Date: Tue, 19 Aug 97 19:51:32 UT From: "elizabeth" To: bvra @ bvra.org Subject: Vegetable Rights Status: R Dear Y'all, I discovered your site while browsing around for vegetable facts for school children and spent a delightful time browsing and chuckling. As I was sharing a vodka or two with my husband in the local hostelry we discussed your page and decided that there are one or two other areas that need exploring about vegetable rights. 1) Is it ethical for your group to have planned this grass-roots movement over a glass or two of beer. Should it not be a "hamburger-mincers" movement, and you should really turn to substitute drinks that do not involve the wanton destruction of hops, barley etc.? And should I have been partaking of vodka which has been traditionally made of potatoes?? 2) Are veggies such as potatoes, rutabagas, parsnips etc. included in your main-stream association? Or have they got their own underground movement?? Look forward to hearing more about your worthwhile endeavors through your page. By the way, I will have to carefully screen your page from the school kids due to the graphic nature of your Vegetables Processed for Food page. Any way that you can block it out for people under 21??? Liz Date: Tue, 19 Aug 1997 13:57:13 -0600 From: Darragh Nagle To: bvra @ bvra.org Subject: Re: Vegetable Rights Status: R [LOL] I very much enjoyed this letter. We have debated at length whether or not we should be drinking beer at BVRA meetings, and we have come up with one alternative: mead. We are fortunate to have quite a few mead brewers in our group. Mead is made from honey, water, yeast. There is an option to add fruit and produce melomel, but that is not necessary. We find mead to be a suitable, enjoyable and at times preferable replacement for beer which minimizes the destruction of plant life. If you havn't tried mead, do! Recipies available upon request. I think we definitly need to investigate any underground movements of potatoes, etc! Perhaps we can block the graphic page from schoolchildren using whatever metainformation the blocking software packages use. I doubt our graphic will trigger any of the "human-naughty-bits" detectors, unless we arrange the carrots, celery, cucumbers and radishes into an artful approximation of a nude human or two. I'm not up to this project, given my current schedule, but if anyone decides to do it please show me the results! I think it would be great to block the page though! Thanks, Liz! Darragh Nagle To: bvra @ bvra.org Subject: re: Vegetable Rights Date: 19 Aug 97 14:49:51 MDT (Tue) From: (Dick Dunn) Status: R Liz asked: > 1) Is it ethical for your group to have planned this grass-roots movement over > a glass or two of beer... As Darragh's reply indicated, there *are* some ethical problems with beer. We have to start out by realizing that not all consumption of plants is bad--because, in fact, some plants rely on having animals consume the seed- bearing parts and spread them around. It's effectively a means of locomotion for plants whose seeds are not self-mobile (e.g. the difference between a fluffy seed of dandelion or thistle and a bulky seed of a berry or pome). Reasoning from this, the problems with beer are twofold: * The barley is "malted"--meaning allowed to germinate and sprout--but then it is roasted to kill it. Even though the brewing process leaves "spent grain", most of the seeds have been broken apart and all have been heated beyond any hope of viability. Pretty cruel stuff. It seems to me that it's hard to argue that the amount of barley kept back as seed for the next year is enough to offset the obvious mass killing of the barley used. * The hops are selected in the field by sex, and only the females are kept. Although we *do* help hops propagate asexually, this is a distinctly unnatural bias. There's all these poor female hop plants out in the field, nubile young plants with perky leaves and softly pendulous seed cones damp with resins...and not a male in sight! They live their lonesome seasons, until we pluck the unfulfilled cones and take them off to dry and boil them, while the poor plants die back for the year, only to rise again next year in the Spring of eternal hope and repeat the sad cycle. If Nature gets its turn against us in all of this, it's in the life of the yeast in the beer. They go about a brief but merry mad life in fermenting the beer, procreating wildly and partying for all they're worth...and when they're done we're left to drink their excreta and belch their dissolved flatulence. Their joke's on us. Mead, by contrast, is made from honey. The gathering of honey is one with the pollination of plants by bees, which is one of the great kindnesses provided by the animal kingdom. We take our small part in this by helping the bees, in return for a share of their bounty. The consideration of melomel is a tricky one, vis-a-vis whether the spent fruits are viable. One can argue that we should extract juice only for making melomel. The other side is that fruiting plants naturally pro- duce such an excess of fruit that it is inevitable in the natural order that a lot of it ends up contributing to humus, so that it suffices to see that the spent fruit is properly returned to the earth as compost--and not, for example destroyed or wasted in a landfill or such like. [This same argument can be made for the use of grain and how spent grain is handled. However, I can find no mitigating argument for the treatment of hops, so I think beer remains on a questionable low moral ground.] --- Dick Dunn rcd, domain talisman.com Boulder County, Colorado USA Smile. Help. Think. Care. Learn. Sing. Love. Teach. Live!