Wednesday, March 7, 2007

In Matters Unrelated to Knitting

By now, those who want to know have heard about the letter sent today by PETA to one Albert A. Gore, Jr. concerning his "meat addiction" and his lack of true environmental zeal.

Whoa, boy.

I should be up-front in admitting that PETA isn't an organization I have a lot of interest in. I am completely on board with halting animal testing. The zoo creeps me out no end. Cruel and unusual treatment of any living creature makes my stomach turn. However, I am not a vegan. Not even close. I tend not to buy meat from massive agro-business, preferring the flavor and practices in raising free-range and organic meats. But I still eat meat and will probably always do so. Now I'm on the record.

One of the basic things you learn in environmental biology, which I studied for two years before realizing I was more interested in English literature, is how the food chain works. Producers, things like grasses and trees, take in sunlight to make food. Primary consumers, or herbivores, eat the grasses and trees for sustenance. Humans can subsist at this level, although our evolution has enable us to be omnivores. Secondary consumers, like omnivores and carnivores, eat the things that eat the plants. Tertiary consumers, which I think are generally carnivores, are just that much further away from the primary source of Earth's energy, the sun. Now, when you look at how food is digested and used up as energy, you see that lots of it just dissipates back into the atmosphere as heat. So the further up the food chain you go, the more energy it takes to fuel your life. Story of the humans, I'd say.

I'm sure that domesticating animals furthers this contribution to heat and waste energy, and that is probably exactly what the University of Chicago study says. My husband's take on PETA ridiculous letter, by the way, is to stop domesticating and just revert back to hunter-gatherer traditions. I can just see him out there with a knife between his teeth, stalking the wild and woolly Holstein cow. But let's get real for a minute. Economies depend on the domestication of livestock. Are we just going to kill all those animals we won't be eating anymore? Sterilize them? I don't think that's what PETA had in mind. And you can bet I'm not going to be sharing my apartment with a dozen chickens any time soon.

What is truly silly about the whole thing, in my opinion, is that PETA is publicly attacking Al Gore. The man is a hero and an intellectual, and though he is not perfect (who wants to be?) he has done way more for raising awareness about environmental issues than PETA has. I think PETA is just going for publicity, which makes them very, VERY republican-esque. I guess that's what you have to resort to when you're a fringe group.

Okay, so I'm not very good at being courteous when I'm annoyed.

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