We can be pretty certain that in the coming days we will hear this message over and over again "So what if most of the meat on our supermarket shelves is contaminated with antibiotic-resistant bacteria? If you handle and cook your meat properly then a few bacteria shouldn’t be a problem; and if you get sick with an untreatable disease then it’s your own fault.' This is the kind of contemptible retort we can expect from the intensive meat industry lobby and its many trolls in response to new research by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which reveals high levels of life-threatening antibiotic-resistant bacteria on raw supermarket meat. Yet the “cook it properly and everything will be OK” spin is just Big Ag’s latest attempt to absolve itself of any responsibility for squandering one of the most important medical innovations of our time– and putting American lives at risk.
The guerilla street artist Banksy has just unveiled a new exhibit in New York City’s Greenwich Village. Featuring self-dipping chicken nuggets and other animatronic oddities, this is an artist’s take on cultural and utilitarian attitudes towards animals-on the farm and in the home. A sign posted outside the shop proclaims, “Open for Pet Supplies/Rare Breeds/Mechanically retrieved meat.” In a statement distributed by his publicist, the secretive artist stated, “I wanted to make art that questioned our relationship with animals and the ethics and sustainability of factory farming, but it ended up as chicken nuggets singing.” Banksy brings up an issue that is often uncomfortable and rarely addressed in polite conversation. Should the animals we eat be afforded the same regard as the ones we depend on for companionship? A depressed Tweety bird brings to mind the current debate over California’s Proposition 2 and the controversy of confining farm animals to cages that prohibit natural movement. The exhibit will run until October 31 and is free and open to the public.
Image courtesy of http://flickr.com/photos/sabeth718/sets/72157607890649410/