Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I make my world with my thoughts....

Across Canada, the recent outbreak of listeriosis has prompted a massive recall of hundreds of brand name prepared meats. Last evening during the 6 o'clock news the business editor suggested that this fiasco may mean the end of the huge Maple Leaf Foods due to the potential civil lawsuits which could amount to billions of dollars. And let me not forget that at current count, 14 people in Canada have died from eating contaminated products. This count will no doubt rise as the incubation period for the bacteria once consumed is 70 days (that is...symptoms can take as long as 70 days to manifest after consumption of tainted product).

For a brief moment I felt triumphant jubilation. Yes, bring Maple Leaf to it's knees - one less slaughterhouse. OK so this was not one of my more mindful, compassionate moments....the bankruptcy of Maple Leaf Foods would have far reaching effects financially not only for it's employees, but it's customers and suppliers. (This would include my former employer who sold to peripheral business' in the huge circle of this particular meat processing plant.) Therefore much suffering would ensue from the loss of jobs. The CEO of Maple Leaf has accepted full responsibility for the contamination and offered a sincere apology to those suffering with the ill effects and to the families of those individuals who succumbed to the infection.

I also discovered in my research that listeriosis can come from not only contaminated uncooked meat but also dairy products (soft cheeses) and vegetables. Obviously we must all be vigilant in our handling and preparation of all foods to avoid any kind of contamination. Unfortunately, in this outbreak the bacteria found it's way into the product after it was cooked and processed, i.e. in the packaging section of the line.

But back to my earlier stance, albeit a smug one. Most likely if the huge Maple Leaf falls, someone else will come in to fill the spot. So no, I don't believe that the demise of one meat processor will slow down or eliminate a portion of the suffering involved in the slaughter of millions of animals that are off-loaded regularly at Maple Leaf's guarded warehouses.

However, I believe more and more passionately that my thoughts affect and create the world I live in. Hence, I choose to water a seed of hope (borrowing words from Thich Nhat Hahn) my hope, that this world, this planet will come to be one where the human population does not eat animal flesh, does not exploit animals in research, entertainment or personal pleasure.

I think I am not the only one who nourishes this hope. Regardless, people, especially my fellow-Canadians, must be giving some thought to the meat they are throwing in their shopping carts.

On a lighter note (but still deadly serious), a friend forwarded this interesting link: a blog on the London (UK) publication, Daily Telegraph. I quite enjoyed the read - established facts presented with dry wit!

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Anonymous said...

doesn't work that way... besides many companies have issues like this... maple leaf will not close down due to this problem.

and if it did... another company would take over.

Anonymous said...

I'd be curious to know more about what the previous anonymous meant by "doesn't work that way..." More information, please, otherwise comment isn't helpful.

seriously amused photoblog said...

I totally agree with everything you said in your post. As a vegetarian, I went from "I'm so glad I don't eat meat" to realizing that yes, even vegetables aren't 100 percent safe and that employees and their families will also be effected.

Thank you for writing such an eloquent post and for quoting Thich Nhat Hahn -- one of my favourite people.

~ Judy

Compassionate Consumption said...

My thanks to the "Anonymous'" and Seriously Amused / Judy for sending comments. As one little tiny blogger in an ocean of bloggers, I am always thrilled when I receive a comment.
With gratitude,
Michele / Compassionate Consumption