News From Terre Haute, Indiana

December 26, 2013

Readers’ Forum: Dec. 27, 2013

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Strong arguments for vegan position

In Tommy Caton’s recent letter, he listed 12 power-points against the meat industry. But would a meatless America lead to a healthy America or an economic basket case?

Let’s say the Fairy Godmother from the “Wizard of Oz” suddenly appeared, waved her magic wand with the appropriate incantation and suddenly — voila! — we all lost our carnivorous cravings and became a nation of vegans.

No more meat slaughtering/meat packing/meat marketing industry.

Meat-based fast-food joints would go bye-bye faster than you could punch a calculator.

Supermarkets and independent groceries would see their profits plummet.

Likewise ad agencies for fast-food eateries, other restaurant chains, and all kinds of meat products.

TV, radio, online (PCs, tablets, cells) and print media revenues would also plunge from lost advertisements.

Trucking companies and railways that move meat products across the country would suffer losses as well.

Ever-popular cooking and gourmet shows on TV would lose a lot of clout if they could only fuss with salads and veggies.

And so would the publishers of streams of cooking books with great recipes for meat dishes.

The Great Depression of ’29 left 25 percent unemployed. Kill the meat industry in America and we could be looking at 50 percent jobless.

It ain’t gonna happen, Mr. Caton, and if it did, half the country would be starving to death. Not from the veggie diet but joblessness.

But they’d die healthy.

Nevertheless, parents or non-parents who read Mr. Caton’s power-points should be thankful for them. It would make for a healthier America.

What equally, if not moreso, impresses me by the vegan position is the moral weight of their appeal. In a world over-wrought with violence, does not the breeding and raising of many millions or billions of sentient creatures for the sole purpose of slaughter reflect upon us as a God-fearing or God-loving nation?

The late veterinary surgeon and immensely popular author of many books, James Herriot, had something to say on the issue. Among his most popular works: “All Creatures Great and Small,” “All Things Bright and Beautiful,” “All Things Wise and Wonderful,” and “Every Living Thing.”

I rest my case.

No! No! I take that back. I am suffering a pang of conscience, so allow me to make a pre-emptive strike against those who would accuse me of hypocrisy. Well into my senior years, I confess I have been a meat-eater nearly all of my life. I don’t want to end up like St. Augustine. In his youth he had a lot of fun sowing his wild oats. In his later years, drained of such passion, he became pious and an ascetic, admonishing the youth not to indulge in the pleasures of the flesh. As if the young could learn to become adults any other way except by experience.

So now I rest my case. The case that Tommy Caton eloquently argued.

Your turn, Whopper and Big Mac aficionados.

— Saul Rosenthal

Terre Haute