[FOUNTAIN] Animals Revolt Against Our Diet

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[FOUNTAIN] Animals Revolt Against Our Diet

American journalist David Brooks gave the name "bobos" to a new American elite, who are vanguards in the era of knowledge and information. Bobos is a semi-acronym, made of the first letters of "bourgeois" and "bohemian." Brooks claims that this new class, a surprising combination of the counter-cultural Hippies of the 1960s and the achievement-oriented Yuppies of the 1980s, is leading today's America.

In his book entitled "Bobos in Paradise: The New Upper Class and How They Got There," Brooks lists the characteristics of bobo consumer behavior, one of which is their tendency to pay dearly for normally inexpensive items. A case in point is food. Bobos pay several times more for potatoes cultivated in a certain region in northern France than for those machine-grown in a large-scale Idaho farm. They stick to a certain brand of bottled water, even if they need to shell out five dollars for a bottle.

Confidence in agricultural products and foods on dinner tables is rudely shaken in the aftermath of the damaged ecosystem, stemming from drastic industrialization, indiscriminate development and mass production. The list of the factors menacing food safety is long: pesticide, dioxin, heavy metal residues, endocrine-disturbing chemicals and genetically modified organisms. In addition, with the focus placed on the importance of the environment, consumers' interest in organically grown products is growing. Despite high prices, people tend to look for agricultural products grown without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticide. The times are such that this trend cannot be easily brushed off as a privilege of bobos.

Foot-and-mouth disease, an animal epidemic first discovered in Italy 500 years ago, is sweeping the world. Thirty nations have reported outbreaks of this contagious disease affecting cloven-hoofed animals such as cows and pigs, and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization warned that no nation is safe from foot-and-mouth disease. Since foot-and-mouth broke out in the grip of a mad cow disease panic, it is in a sense natural that consumption of beef and pork plummeted and vegetarianism is gaining new currency.

Scholars conjecture that giving cows animal-based feed could have been a cause for mad cow disease. There is also a diagnosis that an epidemic from the Middle Ages has pushed the global village of the 21st century into chaos and fear because people and goods move en masse and mechanized livestock raising has produced many side effects. Probably the animals' revolt has just begun against the human race's carnivorous culture that obtains nutrients through a cruel process of livestock raising and slaughter. Even though we don't call ourselves bobos, it seems necessary to stop and reflect on our diet.

by Bae Myung-bok

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