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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

‪There Comes A Time When Some Things Just Must Be SaidFarm Aid, 1995‬‏ - YouTube

"Comes A Time" by Neil Young at Farm Aid, 1995‬‏.

Here's a Comment of the Moment from last summer that came in the midst of Neil Young's announcement to help residents of the Gulf coast in the aftermath of the BP oil disaster.

A few folks took serious issue with Neil's partnership with Tyson Foods on the Gigs For The Gulf, given his stance against factory farming.

From Neil Young's Gulf Coast Benefit Concerts by tammyu:
So much has been so eloquently said I'll never come close—but really, people, before the current economic crisis there were children in this area going to bed hungry. Every night.

The long-term effects of cheap food consumption—simple carbohydrates are cheap—begin early and can be life-long ... even after eating habits have been changed. Ask any observant teacher who's been in front of a class—she can tell you which children don't eat right.

I mean, come on people, we tell pregnant women to supplement their B vitamin intake to foster normal fetal neurological development, then forget how important nutrition is to minds that have left the uterus for this environment? Why do we have school lunch programs? Nutrition matters. Quality matters. But that's an economic issue too ... and there are many people in this country who do not have the resources which afford opportunities to choose wisely.

I don't know what world you live in, but I grew up in this area. The summers of my childhood were spent on my maternal grandparent’s farm: my favorite way to spend the morning was riding with my grandfather to deliver his milk. I have churned butter—and I have family who STILL farm (personal and small). I also have family who raise chickens for Tyson. Hate if you must—but everyone who's struggled to make a decent living in that area knows getting a Tyson contract means you will actually get to live above the poverty level—in a state that's been in the 'Top Ten' of THAT list for ... well, as long as I can remember. But what about raising chickens for Tyson? For my extended family, it was a business decision—one made by a man who’d watched his own children languish on the meager sustenance he could provide by working a factory job AND farming the muck of red clay so abundant here ... but I digress ... Wanna criticize? Put on the hungry shoes. Better yet, put them on your child. No? Then do something to make a difference. And here's the twist--in SOMEONE ELSE'S life.

It gives you less time to point fingers at those who ARE doing something. And if you find you STILL have time to blast others who are trying to make a difference, then take legitimate action toward change—let Tyson's know directly you disapprove of their practices. Pursue legal action. (That means you'll have to do more than quote dated material tho' ...) Better yet, go to work in the areas where Tyson plants are, where Tyson farmers live, to change THEIR lives—and the lives of their children. I know those people and I guarantee you, those parents are like most—they want better things for their children. Those plants are there for a reason you know ... I understand that even more, now that I know about the Tyson-Farm Aid connection ....

Finally, I wonder which of you could bear the scrutiny you seem to think appropriate for others. Are you perfect? Are all your friends? Associates? Have you ever done something for reasons you didn't care to explain to the world, ever wished you could simply help without taking a tongue-lashing for it? Or have you, perchance, ever baked a cake—without eggs? Not the same as one with eggs—so do you forego the eggs because the lives of egg-producing chickens is less humane than that of chickens allowed to live free and produce eggs at will? Hmmm. No chickens in the wild? No chickens out there en masse, defending themselves against predators, foraging for food, building up those wings so they can soar to new heights, take their rightful place with the hawk, falcon, eagle? No ideal chicken state?

Don’t misunderstand me—I’m not ignoring issues—I have problems with hormones and antibiotics being introduced into the food chain, I don’t think any creature should be abused, and I don’t like the fact that what we routinely do to food in order to make mass quantities conveniently available to a disparate and distant populace often destroys nutritive value—I’m just being inflammatory …

Sorry. That really wasn't my point—my point is that it is, at times, necessary to do things in a particular way because that provides what is needed. Sure, it would be great if 1,000,000 pounds of fresh, organic protein were made available to the area—but Tyson stepped up. And while you, personally, might throw their chicken back at them, you don't have the right to take it from a hungry child to throw at them.

Live what you believe. Be who you want to be. Let others do the same. Help them every chance you get. That's how we make the world a better place.

Thank you tammyu! Enjoy the benefit concerts.

More on Neil Young's Gulf Coast Benefit Concerts.


At 8/10/2011 09:17:00 AM, Blogger Peter Johnson said...

Firstly, I'm sure we are all confident that Neil's heart is in the right place, at the very least!

I advise everyone to take the time to read "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer, which talks at length about Tyson Foods, and factory farming as a whole. It is a real eye-opener. If you live in America, this book is surely one of the most important books you could ever read (I don't, and it was still a life-changing read).

It is well known how factory farms use charitable donations to gain publicity and increase sales. It's still a charitable donation, but If you're going to make a charitable donation, doing it through a factory farm is truly one of the worse ways conceivable. You've got to think of the bigger picture, hard as it is to do sometimes. Neil surely knows this as well as anyone.

Factory farming contributes way more to world poverty than you probably imagine. Those of you who have done some extensive research into factory farming, will almost certainly be of the opinion that factory farming is indefensible, under ANY circumstances experienced. And I haven't even touched on the matter of animal treatment. It makes no sense to feed hungry people with animals who have had even worse lives than they have. I don't think you can justify that, particularly if you realise that there are more cost-effective alternatives. That is a key point. Animal protein isn't, by any stretch of the imagination, a necessity for starving people.
It's a luxury.

In truth, almost all the support of factory farming comes from people who really don't know enough about it, yet. And from the factory farms themselves.

Much as I hugely appreciate Neil's support of organisations such as Farm Aid, I don't necessarily consider him to be the leading authority on the matter of farming. I think he made a bad call in this instance, which I certainly don't hold against him. He's done far more good than harm in the course of his career, no question. I would, however, suggest you take his advice and do your own research on factory farming - you will surely benefit from it! For a start - read "Eating Animals"!

At 8/10/2011 03:55:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An older but infinitely informative book is the classic "ANIMAL LIBERATION" by Peter Singer.

I checked it out from my high-school library way back in 1983 and have never consumed a dead animal since.

Non-human animals have souls too.

At 8/12/2011 02:48:00 PM, Blogger Jill said...

This comment has been removed by the author.


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