Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fresh & End of the Line

Spent most of Monday night at the Local Food Festival of earlier post fame. The movies showing that night were, as advertised in the title of this post, Fresh and End of the Line. I have to admit, I had kind of expected them to be wildly slanted and partisan and using more emotional than intellectual appeal. Welcome to Low Expectation Theater! However, they were both thoughtfully done, and presented a reasonably balanced perspective on the issues they examined. Each film had a slant, make no mistake, but they each made a reasonable attempt to be balanced. I was very pleasantly surprised, and thoroughly enjoyed both films.
Fresh looks at Factory vs. Sustainable farming. Guess which side wins! No, seriously. The case is made thoughtfully, and no one is presented as a bad person - even people who participate in factory farming. However, farmers, economists, ecologists, and a bevy of other representative folks all make their cases pretty convincingly. The questions I had concerned the practicality of this type of agriculture sustaining the global population. Again, the case that it can work is pretty convincing - watch the movie to see why. It probably helps my perspective that I basically agree with most of the filmmakers' points. The biggest one for me is humanely raising animals. Non-cannibalistic food, water, some grass to run around on and some fresh air to breathe are all cows and pigs and poultry ask of us. It seems entirely reasonable to me, and I can't see why they can't have it. Maybe that's bleeding heart-y of me, but that's what I think. The film also addresses industrial plant farming as well, so that's something to look forward to. If you are on the fence about this issue or need more information, I recommend Fresh. If you disagree with this perspective, the movie might give you some things to think about. Or else it will make you really mad. Your choice!
End of the Line is about how we are fishing the oceans empty. Again, it is the big industrial fishermen who are wrecking everything for everyone else. Regular small catch and/or indigenous fisherfolk are not hurting anything (except when they are stupid, but that is a whole other issue). I really eat very little fish, so I was starting to feel pretty smug, when they got to the blue fin tuna part. Hmmm. I like tuna = now I'm part of the problem. Well, I reasoned to myself, surely my little bit of fish... Nope, that's exactly the kind of reasoning leads us down a slippery slope. Then I thought, Ah! I'll just buy farmed fish. Nope, the filmmakers knew we would think that. Farmed fish is no better. Watch the film to find out why. One bright ray of hope, however, Alaska fish resource management was cited as an excellent example to sustainably maintain a resource while still allowing fishing. Go us!
So I came home determined to immediately cease and desist all meat eatery until I can find sources who raise their animals right. Mr. EA was not thrilled to hear this, until I told him it would be as easy as following this link the Alaska state Dept. of Ag ...and then taking it from there.

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