Monday, May 17, 2010

Bringing It To The Table

I haven't read any Wendall Berry except a tid bit now and again. James has read a lot, but I just haven't had time, nor the interest to create the time. But Wendall Berry had a new book come out just last year titled, "Bringing It To The Table". It peaked my interest and so I checked it out at the library. If you aren't familiar with Wendall Berry his books are compilations of essays that he has written over the years and all fit under the heading of what becomes the title of the book. Some of the essays in this book are from the 70's, some from early 2000's. There is one that I found very interesting and wanted to share. Sorry for it's length, I'll try not to tye out the whole thing.

Stupidity in Concentration (2002)
I. Confinement, Concentration, Separation
My task here is to show the great stupidity of industrial animal production. Factory farms, like this essay, have the aim of cramming as much as possible into as small a space as possible. To understand these animal factories, we need to keep in mind three principles: confinement, concentration, and separation.
The principle of confinement in so called animal science is derived from the industrial version of efficiency. The designers of animal factories appear to have had in mind the example of concentration camps or prisons, the aim of which is to house and feed the greatest number in the smallest space at the least expense of money, labor, and attention. To subject innocent creatures to such treatment has long been recognized as heartless. Animal factories make an economic virtue of heartlessness toward domestic animals, to which humans owe instead a large debt of respect and gratitude.
The defenders of animal factores typically assume, or wish others to assume, that these facilities concentrate animals only. But that is not so. They also concentrate the excrement of the animals--to which, when properly dispersed, is a valuable source of fertility, but, when concentrated, is at best a waste, at worst a poison.
Perhaps even more dangerous is the inevitability that large concentrations of animals will invite concentrations of disease organisms, which in turn require concentrated and continuous use of antibiotics. And here the issue enlarges beyond the ecological problem to what some scientists think of as an evolutionary problem: The animal factory becomes a breeding ground for treatment-resistant pathogens, exactly as large field monoculture become breeding grounds for pesticide-resistant pests.

I won't write more. It's too long but you get a glimpse. The essay is truly well written and the book GREAT. I highly recommend it.

1 comment:

Mimi said...

I've never read him either, but I hear amazing things. I should look into him.

(a small quibble - piqued)

And, I can't wait to see you soon!