There is no thing, meat, that has uniformly negative ecological, social, or epidemiological consequences. Meat only has in common that it comes from living creatures, and animals, just like people, can only be fundamentally understood in relation to the material environments within which they live, are loved and cared for, or maltreated and abused, and, in the case of most food animals, killed.
The question of “Should we eat meat,” therefore, appears very different amongst different sets of “we” and the different relations “we” have with such animals.
There are millions who are likely to bridle at, or whose lives would be simply upturned and devastated by, enforced upon commands that they simply cease meat production and consumption. Tunisian camel herders in the semi-arid steppes of the Jerid who rely on herding for day-to-day survival, or Bedouins in the northern Gaza Strip, have not been consulted about how they feel about an order from the Global North — in this case direct from Vettese and Dutkiewicz’s Harvard — to stop eating meat or engaging in the meat trade. Nor, in the other direction, have these researchers asked if such meat is substantively identical to the confined feedlots they rightly condemn.
At a minimum, we know that ceasing meat production and consumption would require a massive political intervention in those countries. We know that isn’t what the authors intend, heaven forfend. But we also know that intention, the cloister of psychologists, does not get us very far. What are the predictable consequences of castigating the socio-ecologies of much of the Third World as not up to snuff?
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Buffalo Skulls, 1892 - The American Army, alongside military assisted hunters, rapidly and deliberately destroyed the Buffalo as a Scorched Earth tactic against the Native Americans, from 30-60mil animals to only 300 in 1884. LtCol. Dodge concisely put it as: “Every Buffalo Dead is an Indian Gone!”
No man did more to seal the fate of the American buffalo than General Sherman. Sherman was a celebrated veteran from the civil war, who learned some valuable lessons in the concept of Total War that he would later employ to solve the so called “Indian Problem”. His strategies relied on the belief that his Army “must make old and young, rich and poor, feel the hard hand of war”. While controlling the great plains, he witnessed how dependent the Native Americas were on the Buffalo for their physical and cultural subsistence.
The Army was left feeling frustrated as the Native Americans were far swifter with their nomadic way of living, meaning they could easily relocate during attacks. This meant that the Army, who were more bogged down with supplies, could never deal any fatal blows. The buffalo, of course, were a far more accessible target. This was exaggerated due to the nature of the animal as when one buffalo is killed, others rally around it for defence, meaning a party with guns and ammunition can slaughter hundreds of the beasts.
The Army themselves had been targeting Buffalo, but when a tannery in Pennsylvania learned how to convert buffalo hide into commercial leather, the hide hunters then targeted the animals in droves for their skin. The Army outfitted these hide hunters with transport, weapons, protection, and supplies in order to assist in the killing. Customarily, the animals would be killed for their tongues, hides and sometimes humps, while leaving the rest of the animal to rot on the plains.
A bill to protect the buffalo was introduced in 1875, which was quickly vetoed by Ulysses S. Grant.
Years later in Sherman’s memoirs, he wrote a particularly callus passage applauding the slaughter, saying “in so short a time replaced the wild buffaloes by more numerous herds of tame cattle, and by substituting for the useless Indians the intelligent owners of productive farms and cattle-ranches”.
The effect on the Native Americans cannot be overstated, and it paralyzed most of the tribes. As put by Crow Leader, Chief Plenty Coups: "When the buffalo went away the hearts of my people fell to the ground, and they could not lift them up again. After this nothing happened. There was little singing anywhere."
For More: https://youtu.be/TjCglblxZp0
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