Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mark Bittman (cont.): Janus or genius?

The previous post here described how in his last column, Mark Bittman went to bat for factory farm animals who are treated inhumanely (the mildest possible word for what happens to many or most of them).

But there’s another side to Mark Bittman, the NYTimes food writer and seeming friend of animals.

Bittman often alternates between pieces like “Who Protects the Animals?” and others about how to prepare leg of lamb, for instance, and he makes no bones(!) about being a meat eater himself. In the same column, he said, “If you’re raising and killing 10 billion animals every year, some abuse is pretty much guaranteed.

“There is, of course, the argument that domesticating animals in order to kill them is essentially immoral; those of us who eat meat choose not to believe this.”

In his former “Minimalist” column for the Times, he also mentioned being a meat eater – and on accompanying videos, he showed how to prepare it.

So what’s the deal with Bittman?

Is he talking out of both sides of his mouth? Trying to please everyone? Hoping that by being matter of fact about eating meat, he’ll prompt other meat eaters to read his pieces on animal cruelty? Hoping that by writing in behalf of abused factory farm animals, he’ll keep vegetarian readers with him?

Who knows! Readers who have theories about Bittman’s strategy are invited to comment.

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