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Once a month at my college (err, old college to be precise) we hold a Philosophy Club discussion. There about six of us who are members and it is the members who present on a specific topic. To give an example, the last Philosophy Club discussion held in October was on the topic of illegal immigration, which is very relevant considering we live in Arizona. This month's discussion is on the food industry and of course I am presenting on the topic. To be appealing, the title of the discussion is The Food Industry: Eating Ourselves to Death. I certainly have no short amount of things to discuss. I am co-presenting with another person, and last week we managed to talk for an hour straight on different ideas for the presentation. I am nearly salivating at the mouth at being able to have an open discussion about this. Just to point out, the other presenter told me to my own surprise that he tends to eat about a 90% vegetarian diet and his longtime girlfriend is a veg' herself. At any rate, though, there is more to this thread than me telling you a small detail and aspect of my life haha...<br><br><br><br>
The primary focus of our discussion is going to be on the environment and the health impact of the food industry. Like I aforesaid, there are hundreds of differet things that we could delve into, but I am wondering what YOU find most important. The point of the discussion, though, is not to tell anyone what they should eat or what is morally right, of course, since this is an open discussion of ideas and arguments. With that being said, as a veg' what argument, statistical figure, etc do you think is the most critical to mentioning in the presentation? I am concentrating on the health portion of the presentation but will certainly comment on anything that I find important to the discussion. For instance, I am not going to leave short the number of statistics which support the extreme health benefits, such as the exceptionally large decrease in heart disease, heart attacks, et al, of a veg' diet.<br><br><br><br>
Also, feel free to list as many crucial points as you can, and if you feel like being helpful to the cause, I would appreciate any number of statistics and figures which are properly sourced. By the way, I should mention that I am not looking for anyone to "help" me but rather hoping this can spur conversation on the topic.
 

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Philosophically, I always find the distinction that many philosophers (Aristotle, Descartes, etc.) give between humans and other animals is interesting (and not necessarily in a good way). There are the ideas that animals are there for a purpose (to feed us, usually) in Aristotle's teleological system, and that humans are superior because we are "rational animals." Descartes claims that non-human animals are really machines. These philosophical attitudes toward animals fuels the food industry, I would imagine, allowing for us to treat animals in certain ways.<br><br><br><br>
Then there's the way that you could apply the idea of Adorno's "Culture Industry" to food - the way in which making things more available to more people cheapens them in some way. (Think of mass market paperbacks as opposed to "high" literature or high art.) The difference between Wonder Bread (even the whole wheat version) and a loaf of homemade bread, for example, illustrates how the food industry has changed the quality and expectations of what food we have available and what is good food.<br><br><br><br>
And it's hard to talk about animals and animal rights philosophically without talking about Peter Singer's work. "Animal Liberation" is a must-read.<br><br><br><br>
Those are my philosophical thoughts about the food industry. From a practical standpoint, I basically focus on fueling my body with good-quality foods and since I don't have the time (or energy) to do organic subsistence farming, I trust the food industry - whether I should or not. Remember, the food industry also produces Amy's frozen meals, Boca Burgers, and a lot of those fresh fruits and veggies you find at the grocery store. That's all big business. (With some issues of illegal immigration, migrant workers, and poor working conditions thrown in.)<br><br><br><br>
What aspects of the food industry that the government should or should not regulate might also be an interesting take on the subject. (Consider that the government pays farmers to grow (or not-grow) certain things, but doesn't subsidize fruit and vegetable farmers.)
 
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