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Mar 8, 2007
subtitled You May Want to Eat Less Chicken and Encourage Others to Do the Same

"Being called a 'chicken' has become a part of derogatory language in many countries around the world and this bird is viewed as having a tiny brain and of little consequence" (quote from Rooibos Bird). They do not fall on the radar screen of most animal rights people who focus their concerns on dogs, cats, horses and whales. Did you know that birds are exempt from the USDA's minimum standards for formed animal safety and protection?

With all the not-so-recent media blitz about bird flu being nearly over, the concern among leading scientists around the globe has not died down. It is in fact now tinged with an added dimension of urgency. Why this complacency among the general populus? Well, refer back to the first paragraph. For some reason, the weapon of choice that all countries have adopted to combat bird flu is to slaughter every chicken in sight any bird that has died from the infection. We think that this has taken care of the "problem" and that this course of action is somehow in all of our best interests.

Doesn't this seem strange to anyone else?

Consider this for a moment or longer: maybe slaughtering all species that may potentially cause a threat to human health is not the answer. If we're the only ones left on Earth, what then? We perish anyway!

Regardless of what scientists are predicting about the likelihood of H5N1 mutating and becoming a human-to-human pandemic, does it feel or seem right to anyone to let mass killings of chickens proceed (chickens that were being grown for food and would not be in existence otherwise) based on a "possibility" that they might be infected? What exactly have the chickens done wrong? We were the ones that bred them in captivity for no other reason than to eat them. It would seem then, that we have a greater obligation to this species and especially the ones that were purposely bred for food. So why do we view them as expendable merchandise?

Any time a species is 'bred' rather than allowed to reproduce naturally, the possibility of disease and mutation is heightened. Therefore, as long as we keep chickens or any other animal en masse in captivity, there is the possibility that they will be infected with some virus. In addition, all viruses and bacteria mutate naturally. It's not that their mutation rate is higher than other species, per se, but that they have such a short life cycle and each life cycle introduces the possiblity for mutations to occur. It's just sooner or later that some deadly strain will come along. The long and short of it is, we created the potential bird flu problem by choosing to eat chickens, now we must resolve the problem and reverse this decision by not eating breeding and eating chickens.

It would seem therefore, that the best way for us to protect ourselves from any risk of bird flu or the like is to discontinue growing animals as food to reduce the spread of pathogens. This, however, would require a huge committment on the part of us humans to reduce our consumption of meat. There just doesn't seem to be any other way.

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Posted: Mar 8, 2007 3:55pm
Jan 12, 2007

Kicking Away the Corporate Ladder

For a culture that values its freedom, it is odd that Americans view the white picket fence as a symbol of happiness and personal achievement. A fence can serve only two purposes, to keep you in or to keep others out. Both these aims would seem to fly in the face of freedom.

I didn't intentionally set out in life to break out of the American mold. In fact, I worked very hard to create the perfect life for myself. I have a good education, I had my perfect career track, I had a husband in what appeared to be the perfect relationship. He was nice, he was good looking, he was employed, he loved kids and he even got along with my mom and his grandparents practically gave us a house in a high-end neighborhood in the heart of Silicon Valley.

Then I remembered that I had never wanted a white picket fence and 2.3 children, that being on a track to a non-profit Executive Directorship was hella exhausting and that there were a million things that I still wanted to pursue in life.

I found myself constantly looking forward to retirement. It's only 35 years away, I'd tell myself. All I have to do is stay in shape and save money, everything else will fall into place.

Then I realized. Shoot, life is too short to spend 35 years in an American dream that was not my dream. So I quite my job and asked my husband for a divorce. It would have been less remarkable had I been married for longer than 45 days.

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Posted: Jan 12, 2007 11:03am


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Laura K.
, 1, 1 child
San Francisco, CA, USA
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