Sexual Politics of Meat

Reading a section from a book written by feminist antiviolence activist, Carol Adams was extremely interesting in many different ways. She’s been a successful author for several different influential essays on feminism, animal rights, vegetarianism, and the relationship between domestic violence and abuse to animals. Due to her strong views and large variety of thoughts perceived through the different essays and books, she’s a credited author with information that needs to be relayed. In this particular book, she discussed how sexism, racism, and classism are adjacent to meat consumption, so to speak.

At the beginning of the text, I find it intriguing about the paintings found in the basements. Henry VII was pictured eating a steak and kidney pie, while his six wives and all the other women were shown with fruits, cabbage, and other products containing no meat. That then brought the point across that people with power have always eaten meat, and that meat is a masculine food. In the following section, the author suggested that women have been starving at crazy rates disproportionate to men (Adams). That then led to the explanation of Ethiopian women being forced to make two different meals, one for males, and the other typically containing no meat for the females. That’s crazy due to the fact that men require less protein than women pregnant or nursing.

Another interesting aspect brought up was the reflections from cookbooks that portray men eat meat. Typically, most cookbooks address the men in the meat section, as well as not including meat on featured foods for Mother’s Day. In contrast, for Father’s Day, cookbooks suggested a large broil that should include steak for the father. I’ve never thought or compared that distinction in cookbooks from that time, so that’s just something I found interesting. Basically, the section focused on the hierarchy suggesting that even in poverty situations the meat is given to the man.

Turning from the previous topic, the next section provided information on the racial politics of meat. Honestly, I didn’t even know that this was a “thing,” or ever has been a “thing.” This focused on the racism requirements powering arrangements that customize towards the white culture. The two beliefs discussed included that if meat supply is limited the white people should get it, and if meat is plentiful everyone should eat it (Adams). This sprung forth the hierarchy of meat protein in standards of race, class, and sex.

The moral of the story is that meat provides a masculine touch to men, as well as creates many different issues involving racism, sex, and gender. The more important someone was, determined whether or not they ate meat, carbohydrates, fruits, or something along those lines. When terms of vegetarianism are brought up, many people think that men are challenging the masculine role, and they just shouldn’t do that. What’s so different from a women being a vegetarian than a man? There really should be no difference.

After reading this section from the book, I’ve learned a lot of new things about the sexual politics of meat. Although I knew of the struggle of equality between genders, I honestly didn’t know there were that many ties between meat consumption and racism and sexism. I thought the author did a very good job getting the information across in a coherent, factual manner. She provided the reader with insightful information about politics involving meat, and definitely helped my understanding!

Temple Grandin Open Reply

In the readings from Temple Grandin’s book, “Animals Make Us Human,” I’ve developed a complete sense of respect for her, her knowledge, and the points she brings through to the readers. It’s obvious by the chapters I’ve read thus far that Grandin has a well-rounded base for knowledge on animals, and is a reliable source for information on any of the animals written about thus far.

Although I’ve owned dogs, cats, horses, and cows (all which we’ve read about thus far), I estimate that I knew less than half of the information she has shared. Interestingly, all animals are extremely similar, while also being very different at the same time. For example, both cows and horses have a strong FEAR system, however, cows flight response is much less than that of a horse.

I’ve also developed a clear understanding about positive and negative reinforcements used during training. It’s interesting to me that while positive reinforcements are best for cats, dogs could be trained through negative reinforcements to greater understand the situation. Both horses and cows are typically more reachable through the use of negative and positive reinforcements. One major key when using negative reinforcements is to use them correctly and not to any mistreatment level. Training an animal the correct way is important, because the training techniques will be the base of handling treatment for the rest of their lives.

Throughout this reading, I’ve also learned that training any animal involves either positive or negative reinforcements to be more successful. I’ve had plenty of experience training horses throughout life, and I knew the techniques on the training and why I was doing it that way, but it never clicked back to me that the techniques were derived based on the horses natural instincts and habituation living. I’ve also trained my own dogs throughout life, and have been successful at teaching them tricks and how to behave for the most part. However, I find it extremely helpful understanding Grandin’s view on their emotions, behavior, and why they do the things they do, and how to fix it (sometimes).

The two latest chapters on horses and cows focused on the larger animals, and distinguished many of the actions between breeds, and how genetics may affect certain behaviors. I find it saddening that both of these large animals are beaten into different behavior types solely to force the animal to do something in an extremely wrong manner. That really breaks my heart, because I own both of these large animals, and to think that anyone could mistreat an animal to any extent is completely ridiculous.

I’ve absolutely enjoyed every bit of this book, and I think it’s given me a way better insight on all the animals she discussed, as well as animals in general. Animals are a very important part of life, and they deserve to be treated that way. The knowledge that Grandin passes on should be cherished and understood by everyone in this world. If everyone understood animals to the extent that Temple Grandin does, this world would be such a beautiful place to own, raise, and adore animals despite their jobs.

Assignment #3

In preparation for assignment #3, I have a few major ideas. Two of my ideas are written reports, while one is a video. All of my ideas thus far have focused on horses, and I will most likely end up writing or recording my assignment on one of the following.

The video idea I have is iffy due to my lack of experience with video creation and technology in general. If I can figure out all of the details, I really want to follow through with a video.  I wanted to research and discuss the relationship between horse and rider/owner. I wanted to introduce the parelli seven games in a broad manner, and then discuss each of the games. When introducing the games, I wanted to in depth discuss each game as I try to back up the voice with my horse performing them. I’ve been working on the seven games with my horses over spring break, and I’d love to somehow incorporate my experience, my thoughts, and my turnouts along with professionals, other horse riders, and anyone involved with horses who have information or experience in this area. I would provide literature data by incorporating Temple Grandin’s book, Animals Make Us Human. Grandin provides interesting points in relation to horse behavior, which could really fall hand in hand with parelli and the seven games. Furthermore, I wanted to develop ideas on how the parelli and behavioral help leads to a better horse all around, and how it relates to competitive events that the horse may perform.
For example, discuss the effect that parelli has made on any of my barrel horses if any, and how their behavior has changed, if at all.

The first writing idea follows the thought process for the video, just in writing form. I basically wanted to accomplish the same ideas, answers, and information about the relationship a horse has with a rider along with their behavior. Along with the relationship, I was going to discuss the parelli games, and experiences. For this assignment, I would also use Temple Grandin’s book. Along with the book, I’d add several scholarly sources found online, and discuss more in depth the relationship and how exactly relationships are formed this strongly with horses.

The second writing idea involves a big part of my first assignment. I wanted to provide a more research based paper discussing horse therapy and how it works. Horse therapy has always really interested me, as I can see the effect horses have on me, and relate somewhat to those requiring more therapy. I wanted to once again use Grandin’s book, however, incorporating different degrees of information from it. In this paper I also wanted to include the following:

  1. What horse therapy is
  2. How horse therapy works
  3. The psychological aspect behind horse therapy
  4. How the horse triggers positive emotions in humans
  5. Interviews from anyone currently receiving horse therapy due to an illness

Besides the listed 5 items, I basically wanted to discuss as many aspects of horse therapy as possible, while keeping the topic narrow.

Although I haven’t decided exactly what assignment #3 will discuss in concrete, I have many good ideas that I’ve thought about. Since all of my ideas involve the use of Temple Grandin’s book and around the same topic, I should have plenty of time to read more in depth and decide which category the book can help me in the most.

Beware of the Red Tide

The Gulf of Mexico provides a dazzling coastline for many southern states including Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas. When compared to California and Florida, the Lone Star State of Texas may not be first choice of coastline beaches. However, Texas claims to grasp tourism and attention due to the vast majority of nature and mouthwatering food. Along with outstanding food selection, recreational activities typically take place along the Texas coast, causing large masses of people to gather and enjoy the beautiful scenery. The not so fortunate side of nature occurs when harmful organisms place the coast in a state of danger, affecting tourism and food selections. Not only can the food become contaminated, but also the water itself becomes toxic to drink, swim in, or house marine life effectively. Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs) are the names of such organisms, and they pose a great danger to humans, marine life, tourism, and the gulf coast safety in general. Many tourists and citizens are unaware of the threat that HABs can have, therefore, awareness about these potentially harmful organisms should be raised to the public.

Large bodies of water are typically described as oligotrophic or eutrophic, and sometimes even as mesotrophic (RMB, 2016). In a perfect world, oligotrophic bodies of water would mask eutrophic water. An oligotrophic body of water contains higher oxygen than nutrient levels (RMB, 2016). The higher oxygen concentration levels maintain healthy, clear water, and keep the plants and fish alive with many resources, such as oxygen. The water found there is usually safe to drink with low toxicity. In contrast, a eutrophic body of water describes higher nutrient than oxygen concentration (RMB, 2016). When the nutrient level rises above the oxygen level, much of the marine life die off due to suffocation with no oxygen resources. Harmful Algal Blooms thrive in these eutrophic bodies of water, due to an over-abundance of contamination caused by high nutrient levels (RMB, 2016). A happy medium between the two trophic levels is known as mesotrophic levels. Mesotrophic areas are usually ideal for fishing with a stable nutrient level. Algae can grow in mesotrophic water. However, too much nutrient production is restricted, ensuring no HABs (RMB, 2016).

HABs are a huge problem internationally, but they cause a threat to the local state of Texas as well. As described by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), HABs are generally referred to as an overgrowth of algae in the water (EPA, 2016). Some of the algae produce dangerous toxins in both fresh and marine water, which is where problems arise (EPA, 2016). Millions of different microorganisms can be involved in one large mass, creating these HABs. In general terms, many people refer to this over-contamination of the water as red tide. In a red tide event, Karenia brevis (a planktonic marine dinoflagellate) organisms undergo tremendous growth in a large mass, producing a reddish-brown discoloration of the water (Texas Department of State Health Services 2016). This particular HA produces brevetoxins, which can pose a major threat to humans and marine life, alike.

With the brevetoxins and their chemical makeup, HABs can be dangerous. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (TDSHS), brevetoxins produced by red tide are lethal to fish and can cause respiratory problems for people in the area of the bloom (TDSHS, 2016). The threat doesn’t end there, as people can also contract Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning (NSP) if consumed, and a variety of other illnesses mentioned later (TDSHS, 2016). Since K. brevis produces at least two heat-stable toxins that affect sodium transport in the autonomic nervous system, cooking will not eliminate the toxin (TDSHS, 2016). Therefore, red tide not only causes paralysis of fish gills, suffocation, and death for the marine animals, but it also maintains the risk of poisoning in humans.

How exactly can the organisms affect human kind, and how dangerous is the threat? Humans can contract an acute or long-term illness when exposed to HABs by drinking infected water, eating infected seafood, or even by residing in the infected area (Walker, 2015). The short-term acute effects from HABs include rashes, liver inflammation, dermatitis, numbness, and many other irritant effects (Walker, 2015). Unfortunately, there have been documented long-term effects such as poisoning, tumor formation, cardiac arrhythmia, and liver failure (Walker, 2015). It is a scary thought that such harmful organisms reside in the very water that used for tourism, recreational activity, and daily needs. Humans can prevent most cases, but marine life has no choice on if they come into contact with HABs or not.

The potential long-term effects from the consumption of diseased fish pose an extreme hazard to humans, the poisoning section in particular. According to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (UNESCO), diseases and syndromes from the consumption of contaminated seafood often attack people around the coast (UNESCO). Contaminated seafood can potentially cause any of the five human syndromes: Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP), Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP), Diarrhetic Shellfish Poisoning (DSP), Neurotoxic Shellfish Poisoning (NSP), and Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) (UNESCO). If any of the above illnesses are in question, the consumer should seek medical attention immediately, due to potential deadly consequences. Both PSP and ASP are life-threatening diseases, with no known 100% treatment at the time (UNESCO). They viciously attack the neurological components in the human brain, potentially feeding lethal consequences. Although CFP, DSP, and NSP are typically not life threatening, they cause severe gastrointestinal and small neurological disturbances (UNESCO). The five known syndromes that can be caused from consumption of infected seafood are much dreaded and not very well known.

Gary Heideman, member of the Seafood and Aquatic Life Group for TDSHS provided helpful insight as to how these awful HABs are currently affecting the Texas Gulf. He answered the primary question of how HABs affect everyday life for citizens involved.

“Some types of HABs such as the red tide organism Karenia brevis causes respiratory irritation when these cells are in high enough concentrations. The cells will be broken apart by the wave action along a beach and the toxins will become airborne (aerosol) that can cause respiratory distress. When fish get exposed to high concentrations of the red tide organisms they suffocate and die. Therefore, it can be unpleasant to enjoy the beaches not to mention the stench of dead and dying fish” (Heideman, 2016).

His experience and knowledge supported the scientific facts, and enforced the idea that certain classes of HABs can be dangerous, but K. brevis typically provides more of a threat than other HABs.

How exactly can these scary toxins be transferred? According to the Gulf Base, algal toxins can be transferred through the food web where they can kill higher forms of life. These forms include shellfish, fish, birds, marine animals, and even humans through filtration from the water by shellfish such as clams, mussels, oysters, and scallops (GulfBase, 2004). The scariest part about these organisms is that they can be transferred in a variety of ways besides through the food web of death. During a typical algae bloom, HAB toxins often must be transported in the water column to connect with humans and animals (Walker 2015). Transport can occur through wind, currents, diffusion, or degrade into the natural environment through biological interactions (Walker 2015). The largest risk area for exposure is via the recreational waters (Walker 2015). Since the Texas coast is primarily home to recreational activity weather permitting, when red tide occurs, people must maintain awareness and clear the area.

In a study focused on Corpus Christi Bay, Turner and associates researched the baseline nutrient dynamics in this shallow well-mixed coastal lagoon with seasonal HABs (Turner et. al, 2015). This study contained two testing stations along the southern shoreline, which were sampled weekly for a whole year. The data was compared to that of a dry year, and they found that the seasonal occurrences of HABs were found to begin in November, and low oxygen starting in June (Turner et. al, 2015). Not straying far from the hypothesis, the chlorophyll-a values were seasonally trending, just as expected, not being harmed by any environmental effects (Turner et. al, 2015). Corpus Christi remains clean throughout the majority of the year, but when November hits, the seasonal HAB attack typically begins. In a dry year, the effect of HAB is near the same, which means that the environmental weather doesn’t determine growth of HABs (Turner et. al, 2015).

Charity Ward, an Undergrad Marine Biologist at the University of Texas A&M Corpus Christi endures the typical red tide event yearly. Since Ms. Ward has first hand experience with the coastal area in Texas, her responses were taken very seriously. When asked to discuss if and how red tide affects her life she responded:

“Yes, red tide does affect the Texas coast. Between August and December alone there were two instances where the waters in Corpus were affected. When there are red tide events, it affects me because it almost feels like you’re sick, making you cough and get itchy, watery eyes. The precautions I take are to stay away from both consuming seafood and vacationing to the beach during red tide. The sad part is that many people around this area aren’t as concerned or as aware as they should be.” (Ward, 2016)

Finally, the less dangerous aspect of HABs affecting life is the economic view. The tourism aspect is one that impacts the economy greatly, and decides how much activity is drawn to the gulf. In 2000, a red tide event on the Texas coast (Galveston) cost a maximum total impact approximately at $18.45 million in sales, 426 jobs, and $12.4 million in total added value (Evans and Jones, 2001). The deficit included losses to the tourism industry, harvesting, commercial fisheries, cleanup fees, and other appropriate expenses (Evans and Jones, 2001). Such alarming statistics cause extreme questioning as to whether or not the economy can handle such deficits. In an attempt to justify why such economic rules are followed, Hoagland and Scatasta suggested that the economy and scientific concerns are very different. While scientists focus on the changes in the ecosystem, economists focus on the changing patterns of human activities or resource uses resulting from a natural hazard (Hoagland and Scatasta, 2006). For example, if concentrations are too high or in the red tide state, commercial and recreational fishermen cannot harvest or sell shellfish (Hoagland and Scatasta, 2006). The fishermen and harvesters experience economic loss during the HAB, while consumers experience an economic gain by avoiding poisoning (Hoagland and Scatasta, 2006). The different views by economists and scientists are very interesting, and revolve around the main priorities of each group. While the economist strives to compete, the scientist strives to maintain safety for all levels of organisms. The scientific concern is obviously of greater importance to the general public, and the economic view has to shrink beneath it.

The red tide events strongly affect the tourism there, as well as the satisfaction from the guests. Roxy Vaughan, Norman resident, recalled memories from 2012. During break, she traveled to Galveston Beach on the Texas coast with her family. Without warning or notice, they arrived to an infected shore. Quickly her vacation turned sour. The coast warned visitors of the unfortunate contamination with HABs, however, they gave no indication as to whether or not it would clear out before break was over. Roxy recalls the horrible break:

“I will never go back to Galveston. I was unaware of what was going on down there before traveling, and I wish they would have some type of warning. We went to shore regardless of the warnings, and came across a coast of dead, foul-smelling, fish washed to shore. I will never go back, and I think that those who aren’t aware of HABs should be informed in land-locked states (Vaughan, 2016).

Based on Roxy’s experience at Galveston, the awareness to those who aren’t directly involved in HAB areas need to be strengthened. I’m sure many encounter similar events as her family did, and there’s really no way around this deterring tourists from the area, except to raise awareness.

Now that the basics of HABs are covered, how will this problem affect future generations any differently? The answer to that question lies deep beneath the surface, which is avoided in general discussion with many scientists. In a scientific study, members of Centers for Oceans and Human Health researched the impact of the climate and future climate change on harmful algal blooms and human health. For marine and freshwater, increasing concentrations of CO2 gases are expected to increase surface temperatures, lowering the pH, and causing mixing, upwelling, precipitation, and evaporation patterns (Moore et. al, 7). Although the ecological study is very strong, the potential consequences of the HABs have received little attention and are not well understood (Moore et. al, 7). They believe that given the increase in HABs as time moves forward, greater problems may result from climate change and acidification (Moore et. al, 7). Accurate predictions will require much more time and understanding of HAB physiology and ecology in order to determine the impact it may have on human health (Moore et. al, 7). Due to the continuing climate change, continued research on HABs is definitely necessary, and will be able to help to future residents along the coast to better prepare for “outbreaks.”

Heideman also added in that “Our state has had multiple affects from HABs around the state. Since I’ve been working here our group has experienced 24 HAB events. We have had 10 major HAB events and the rest have been somewhat localized atypical bloom events (Heideman, 2016).”

Therefore, the HABs that occur along the Texas Gulf are monitored throughout the year, and each event that occurs is documented and researched accordingly. The future is unknown, but backed by science. If nothing is done differently, the HAB trend will continue to cause problems worldwide.

In conclusion, Harmful Algal Blooms remain a threat to both marine and human life. This problem exists whether the common society knows about it or not, and it can cause many different illnesses. Due to the lack of complete knowledge on red tides, some of the science involved and the effects are left as a guessing game. Not only do the HABs affect ecology, but they also corrupt the economy. These organisms can be transferred in a variety of ways that make it hard to avoid contamination if left uninformed. Water is a main resource, and something needs to be done to limit the HABs. Due to the great risk of irritation, poisoning, and illness, people must remain aware, updated, and safe from contamination.




Works Cited

Evans, Garen, and Lonnie Jones. “Economic Impact of the 2000 Red Tide on Galveston County, Texas. A Case Study.” Department of Agricultural Economics. Texas A&M University, (2001) Texas Gov. Web. 5 March 2016.

GulfBase. Resource Database for Gulf of Mexico Research. Harmful Algal Blooms, 2004. Web. 5 March 2016.

Heideman, Gary. Personal Interview. 6 March 2016

Hoagland, P, and S. Scatasta. “The Economic Effects of Harmful Algal Blooms.” SpringerLinkBooks. Biomedical and Life Sciences vol. 189 (2006): 392-393. Web. 5 March 2016.

Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO. Harmful Algal Bloom Programme. “What are Harmful Algae?” (n.d.) Web. 5 March 2016.

Moore, Stephanie, Vera Trainer, Nathan Mantua, Micaela Parker, Edward Laws, Lorraine Backer, and Lora Fleming. “Impacts of Climate Variability and Future Climate Change on Harmful Algal Blooms and Human Health. BioMed Central. Environmental Health (2008): 7. Web. 5 March 2016.

RMB Environmental Laboratories, INC. “Lake Trophic States,” 2016. Web. 5 March 2016.

Texas Department of State Health Services. Harmful Algal Blooms – Seafood and Aquatic Life, 2016. Web. 5 March 2016.

Turner, Evan, Bhanu Paudel, and Paul Montagna. “Baseline Nutrient Dynamics in Shallow Well Mixed Coastal Lagoon with Seasonal Harmful Algal Blooms and Hypoxia Formation.” Marine Pollution Bulletin vol. 96,1-2 (2015): 456-462. Web. 5 March 2016.

United States Environmental Protection Agency. Harmful Algal Blooms, 2016. Web. 5 March 2016.

Vaughan, Roxy. Personal Interview. 6 March 2016.

Walker, Harold W. “Toxin Properties, Toxicity, and Health Effects.” Harmful Algae Blooms in Drinking Water: Removal of Cyanobacterial Cells and Toxins. Boca Raton: CRC Taylor & Francis Group, 2015. 27-29. Web. 5 March 2016.

Ward, Charity. Personal Interview. 5 March 2016.

Open Reply

In Field Notes From a Catastrophe, Elizabeth Kolbert sprung real life “theories” into a reality. Throughout the first four chapters, she provided many different sources of evidence that global warming/climate change does exist, and it is slowly becoming more and more of a problem for today’s society. Not only did she use different sources of proof, but she provided real life issues, scenarios, interviews, and scientific evidence.
When I first started reading Kolbert’s book, I struggled to understand everything going on. As I’ve continued reading, the understanding has become more profound. I finally understand the “set-up” she uses, and the ways she backs up her evidence. The incorporation of interviews in her writing is extremely useful and needed to understand the full picture of global warming.
In chapter one, the main topic was to prove that global warming does exist through the depiction of Alaska. Overtime, the glaciers melting, warming of oceans, severe forest fires, and temperature increases have become prime examples of evidence that global warming exists. This chapter contained a majority of scientific evidence to back up global warming, as well as future time tables on global warming. I found it alarming and interesting to learn about what’s going on in Alaska in her opinion and to compare it to my uncles opinions, who currently resides in Alaska for work.
In the second chapter, Kolbert focused again on global warming, but in a different scenario. She provided different scientists and their studies. Each of the constructed studies revealed that the planet is in danger by measurement readings performed by scientists. For example, Tyndall and Arrhenius provided clear evidence through the use of measurements by instruments taken on Earth. She came to the conclusion that global warming is real, and proven by many different scientists from the past and the present.
In the third chapter, Kolbert focused on the melting ice. Why was the ice melting? Well, the answer to that question is once again global warming. The predictions she provided for the future are extremely scary, as the ice caps melting can lead to many more serious problems. This chapter also discussed many different ideas on how the global warming is causing the ice to melt, and what can potentially happen while the ice is melting.
Chapter four provided a different outlook, as it provided the effect that global warming is making on nature. Global warming is some how driving evolution in a sense, and can lead to many animals becoming extinct in the future. It’s scary to think that global warming can be so harmful that it makes a certain species go extinct.
To provide a clear understanding on climate change, Kolbert uses strong content to portray her idea in the best manner she can. She utilizes strong verbs, which give the reader some sort of “break” from all of the scientific evidence. Not only do the verbs spice up the book, but her use of interviews makes it much more interesting. I think it’s very fitting to provide interviews to back up the ideas, giving real life answers to what’s going on.
In conclusion, I absolutely adore the book written by Elizabeth Kolbert. She provides a good example of what to follow for our own paper (Assignment 2). Each of her chapters have a main focus, narrowing down different views and effects from global warming. This book is definitely a good read for anyone who questions that global warming is in existence, as well as those who believe in global warming and want more on the subject.




Kolbert E. 2006. Field Notes from a Catastrophe: Man, Nature, and Climate Change. Bloomsbury, New York.