By Elisa Camahort
AS I SAT down to write this column, I realized it will be published the day after Election Day. On Wednesday, Nov. 5, we will know whether Californians were willing to afford the tiniest of creature comforts (to be able to lie down, turn around and extend their limbs) to some, and only some, of the millions of creatures we humans confine for the purpose of food. I missed out on the opportunity to comment on this a month ago, back when it might have made some small difference.
But why let that stop me?
Whether Proposition 2 passes or not, the vast majority of food animals will continue to experience an existence that few of us would argue is comfortable and that most of us would agree was torturous—if we took the time to look into it. A few more square feet will not make happy animals. The passage of Prop. 2 wouldn't send me to eat a burger or even an omelette. Proposition 2 is one of those pinky band-aids applied to a deep gash in our ethics.
I know that many of you are not looking to make some overnight conversion, but are becoming ever more conscious of where your food comes from, and how the ways we produce and consume food affect our health and the planet's. I know many of you see how food production has become industrialized and feel extremely uncomfortable with the level of cruelty inflicted on animals that we have come to realize are thinking, feeling creatures, even if they're not exactly like us.
Still, I know it's hard not to shine it on when we're not really privy to what happens on factory farms and it's hard not to get cynical when we learn that terms like "free-range" have no muscle behind them.
On the other side, for veg*ns like me, it's hard to feel happy about legislation like Proposition 2. It feels too much like it will encourage complacency and continued denial and won't produce real change.
And yet I do indeed urge those of you who are not ready or willing to become a veg*n to seek out animal products from humanely raised animals. It is truly the least we can do. And it is truly better to do something than to do nothing.
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