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The myopia inside the environmentalist movement is terribly frustrating at times. PETA’s protests are creative public-education events (“Got Milk Protesters?” 2/2), but they often undercut the public-education efforts of other groups within the ecology and justice movements.
I understand that PETA’s vegan ethic denounces the use and consumption of all animal products. This is a matter of personal philosophy, an undebatable point. I do wish to point out that organic dairy products, particularly cheeses, are in such high demand and net so many dollars that their production and sale are keeping many small farms afloatnot an easy task in the “Bigger is better” commodity economy. Remaining economically viable is the only way to hold on to the farm, my friends. And preserving farmland, especially around rapidly expanding urban centers, is critical for all of us, not just the farmer.
Seventy-five percent of our fruits and vegetables come from urban-edge farms! And these farms not only feed usthey protect our watersheds and provide habitat for dwindling wildlife populations.
I respect PETA for raising awareness about animal-welfare issues, but I remind its membersand all of us in the movementthat if we are committed to advancing the cause of ecology and justice, we have to keep an eye on the bigger picture.