Fighting familiar hazards

The stark contrast between our frenzied reaction to unfamiliar hazards and our reckless tolerance of familiar ones never ceases to amaze me.

The current incidence of swine flu – which has killed five Americans – has captured the headlines, canceled public events and closed dozens of schools. At the same time, we have blithely continued our consumption of meat and dairy products, which have been linked conclusively with elevated risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases that kill some 1.3 million Americans annually.

But it's not just about chronic diseases. According to the [Food and Agriculture Organization of the] United Nations, animal agriculture is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions, which can lead to catastrophic floods, droughts and sea-level rises that threaten human survival. This agriculture uses more fresh water and dumps more deadly waste into our water supplies than all other human activities combined.

Each of us has a shared responsibility for our society's health and welfare. The best time to exercise this responsibility is on our next trip to the supermarket, where we can explore the rich variety of meat-free and dairy-free ready-to-eat frozen dinners, veggie burgers and dogs, lunch "meats," and plant-based cheese, ice cream and milk. Helpful transition hints and recipes galore are available at and

— Kirk Patrick

About Webmaster
Mountain Xpress Webmaster Follow me @MXWebTeam

Before you comment

The comments section is here to provide a platform for civil dialogue on the issues we face together as a local community. Xpress is committed to offering this platform for all voices, but when the tone of the discussion gets nasty or strays off topic, we believe many people choose not to participate. Xpress editors are determined to moderate comments to ensure a constructive interchange is maintained. All comments judged not to be in keeping with the spirit of civil discourse will be removed and repeat violators will be banned. See here for our terms of service. Thank you for being part of this effort to promote respectful discussion.

10 thoughts on “Fighting familiar hazards

  1. Matt Mercy

    Of course meat and dairy consumption causes chronic disease when you inject the livestock with synthetic hormones and antibiotics, pasteurize puss and blood and call it milk, and genetically modify every food source under the sun (to name a few atrocities).

    As for your “greenhouse gas” contention, the “science” doesn’t add up. But let me put it this way: where are human beings not allowed to consume meat? Prisons. This is what the “global warming” scare is REALLY about: getting us to accept lower standards of living, then slavery, and then death.

  2. travelah

    Yawn, another wasted effort.
    I have decided to grill burgers this evening, cheeseburgers with cheese from what? cows!
    Here is a site that has GREAT recipes for every meat dish you can think of.

  3. confounded

    Still confused about how “ready-to-eat frozen dinners, veggie burgers and dogs, lunch “meats,” and plant-based cheese, ice cream and milk” are better then locally produced meat? It sounds like a lot of highly processed crap (and packaging) to me. Carnivore or vegetarian, the bulk of everyone’s diet really should be fresh vegetables, not processed “soyfood,” the junk food of vegetarian dining.

  4. Fred Morrison

    Besides the pollution, the “meat” industry is cruel. And “meat” eaters are barbaric. We do not need to eat dead animal body parts in order to get our nutrition. And the consumption of partially cremated, dissected animal corpses is flat out unhealthy. The typical American diet of over-consumption of “meat” is the primary cause of colon cancer, liver cancer, stomach cancer, just to name a few.

    Give your body a break. Let the poor animals live. Eat a vegetarian diet. Asheville has several wonderful vegetarian restaurants and healthfood stores where good local organic produce is available. In the immortal words of ET, The Extraterrestial, “Be Good!”

  5. joeinmadco

    I agree with confounded. I hardly eat any meat. But letters like this make me want to eat more of our WNC cows and pigs.

    Please, local vegan activists, stop with the run of letters that make your interest group look like a bunch of automatons. Put down the PETA pamphlets and do some critical thinking. Please. I know there are thoughtful non-meat eaters out there.

    Get back to me on this question: when it comes to human health, what are the differences between eating grain-fed, antibiotic-injected, shit-supplemented, confined beef and eating pastured, grass-fed beef?

    Oh, and I’d love for you to tell me about all those greenhouse gasses spewed while agribusiness heroes ship around the scores of questionable ingredients to build your pseudo-healthy fake meat products.

    It’s about the details, not the propaganda.

  6. Piffy!

    Well said, again, joe–

    PETA cares about nothing other than their own profit margin and recruitment numbers. They distort the truth and manipulate people’s emotions in order to keep their membership confused and ignorant.

  7. “Where are human beings not allowed to consume meat? Prisons.”

    I just read an interesting article by Sally Fallon Morell, president of the Weston A. Price Foundation, who is adamantly anti-soy in inmates’ diets and claims it can be toxic in high levels. So I’m not really sure that anyone is doing the inmates any favors health-wise by making them OD on soy products. Plus…Monsanto is scary and soy is genetically modified too.

  8. Piffy!

    Sally Fallon and the Weston Price foundation are a great source of info in regards to modern, manipulated ‘food’ products, megs. I was so happy to come across her book “Nourishing Traditions” when I started eating meat after nearly a decade of vegan/veggie. Thanks for bringing them up!

  9. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Why should the slaughter of an ox or a sheep be a greater wrong
    than the felling of an oak or hemlock, seeing that a spirit is present in all living things?

  10. Betty Cloer Wallace

    Some of my vegan friends, including a few who are rabid anti-meat-eater activists, have closets full of leather shoes, belts, coats, purses, wallets, and luggage, as well as leather car seats. ‘Tis hard not to notice.

    And one of my horse-loving vegan friends has quite a collection of leather saddles and harness, as well as a huge collection of tooled-leather western boots made from the hides of assorted animals.

Leave a Reply

To leave a reply you may Login with your Mountain Xpress account, connect socially or enter your name and e-mail. Your e-mail address will not be published. All fields are required.