Back off on ‘Meat Out’
“Meat Out”? Dennis Anderson’s recent article in the Daily Press noting the apparent disregard by Gov. Jared Polis of the role of the livestock industry in Western Colorado by intending to declare a meatless day in Colorado is sad news.
After his careful and cautious record of science-based decisions negotiating the COVID pandemic, this is a real disappointment because it is not science-based and wades into an issue already fraught with far too much in baseless assertions and emotion.
“Do no harm” is certainly a worthy ideal and in various articulations is the fundamental basis for present-day vegetarianism and veganism, the driving force behind “meat out” and similar campaigns. This ideal, primarily ethics-based at the outset, has taken on religious associations and is held with religious fervor by some adherents. This is completely acceptable as a personal right going back to our founding, but not as government policy, which a proclamation by a governor approaches. And attempts to give it governmental legitimacy by promoting it as a health benefit, which scientific examination does not support, should not be accepted.
There are two books which are useful references on this issue. One, by Michael Pollan, is “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” and the other is “Sacred Cow” by Diana Rogers and Joel Wolf. The latter explicitly purports to make the nutritional, ecological and ethical case that properly raised and managed meat is superior by every measure. Both involved extensive on-the-ground research as well as exhaustive review of the relevant scientific literature.
Through the years in discussions with close relatives and friends who are vegetarians, I have maintained that vegetarianism has failed on the do-no-harm premise because all agricultural land, the source of their vegetables and other non-animal-based food was once wildlife habitat and in it its conversion to agriculture and providing their food, those original animal inhabitants were eradicated, certainly harmed, so that humans could be fed. The references cited above document that the industrialization of the food system in the U.S. since the 1950s has further eradicated animal life by practices associated with it, and do so on a scale unimagined in earlier times. It is essential that information about our food and how it comes to us be as accurate and honest as possible and that coming from government be especially so. Back off on “Meat Out.”
Manager duties don’t include editorializing
The more I read City Manager Bill Bell’s article printed in the Daily Press on Feb. 17, the more concerned I am by it. Let me explain why.
In Colorado, the city manager’s duties include seeing that city ordinances and state laws are enforced. The city manager also advises and makes recommendations to the city council, and submits reports to the city council. As you can see, the city manager’s primary duty is to the city council.
It is not the duty or the place of the city manager to be editorializing in the newspaper on behalf of a particular project or developer.
Yes, the city manager can make recommendations on behalf of a project to the city council, but by editorializing in the paper advocating only his preferred position on an issue, the city manager has injected himself into a political debate that should be between the city council and the residents of Montrose.
Furthermore, the proposed project on Chipeta that the city manager references violates the Comprehensive Plan due to density and transition issues. These issues are once again political issues, to be worked out between the residents of the area, the developer, and the city council. It is not the duty or the job of the city manager to try and sway public opinion in a newspaper on behalf of a developer.
Finally, and even more troubling, Mr. Bell accuses those who are opposed to the project that he endorses of spreading “misinformation and lies” with absolutely no evidence or proof to substantiate his claim. Taken in their entirety, Mr. Bell’s comments should be deeply disturbing to all residents of Montrose.