the Preventing Antibiotic Resistance Act, related to factory farms, where routinely-given antibiotics endanger the health of everyone. I applaud this campaign.
However, regarding the April 2 event, there is a glaring omission among those invited to be on the panel. No one is speaking to the approach that is simple, effective, and would greatly benefit human health, the animals, and the environment: namely, encourage people to reduce or eliminate their consumption of meat and other animal products. This requires no petitions, no changes in laws or corporate agricultural practices. Unlike the approach of the non-factory farmed meat producers, this would benefit the environment (e.g. grassfed cattle emit more methane, a dangerous greenhouse gas, than feedlot-finished cattle, because grassfed animals must live longer in order to reach market weight). The meat-reduction solution also benefits human health because only animal products have cholesterol; they also contain saturated fat and no fiber. This solution also addresses the cruel practice of animal slaughter, which occurs at a time far short of the animals’ normal lifespan.
In planning future events addressing the use of antibiotics on factory farms, you owe it to your audience to allow all viewpoints to be heard, especially that of the vegetarian/vegan/animal welfare community which–unlike the animal producers–makes no profit if people follow our suggestions. Particularly Natural Grocers, which has many vegetarian and vegan customers (I spend over $400 a month there), should see that this viewpoint is represented.
We at Denver Vegans stand ready to provide a speaker/panelist upon request.
Co-organizer, Denver Vegans