Saturday, February 23, 2008

It Ain't Easy Being Green - Take 3 - Pesticidies, and Poo, and Pus, Oh My!

Well it certainly has been a while since I posted, and even longer while since I made any vegan related postings. Truth is, I want my pro-vegan posts to be well done so I tend to devote large amounts of time to writing them, and well large amounts of time are sometimes at a premium, what with life and what have you. Anyway, enough excuses and preamble it's time to get to the meat...errr tofu, of the post here.

I have already scratched the surface about the ethical, and environmental reasons being a cruelty-free lifestyle, but today I am going to talk about a far more disgusting, but more selfish reason that I have for being a vegan. The simple fact that meat, eggs, and dairy are a regular shmorgazborg of toxicity.

In my title, I outline three of the major contaminants to animal products, I will break them down one at a time. Keep in mind that I am just focusing on the three Ps, but there are a lot more contaminants out there, ranging from mercury to hormones, but I think that those will wait for a later post.


I know what your first reaction is. "They only put pesticides on plants, so vegetarians should have to worry about these more than an omni". Well that is both right, and very wrong.

For starters, they do indeed put pesticides on vegetables, but one needs to remember that cows, pigs, and chickens all eat vegetables. Also, since food fed to livestock undergoes far less screening than food fed to humans, the pesticide level in what your cow eats can be really quite high. Now I know that you're probably wondering what Bessie's diet has to do with you, but in actual fact, it has a direct result.

You see, there is this funny scientific term called "Biomagnification", and well the gist of it is that the concentration of toxins amplify as you raise the trophic levels, or in English, pesticides (and other pollutants such as arsenic) that get eaten by a cow, stay in the cows system, and then get worse when that cow gets eaten by something else (i.e. you).

In Diet for a New America, author John Robbins mentions that the breast milk of meat-eating mothers had 35 times the amount of pesticides as that of vegetarian mothers. Yes, you read that right, 35 times the amount of pesticides in the breast milk from eating meat. So not only are you harming yourself, you could be harming your children. Keep in mind, that infants and children are far more susceptible to the adverse affects of toxins, since their internal organs are not fully developed.

So while the saying "You are what you eat" has its merits, perhaps we should be saying "You are what your food eats."


" Animal products such as red meat, poultry, eggs, seafood, and dairy products are the foods most likely to cause human illness.Further, because feces are the vehicle for transmission of pathogens to humans who consume animal flesh, the true cause of foodborne illness related to the consumption of meat or poultry is the presence of feces infected with pathogenic bacteria on that meat or poultry. " - Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) petition to the USDA, August 29, 2001.

Read the last sentence of that quote as many times as you need to in order for it to sink in. I don't know about you but "the presence of feces infected with pathogenic bacteria on that meat or poultry", really doesn't make me want to rush out to buy a burger.

The same survey above also states "Current regulations allow fecally contaminated poultry and meat to be passed at inspection, as long as the feces are not “visible” to the naked eye. "

So really, your chicken could be dropped into a bunch of feces, whipped off, and then away it goes, direct to your stomach...appetizing, eh?


Click for Embedded Video

With the mass production of dairy, far beyond what their bodies were designed for, many cows produce blisters and boils, which inevitably burst. Now when these things burst, they produce a great deal of puss, which has to go somewhere, right? Well it goes right into the thick, white fluid that looks just like pus, which cows make tonnes of every day for human consumption.

The dairy industry classifies milk as "abnormal" and states that it should not enter the food supply, if it has a pus count of more than 200, 000 cells per litre. Now, I don't know much about puss, but 200, 000 cells still seems like a lot of pus to fill up a litre, I for one don't want to drink any pus.

To make it even more disgusting, in the United States, Hawaii is the only state that can meet this standard, with the majority of states passing 300, 000. The worst offender, was Florida which had an average count around 548, 000. I'd like to point out, that this is an average count, meaning that about half of the milk in Florida would have MORE than 548, 000 cells per litre.

Love them, or hate them (which I vary between on almost a daily basis), PETA conducted a "Got Pus? Milk Sure Does" campaign to try and raise awareness on this issue. Now, as you would understand, the Dairy Council would be pretty upset about it, and have threatened PETA with legal action on the issue. Are they charging them with libel for spreading false information? Oh no, they are charging them with copyright infringement, since it is too close to the "Got Milk?" campaign.

Now, parodies are protected under US Law, so really they don't have a leg to stand on, but it raises an interesting point. I find it curious that PETA is not getting charged for spreading false information. This tells me that the powers that be in the Milk World know that PETA is right, and they can't prove in a court of law that their products are pus free. Obviously if they could prove this, they would go for it and get a very large libel suit out of PETA and anyone else who makes such claims.

Now I know that a lot of you out there looking for pesticide, poo, and pus free alternatives out there, are probably thinking about organic food. Well, the USDA is looking to expand their already weak regulations on what counts as "organic" to include more toxins. Sure that leaves out their rules on poo and pus, but I really can't help but wonder how long it will take them to lax out on those rules too.

So if you really want to have a diet that doesn't have those three Ps, I can recommend one for you, it's a little tough at first, but remember, it ain't easy being green...

Until next time,


Take 1 - Pacifism
Take 2 - The Environment
Take 3 - Pesticides, and Poo, and Pus, Oh My!
Take 4 - Distribution of Resources


Tracy said...

I just wanted to say that actually it's really not that difficult to be vegan. And even easier to be vegetarian. I highly recommend it!

G said...

Tracy, you are right! I don't find being vegan all that difficult. The only real challenge is a social one as I always have to put up with the questions, bad jokes, and judgments from other people, but those are things that I can deal with I'm sure. I just put the title of "It Ain't Easy Being Green" as an homage to Kermit the Frog, who is all kinds of awesome.

I plan on doing a "it really is easy to be a vegan" type post in the future. Do you have any suggestions for things that I should discuss then?