The average American eats. A lot. As a new infographic points out, per year, food intake per person can amount to some 200 pounds of meat, 85 pounds of fat, 415 pounds of vegetables, 31 pounds of cheese, 53 gallons of soda and 42 pounds of high fructose corn syrup.
Eating meat grown in labs rather than from the carcass of a once living cow, pig or chicken is inching closer to reality every day as scientists have agreed to some key positions concerning issues surrounding cultured meat production.
We might feel anger by the comparison implicit in invoking racism and animal protection. After all, Nelson Mandela didn't move the nation of South Africa to secure the rights of mother pigs or egg-laying chickens.
Compassion now has a market. And we're seeing even wider cracks in the system of factory farming, including this week's historic agreement between the Humane Society of the United States and the egg industry.
Remember that old song: "If you're not with the one you love, love the one you're with"? The words keep running through my mind as I listen to many of our friends who dream of someday owning traditional farms and farmland.
Why save dogs, but eat other animals? Pigs are more intelligent. They can dream, recognize their own names, fetch a tennis ball, and lead social lives of a complexity previously observed only in primates. Some even enjoy cuddling.
No one can deny that it's better to be less cruel in the ways we confine and kill animals (if we are going to kill and eat them anyway), but if we're interested in long-term change, we can't look at killing with kindness or gratitude as a solution in itself.
The squandering of life-saving antibiotics is one example of a bigger trend hijacking global politics. Small groups of rich people, determined to maximize profits, are buying or bamboozling politicians into serving their interests and into ignoring ours.