Monday, June 22, 2009

Food Inc. and Designer Cows

When I read about what Canadian food scientists are currently working on, I was disturbed, but not entirely surprised. You see, now scientists are designing cows (that there is already creepy) that they claim will be better for the planet and reduce global warming. How, you might ask? Simple - the cows will just be tailor-made to burp less. Stephen Moore, a professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton calls these special cows "efficient animals".

It's no secret that the meat industry is responsible for releasing a whopping amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, adding to the crisis of global warming. One of the most troublesome of the greenhouse gases, methane, is released via bovine belches. So, as is often the solution in big business, instead of getting to the root of the problem, scientists are further messing with nature as a band-aid 'solution' to this massive, growing problem. Oh yeah, and these same scientists are also working on shrinking cattle's ecological footprint by breeding cows that grow faster so they can spend less time standing around. Yay!

Forgive me if I'm sounding a bit pessimistic here, but I'm also currently reading Food, Inc., the follow up to the eye-opening film, which is an expose of the entire food industry with exquisitely-written, powerful pieces filled with not-so-fun facts that the head honchos don't want you to know about. The chapters regarding the meat and especially beef industry were especially eye-opening and haunting. This is also the reason why I'm not surprised to hear about these genetically-modified cows as solutions to bigger and much more complicated problems.

I've already decided to choose organic food products as often as possible, and I simply can't see the food industry or the grocery store in the same light as I did just last week. I agree with a quote on the back of the novel, that this book does for the grocery store what Jaws did for the beach. I thought about that line as I exited the grocery store the other day and saw a bag of 'barbecued pork rib flavoured potato chips"...think about that for a second.