Vegan Alert: Thoughts on 'Eating Animals'

Norman Weiss, Purchasing Manager and Jeannine Kienzle, Weavers Way Programs Coordinator

Norman and Jeannine shared popcorn and perspectives during a private screening of the documentary "Eating Animals." You can catch the film as part of Pennypack’s Sustainability Film Series on Tuesday, April 30, from 6-9 p.m. at the Ambler Theater.

J: Hey, how about that film we watched?

N: "Eating Animals?" It was interesting.

J: Care to elaborate?

N: Well, they had the pig waste lagoons, Colonel Sanders and the birth of the Chicken McNugget.

J: Can’t forget the very beginning of the film, where they credited a woman named Cecilia Steele, who received an incorrect baby chick order, with the birth of the first factory-farm chickens.

N: Yeah. That was the beginning of chickens being raised indoors, which led to Tyson Foods, which led to the Chicken McNugget, which led to Tyson becoming a giant food corporation in the United States and the mistreatment of billions of chickens. Have you ever had a Chicken McNugget?

J: Yes, I very much liked them as a child since it was a special treat, but the thought of eating them now is gross. Have you ever tried one?

N: No. I think I was already vegan by the time they came out. I just read McDonald’s is coming out with a vegan Chicken McNugget in Norway. I bet the Vikings would find that odd.

J: Not exactly Viking food! I found it intriguing that when the film spoke about vegetarianism, it mentioned plant-based technologies as the future, like Beyond Meat and JUST, Inc. I’m disappointed they didn’t discuss real food.

N: What do you mean by real food?

J: Real food comes from dirt.

N: We got dirty last month. Beyond Meat and JUST are curious products in that they are plant based, but I wouldn’t call them natural food. In fact, they are another form of factory food. They are concocted in labs and made in factories, so there’s some distance between these products and real foods.

J: Right. Because Beyond Meat doesn’t grow in the dirt.

N: Even though some of its ingredients did... But then those ingredients are manipulated, like pea protein isolate.

J: I’ve never bought any isolate from our Produce Department.

N: That’s because Co-ops are about community and avoid isolation.

J: Factory farms combine the community of animals in confined spaces, and isolate them from living a humane life.

N: The movie showed that factory farms, although huge, have to be isolated because of their smell and waste. There are Ag-gag rules preventing people from finding out more about them.

J: I already knew how horrific factory farms are and how they operate, but the film was a good and necessary reminder about how corrupt Big Ag is, and all the politics involved.

N: Sounds like a dirty business.

J: We just can’t seem to get away from dirt.

Stay tuned for next month’s column, in which Norman and Jeannine taste-test JUST Egg and explore the topic of plant-based technology.