Tom Phillpott proposes an omnivore/vegan alliance against animal factories. I think a lot of vegans who believe in animal rights would reject that. And I'm going to be the rare sustainable farming advocate omnivore to reject it.
First of all...what is an animal factory and what makes them bad? Is is bad management or is all mass production of meat inherently bad?
In the US it's usually bad management, because for some reason it's totally legal here to destroy things you don't even own like nearby wetlands and our ability to use antibiotics in humans effectively.
But while living in Europe I toured some animal facilities that were dare-I-say quite nice. And it's a myth that letting animals do their own thing outside is always the best thing for them. It's also spit in the face of people like Temple Grandin that have worked to make mass meat production better.
It is also quite regressive to suggest that all meat production besides free-range should be banned. It's easy for us rich folks to advocate for, but tell everyman that chicken is now $14 a lb and you might not get much support. I do think free-range meat production could be ramped up, but once you start asking for infrastructural reforms with regards to slaughterhouses, the vegan side of the coalition won't be much help.
I'd like to see greater transparency and accountability in meat production, but people who want to destroy people's food choices are not our allies.
This vegan quote on the article says it best
"as vegans we would be banding together with the owners of slaves kept in relative comfort against the concentration-camp style slave-owners."
Sorry, I'm allying myself with people who believe animals can be slaves and it's skirting the issue to call these people merely "vegans". They are animal rights activists plain and simple. I'll continue to ally myself with people who call on humans to be good stewards and to be conscious of our consumer decisions.
As an aside, I find it very amusing that anti-locavore James McWilliams has come out of the animal rights closet and said the reason he thinks pastured meat is bad is because it's "killing" now that his fake economics arguments have been refuted. If you want to see him attack local farming live, he'll be debating local chefs and farmers in NYC on Friday. I'll be there.