Thursday, April 01, 2010

On Goodall and Hummus (i.e. More Things Overheard)


In a Huffington Post interview with Marianne Schnall today, Dr. Jane Goodall displayed a disappointing and marked lack of consistency in her view of whether nonhuman animals exist solely for human use and pleasure. To defend her own choice to use nonhuman animals, Dr. Goodall fell back on that old familiar excuse that veganism is "just too hard". When asked about the hypocrisy of calling one species 'pet', while calling another 'pest' (in this case, with reference to hamsters kept in cages vs. mice killed in traps), she responded:

And you get the white coated scientist who has a dog at home who's part of the family who understands ever word I say - but then he goes and puts on his white coat and does unspeakable things to dogs in the name of science. There's a real schizophrenia. Yes, we are very peculiar [laughs].
Then, after describing the health benefits she experienced when she chose to stop eating meat, she was asked about going vegan and responded:
Well, I can't go vegan because travelling like I do, I really, really don't think I could. You know, it's really difficult. And I stay with people - we had a vegan staying us one time, and it's very difficult. Three hundred days on the road - you go to North Korea - it's jolly hard to be vegetarian much less a vegan [laughs]. But I do my best. And if people would think about intensive farming - if they would think of the damage to the environment of growing all this corn or raising all these cattle. If they would think about the torture of the animals on the intensive farms. And then if they would realize about the antibiotics getting out into the environment, the bacteria building up resistance and the superbugs that we are breeding, more people would become vegetarians.
So she has no difficulty promoting vegetarianism for the environment, for one's health and because of "the torture of the animals on the intensive farms" -- but veganism (i.e. refraining from using animals and their products altogether) is off her radar because it's "very difficult". Considering that as recently as 2007, Goodall was asserting that some cases of vivisection could be justifiable, and that vegetarianism is "not necessarily an option that everyone has to adopt" ("Goodall on Vivisection and Vegetarianism", from Animal Rights: The Abolitionist Approach), her own schizophrenia today isn't all that surprising. There were bits in the rest of her interview that I also found disconcerting. For instance, a) she presented what she called "good zoos" as perhaps being a better place for primates to be than in the wild where they still experience "fear" and "pain", yet b) states later that chimpanzees or the "voice of the natural world" would, if given the opportunity, tell us to bug off and stop interfering and then c) asserts that humans need to get involved--that we "have to go in and manage very often". The one thing that is clear from the interview is that Dr. Jane Goodall thinks that some animals are ours to use--just not the specific ones that she doesn't want us to use.

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I found an interesting looking recipe for hummus this morning that uses ginger and heaps of fresh mint to flavour it. The filler in the article that leads up to the recipe, however, left me with a (yep--here I go) bad taste in my mouth.
Because they don’t eat dairy products or meat, vegans can have difficulty getting enough protein in their diet. Combining grains and legumes can be a good source of protein. This hummous can be made with a whole grain to ensure for maximum protein intake.
Vegans do not have difficulty getting enough protein in their diet and the whole protein combining theory has been discredited. Why, oh why do people not take 10-15 minutes to do a little bit of background research before perpetuating misinformation? The folks at the University of Victoria's independent paper The Martlet should know better!

10 comments:

Openminded said...

Yes, I wish people would do more research before spouting outdated hearsay. As a vegan I come across it so much it is becoming tedious.

Crystal said...

A lot of vegans I know were vegetarian during times of travel or while studying abroad in Europe. I don't think that specific aspect of Goodall's stance necessarily means a lot. I've never traveled outside of vegan friendly areas extensively so I can't say from personal experience whether or not that's reasonable.

Renata said...

I was suprised to hear Jane Goodall's comments, and it just confirms to me that humans have such a long way to go ethically! I really 'thought' her views would be different working so closely to animals!

Allison, The Busy (Happy!) Vegan said...

The unfortunate thing is that Dr. Goodall's inconsistency is not surprising. As human animals, we display this in many areas - not just regarding how we see animals. It's interesting though - I find the pet/food/clothes/pet argument is the hardest for omnivores to get around. You'll notice from Dr. Goodall's comments that she never actually reconciles how she can view some animals as deserving of freedom, and others as justified for her convenience. I think it's a point we need to keep bringing up!

Mylène Ouellet said...

Crystal wrote:
"I don't think that specific aspect of Goodall's stance necessarily means a lot. I've never traveled outside of vegan friendly areas extensively so I can't say from personal experience whether or not that's reasonable."

You don't think which specific aspect of Goodall's stance necessarily means a lot? That she's a mainstream animal ethics superstar of sorts and continues to consume some animals and presents veganism as generally (i.e. not just for herself) difficult? Amanda, from the Vegan Mafia food blog mentioned on Twitter the other day that when Goodall hosted a dinner in Salt Lake City, animal products were served. Basically, Dr. Goodall hosted a dinner to impress upon people the need to take the interests of some non-human animals seriously, and did so--in a large city were vegan food is readily available--by using non-human animals. I think stuff like that is incredibly significant, myself.

Mylène Ouellet said...

A comment from Dave Langois via Twitter that I think it quite important to consider:

http://www.twitlonger.com/show/ntn33

VeganGirlInTheWorld said...

Yet another person confusing the public, and misleading some animal advocates into thinking one can still exploit non-human animals and be an advocate at the same time. I'm still amazed at how many animal activists are not vegan. I know peeps who went vegan overnight and were not "animal activists". So, why is it "so hard" for so called advocates?!

What message does it send to the public, when even animal advocates are not vegan?! Liking cheese is just no excuse for animal torture. Is that slice of pizza really worth someone's life?! Enough with the excuses.

VeganGirlInTheWorld said...

Yet another person confusing the public, and misleading some animal advocates into thinking one can still exploit non-human animals and be an advocate at the same time. I'm still amazed at how many animal activists are not vegan. I know peeps who went vegan overnight and were not "animal activists". So, why is it "so hard" for so called advocates?!

What message does it send to the public, when even animal advocates are not vegan?! Liking cheese is just no excuse for animal torture. Is that slice of pizza really worth someone's life?! Enough with the excuses.

Vanilla Rose said...

I've only been abroad once since becoming vegan, and that was to stay at a mainly-vegan project in Spain. But I know of vegans who have travelled far and wide and the secret seems to be to do some research.

Alexandra Jones said...

You know, it's really difficult. And I stay with people - we had a vegan staying us one time, and it's very difficult.

So on the one hand she seems to be kind of sort of implying that she *would* be vegan if she didn't have such a hard time with it when she travels, but then she seems to be saying that she had a hard time feeding a vegan houseguest. At least that's how I'm reading it, though I may have misunderstood. So it doesn't sound like she's trying very hard, even at home! Gah. So annoying.