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Eating Plants

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James McWilliams is "a historian and writer who's books include Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong, How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly and A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America. My writing on food, agriculture, and animals has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, The Washington Post, Slate, Forbes, Travel and Leisure, The Los Angeles Times, The International Herald Tribune, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Texas Observer."

  • The Tide Turns Against Pastured Cows
    Reality can be a bitch. Especially when you’re committed to propaganda. There’s no more common form of agrarian propagandizing than the insistence that pastured cows can save the earth. If that assessment sounds hyperbolic, check in with Allan Savory, who says that pastured cows can save the earth. While the media, which knows precious little (...more)
    20 Jul 2014 at 5:06pm       

  • Chipotle Goes Telepathic
      Chipotle’s recent marketing stunt is so bold—so weirdly bold—I almost want to respect the depth of their gall. Although the company has been under fire for claiming that it serves “food with integrity” when in fact it serves loads of factory farmed meat, it has reacted to the negative publicity by promoting Niman (...more)
    17 Jul 2014 at 2:05pm       

  • The Vegan Identity
    After years of this kind of writing, the kind of writing I do here, I’m starting to see my name preceded by “vegan author.” Naturally. I identify as a vegan and thus am happy to embrace the qualification. That said, I don’t really put it out there myself. When people ask for a bio, I [...] (...more)
    14 Jul 2014 at 4:51pm       

  • The Elephants In The Room
      My apologies for the long absence. The site experienced ongoing technical problems while my web man was on vacation. But the good news is that we all got a rest. That said, matters are in order and I’m back to work. Over the break I became intrigued by the current outrage against ivory. Just [...] (...more)
    12 Jul 2014 at 10:51am       

  • A Remarkable Admission
    The following excerpt is from a much longer NYRB exchange with John Searle, a UC-Berkeley professor of philosophy and one of the smartest thinkers alive. Emphasis is added. -jm Coming back to the question of rights, since every right requires a corresponding obligation, does it follow from your view that animals don't have rights, since they [...] (...more)
    26 Jun 2014 at 3:34am       

  • Grassfed Beef Destroys Florida Pine Forest
    The more I read the rhetoric of grassfed beef peddlers the more I’m convinced that these guys are worse than global warming denialists. They go on and on about the theoretical ecological benefits of fattening cows on grass but fail to offer concrete examples of this endeavor’s systematic success. They fail to discuss in any [...] (...more)
    25 Jun 2014 at 6:32am       

  • Grow, Pick, Cook, Eat
    Paul Greenberg’s piece on the global seafood trade in the Times underscores vividly the reality captured in the article’s headline: why are we importing our own fish? Although Greenberg never gets around to really answering his own question (the piece simply insists should localize and participate in local seafood–novel!), the answer (...more)
    21 Jun 2014 at 6:46pm       

  • Are All Major Environmental Organizations Cowards?
    Why is it that institutions with the power to initiate genuine beneficial change diminish their own effectiveness? I’ve railed in the past against mainstream environmental groups for refusing to promote veganic agriculture as a critical component of ecological amelioration. The evidence is simply overwhelming and undeniable: removing animals from (...more)
    19 Jun 2014 at 4:15pm       

  • Complicating The Domestication Narrative
    A central chapter in the “man was meant to eat meat” narrative insists that animal domestication reflected the natural human quest for flesh. That is to say, that the biological impulse to eat animals was so persuasive that it led humans to isolate chosen members of a wild species, coax them into genetic tractability, and [...] (...more)
    17 Jun 2014 at 9:22am       

  • Crawfish Have Anxiety (And That's No Joking Matter)
    Here’s a nugget of advice for writers covering stories about the largely hidden emotional lives of animals: as you document nonhuman sentience don’t mention how delectable the animals are to eat. That’s bad form. It’s like writing about war and cracking jokes, or covering a house fire and joshing about all those zany! pyromaniacs. (...more)
    14 Jun 2014 at 11:58am       





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