Meat is dangerous; don’t eat it

*Meat is dangerous; don't eat it *Don't sacrifice environment for jobs

Meat is dangerous; don’t eat it

As if methane from feed lots is not bad enough, let’s see what they feed the animals, that we in turn consume when we eat this meat.

Antibiotics are given in the feed of factory farm animals to cut down on salmonella, pneumonia, staph infections from wounds, and other bacterial infections caused by the overcrowded conditions.

As a result, bacteria grow resistant. Ninety percent of staphlococci were, in 1987, resistant to penicillin. These bacteria end up in the animals’ flesh, and we consume them. This bacteria ends up in our intestinal tract, and, though our natural bacteria, which is non-resistant, keeps them in check, when treated with antibiotics which kill our own non-resistant bacteria, the resistant bacteria can overwhelm us. At some point, most, if not all, antibiotics will end up being ineffective.

Sex hormones are used to get more milk production from cows, and to produce more fat and weight. Unfortunately, this can cause early puberty in children as young as 4- and 5-years old, which can lead to breast cancer in women later on. Also, secondary female sex characteristics, like enlarged breasts and high voices, can appear in boys.

DES was finally banned, but the same substances that were in DES are still in use in feed. One molecule present in the 340 trillion present in a quarter pound of beef liver can cause cancer.

Pesticides are used to kill bugs and weeds. They will also kill us. Phosgene, used in chemical warfare, and Zyklon B, used in extermination camps by the Nazis, are both still in use, as is Agent Orange defoliant, which was used in Vietnam.

As these are sprayed on the plants that cattle consume as feed, they end up in the animals’ flesh. Animals are often dipped or sprayed with chemical pesticides to prevent parasites.

Pesticides are horribly carcinogenic — .00424 of an ounce of Parathion immediately paralyzed and killed a chemist who accidently ingested it. These poison chemicals stay in the environment for decades, and we end up feasting on DDT, Aldrin, Kepone, Dieldrin, Chlordane, Heptachlor, Endrin, Mirex, PCBs, Toxaphene, Lindane, and many more, not to mention Zyklon B, Agent Orange, and Phosgene.

Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? Do you really want your children eating these things? Please, avoid meat.

Jahnn Swanker-Gibson


Don’t sacrifice environment for jobs

If you’ve been to a fracked-gas infrastructure forum or a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) hearing, then you have seen the orange-shirted guys bused in for the event, and you’ve seen their neon laborers’ union truck promoting pipelines. Maybe you heard the music booming from that truck: “This land is your land.” They have stood up and said they need the jobs, and that the pipeline will be built safely.

Something sad and ironic has happened here.

Woody Guthrie said: “The world is filled with people who are no longer needed — and who try to make slaves of all of us — and they have their music and we have ours.” He fought for workers’ rights against company goons. He fought for the environment against rapacious corporations that would sacrifice anything and anyone for a profit.

But right here. See? They’re stealing our music, Woody’s music.

Now, somehow, those related goals of finding a job, preserving our healthy world and keeping a home have gone in different directions. The unions are fighting for the corporate right to take land by eminent domain and to pollute our streams and forest. The corporations are buying them shirts and dinner and busing them to the pipeline hearings because they can. Corporations are people, and dollars are free speech.

But corporations are nobody’s friend except the shareholders’. They dupe the unions into supporting a pipeline and hire non-union workers. They are as unconcerned with the environment as they are with workers’ safety.

Based on recently-built Millennium and Iroquois pipelines, thousands of safety and Clean Water Act violations were charged. You can open the paper and read about today’s pipeline leaks, explosions, evacuations, deaths.

The same paper will tell you that oil patch and pipeline jobs are the most dangerous in the world, with poor regulatory oversight, dangerous chemical exposure, and big equipment, and the company owners are more concerned about meeting deadlines and making money than they are with the well-being of their workers.

Many of us fighting pipelines belong to unions, too. I heard a member of the Steelworkers Union speak at an open house. He turned to the orange shirts and said, “My brothers, I would not take a six-month job that would do long-term damage to the environment. I would not take a job that required the theft of someone else’s land.”

For union workers, whether in food service, communication, or labor, the lowest thing a guy can do is cross a picket line. This act deprives a brother of a livelihood, of food, of a home. So, what does it mean when workers cross onto land taken by Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) order to dig a ditch and lay pipe? When a union guy steps onto land that a corporation has seized through eminent domain, he is taking a home, a livelihood, from a brother.

Woody thought, “It’s a folk singer’s job to comfort disturbed people and to disturb comfortable people.”

I hope what I’ve written has disturbed some comfortable folks. To paraphrase Woody, “To stick with something wrong-headed, is like milking a dead cow.” Nowadays, oil companies are milking a dying cow and telling us they need our land and water in order to do it, that workers need to cross the picket line onto someone’s property to put in a pipeline for the big corporation. What happens next year? Another pipeline? And the year after? Another?

We all need jobs, but we also need clean water to drink and air to breathe. We need jobs, but not jobs that take our neighbors’ land.

Dennis Higgins


Categories: Letters to the Editor

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