Thursday, January 20, 2011

On one hand, some Americans are feeding organic food that they cooked for their dogs and cats. On the other hand, 16,000 children around the world die from hunger-related issues every day. This isn't normal.

24 comments:

  1. It's normal...this has been going on for centuries. It's just not right.

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  2. I know. I love how you point this ironic situation out. Sadly, this western fascination with pets has spread to Asia where you have upper middle and upper class families and young yuppies buying 'branded' clothes for their pets and taking them for pedicures whilst fellow countrymen in their own country may be languishing in poverty...quite ridiculous!

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  3. You can use that same argument for any unnecessary item on which people spend money. The reason that people are starving isn't a lack of food, it's a lack of food infrastructure. How can someone drive a Lexus when there are people starving? How can someone buy a Rolex when there are people starving? Cooking organic food for your pets is no more or less a waste of money or energy than either of those.

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  4. @ Andrew

    I think the point of outrage is that the people food that the pet owners feed to their pets could have fed the starving children, rather than a critique against luxury in general.

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  5. My point was that's not really the case. Americans buying less food does not translate to starving people getting that food. The large agribusinesses would simply produce less for the American market.

    There is enough food produced to feed everybody. The difficulty is actually getting that food to the people who need it. This requires investment in food infrastructure more than it requires people to not give their dogs chicken necks and carrots.

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  6. For some people, their pets are their best friends/children and deserve a healthy diet.

    I agree with Andrew. Nothing is normal if that's the way you think about it. The fact that you have a nice home (I'm assuming) isn't really normal. Why do you get to have a roof over your head, or even a computer, when these people don't have access to water?

    The best way to tackle this problem is sustainable development programs that help people make money to buy food or methods to farm and crop successfully. Maybe this comes out of your budget for your pet food, or maybe from your Starbucks fund, whatever you feel you can sacrifice. It's different for everyone.

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  7. Why are people continuing to have children that they can't provide food, housing, college educations, or jobs for life for? That's what I'd like to know.

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  8. Andrew,

    Obviously you are correct in one sense -- the amount of "wasted" material is the same. But that is not necessarily the only gauge for moral outrage.

    Think of it this way. Driving Lexus is for your satisfaction. Having a Rolex is for your satisfaction. So is having a nice home, although that probably includes the satisfaction of your family.

    But feeding your pet better is (at least ostensibly) for the PET's satisfaction. That is the source of moral outrage. There is less criticism to be made when someone with money spends that money to satisfy himself. But to use that money for the benefit of dogs and cats ahead of humans? That's the outrageous part.

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  9. John, the Korean hopes you realize the cruelty of your statement.

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  10. No, this has always been happening. I'm not sure there have been any periods in the last millennium where humanity didn't have a net surplus of food.

    Heck, I read an economics paper a few months ago on the Great Chinese Famine. It mentioned in passing that China had always had enough food to feed its citizens, but mal-distribution caused the shortages.

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  11. Let's not kid ourselves about the reasons why we feed our pets any kind of specialty food.. It ostensibly translates to the pet's satisfaction. But in the end, the OWNER gets satisfaction from reciprocating care of a pet that is giving them affection. The more you pamper your pets the more affection they feel they will get. It is in the end as selfish an expense as buying yourself luxury items.

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  12. @Brutus
    I agree. It's not really for the pets satisfaction, it's for the pet owners satisfaction. Your dog doesn't care whether it's food is organic, comes from Walmart, or is handmade and baked fresh everyday by monks in Tibet, you do.

    It's the same thing when you buy them toys...little kitty is just as happy playing with twisty ties and strings.

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  13. There's nothing wrong with owners feeding their pets organic food. You might argue that the pet won't know the difference, but it's really the owner's choice.

    As for the starving children, obviously that's terrible, nay, unacceptable given the luxuries that we enjoy in the US and other developed countries.

    However, and I am sorry to say this: our usual aid isn't going to help much. The corrupt, dictatorial governments that run these countries with hunger issues are the culprits. What's more depressing is that probably foreign aid just takes the edge off that grinding poverty enough so that it's less likely that there will be a regime change with a free market like developed countries enjoy.

    And it really hurts all of us. Africa, where a lot of the hunger is, is replete with natural resources that if on the world market, would make us, and even our pets, better off. Natural resources aren't necessary (look at Japan), but it certainly helps.

    It's just their governments and the things they do to keep themselves in power. Make no mistake: the government officials of these countries do not live in squalor with dying children. These poor people don't deserve their governments, but that's the way it's going to stay until there is an ideological move toward freedom.

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  14. Actually, the Korean, there was no cruelty in the statement. It is a roundabout call on our elected officials to get off their highly-paid (and covered by the best of health care and pensions) rears and provide the basics in food, shelter, education (through college), and jobs for their constituents and a jostling of an apathetic populace to take Thomas Jefferson at his word about the need for a revolution every 20 years to get these elected louts to quit bickering and start doing for the common good. It's a shame that the "Greatest Generation" led into the "pass the buck (and deficit) onto the grandkids and let-them-worry-about-it generation." Now, that’s cruel.

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  15. @john from daejeon
    There are very few people in the US who die from starvation, so how does making "a roundabout call to our elected-officials" have anything to do with the problem of WORLD hunger (that's kind of the topic we're on here)? Your previous post sounded incredibly callous as it made it sound like you were blaming the parents of children in underdeveloped countries for having kids that they couldn't feed or take care of. It's obvious now you simply have a problem with our current government, but I don't see how it is our elected officials responsibility for taking care of children in other parts of the world. Your previous statement made it seem like your solution was for these irresponsible "people" to just quit having children. Less kids, less hunger, problem solved..

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  16. If you want to do something for the common good, you should just add to the numbers who are trying to do it themselves (or with others.) I wouldn't leave it up to the government officials, besides if you want to pass that buck to the government and not do it, why will the officials? Even if they do provide food, shelter, education and jobs, it creates a moral hazard itself, because it sets up a situation where people can pass the buck and maybe even feed their dogs organic food.

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  18. Brutus, how do you conquer this type of problem to get the funds/help to those that need it the most? Just look at how Haiti is recovering to see how well it works.

    And can you imagine all of the pets and people around the world that could be fed if not for all that wasteful military spending by all the nations of the world (U.S., China, Russia, N.K., S.K., India, Pakistan, France, England, and on and on)? Just look no further than North Korea, which is demanding/begging its enemy, the South, for food, fertilizer, and fuel while they continue to build up their military and nuclear stockpile that they have aimed directly at those that they are demanding/begging these things from.

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  20. I think people are taking this too personally. I didn't see it as a condemnation of the individuals feeding their dogs organic foods. I'm sure they're mostly good, moral people.

    I saw it as more of a sad commentary on society and the absolutely grotesque, inexcusable economic imbalances that exist in our world.

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  21. But perhaps a guilty conscience needs no accuser...

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  22. It is rather interesting that a three-sentence post generates this much reaction. The Korean will co-sign the "guilty conscience" bit, contactShadow.

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  23. I think this is strictly a question on morality, whether we can feed all the starving children is not an issue for this situation. It all boils down to this... do we value those of our own species more or pets?
    To me the answer is, humans above all but then again I am biased in thinking that our hedonistic lifestyle us very shameful.

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  24. You should be asking South Korea the same question, no?

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