Adapted from Robert Whitcomb's Nov. 18 "Digital Diary'' in GoLocal 24.
Not everything in life is politics, thank God. Until the last few gray, windy and cold days, it's been golden here in southern New England, with the weather perfect for walking in burnished woods and looking across bays to the far shore. And the “Super Moon’’ was semi-spectacular early last week, reminding us of our insignificance, although that big fat satellite wasn’t quite as “super’’ as promised. At least we can still see the moon in cities, unlike many of the stars we used to see that are now obscured by manmade-light pollution.
Thereare some local signs of kindness amidst the current rancor. Consider that Massachusetts voters by a wide margin backed a state ballot question that will set new rules on the size of the cages in which farmers can raise chickens, cows and pigs.
A new law will ban selling eggs in Massachusetts from hens raised in cages too small for them to spread their wings, meat from pigs kept in tight quarters—or pigs whose mothers were similarly confined during pregnancy—and veal from calves trapped in tiny crates before being slaughtered. The new law also bars Massachusetts farmers from using these torture chambers.
This will be a tough law to oversee.
Given the interstate nature of agriculture, it’s unclear howthis will work out for Bay State farmers, who have enjoyed a renaissance in recent years because of the spreadof local farmers’ markets and the “Locavore’’ movement. I hope that the idea spreads. More and more we learn that nonhuman animals are much smarter, and more intensely feeling, than we had thought. Even birds, let alone our fellow mammals. (Pigs are especially smart.)
But if only all “animal lovers’’ showed as much empathy for, say, the Syrians, many of them children, being killed every day by Assad, Putin and ISIS.
Increasingly the big changes in American life come from the coasts and then move inland, albeit slowly. This may be another example. Within 20 years, maybe even many Trump people will turn vegetarian as the research accumulates on how much we make other animals suffer.
* After the line in Hamlet:
"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.''