Hi, I’m James McWilliams

April 8, 2011

So, not even a month ago Tom Philpott proposed a vegan-omnivore alliance. I responded that if Philpott ever pulls his head out his ass, he’d realize one already exists.

Time after time, I’ve noticed that Philpott tries to smear vegans without ever bothering to think about their arguments. The guy’s so closed off to engaging with any critiques of alternative animal agriculture that the thought of him working on the same team with vegans is absurd. I’m convinced that Philpott’s idea of a vegan/omnivore alliance is for us to give up any principles we have, and to do whatever he says.

And today Philpott’s outdone himself. Does he even actually read the material he criticizes? James McWilliams just wrote a terrific article for The Atlantic that questions whether free-range animal products are a truly ethical choice. But he certainly doesn’t give factory farms (CAFOs) a pass:

Because CAFOs are now accurately understood to be the essence of evil (due to the passionate work of writers such as Michael Pollan and Tom Philpott), farmers who raise animals under free-range conditions are automatically seen to offer a fundamentally different option. [emphasis mine.]

And here’s Philpott’s tweet about the article:

Hi, I’m James McWilliams. I’m a vegan. Industrial meat’s fine by me, but I really, really hate the other 1%.

What a putz. This isn’t about a difference of opinion, this is about one of the most prominent critics of factory farming, who outright refuses to think about the ethics of killing animals, yet who has the stones to call for a vegan/omnivore alliance.

Perhaps, in the back of his mind, Philpott fears that if he actually engages with the sorts of arguments posed by Williams, he’ll discover his food philosophy is untenable.

Anyway, the McWilliams piece is very much worth reading, even if Philpott refuses to do so. Link.

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