Monday, September 25, 2006


What else is there to say. . .

Outrage and despair

The May 2006 issue of Discover magazine has an article about a train in Sweden that runs on cow manure. According to the article, the train "is billed as the most environmentally friendly train in the world." Wonderful!

But there is a disturbing second part to the article. "This summer, however, Svensk found a way to use the whole heifer. Now the company chops up the cows and converts their guts, fat, and bones into an organic sludge, which then gets processed as before. It takes about 30 cows to power the train along its 75-mile route from Linkoping to Vastervik, one of the countrysides's most beautiful stretches of rail."

The "rational" response to this is that the business of farming cows is anything but environmentally friendly. It uses a ridiculous amount of water and land and pumps tons of gallons of chemical waste into our oceans every day.

But I can't think about the "rational response" right now because my brain is spinning with questions of ethics. Morality. Spirituality even. In what moral system is it okay, even worthy of positive press, to breed and murder living, feeling beings to power your commute to work? How can I live in a world where scientists are actively pursuing more ways to brutalize beings who feel love, pain and terror? I'm sure that there is a nice explanation, that this technology uses the bits that are "left over," or "wasted" in the agricultural industry. Use their legs for dinner, their skins for a nice pair of shoes, and use their brains and guts for locomotive fuel. Does that sound the least bit repulsive to anyone else? Rationalizing the efficient, economic use of their bodies is beyond my comprehension. Have you ever been close to a cow? They are beautiful creatures with soft fur and funny tails, who like to graze in the company of others like them. They are not fuel. I don't even know what else to say.

Posted by Heather McKenzie at the Ojai Post Blog and sent to us by Urvasi dasi, September 2, 2006 10:17 PM

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