The Korea Times 칼럼

Eat like rabbits (2011년 1월 1일)

divicom 2011. 1. 1. 08:56

New Years are no longer new to me, but today is the happiest New Year Day I have ever had. It has more to do with the passing of the Year of the Tiger than the arrival of the Year of the Rabbit. I have been jittery about what could happen in 2010 ever since I knew it was a Year of the Tiger. I was even more worried when I learned that the Tiger was the same Tiger that had come to this peninsula in 1950 when the three-year fratricidal Korean War broke out.

My fear proved well grounded. Both natural and man-made disasters ensued during the year and scores of people died in various military incidents and accidents. The explosion and sinking of the frigate Cheonan near Baengnyeong Island on March 26 claimed the lives of 46 men in uniform, most of them in their 20s. on Nov. 23, North Korea shelled the western island of Yeonpyeong, killing four soldiers and civilians and wounding many others.

After 60 forgetful years of peace, Koreans suddenly remembered the stark reality that their guns and bombs had been pointed at each other and that a fragile truce had been holding up firing. It could have been worse had the Tiger gone wilder. More people could have been sacrificed for political greed or stupidity acted out on the two halves of the divided peninsula. While it is frustrating to note that the governments in Seoul and Pyongyang are not very likely to give up their irrational pursuits, I have no power to control the situation. So, I pondered on if there is anything I can and should do to make the nation and the world better. Luckily, I got a hint from the rabbits on the 2011 calendar.

Now, my only New Year resolution is eating like the rabbits. Being prey animals, they are eaten by predators but they don’t eat meat. As herbivores, they graze on grass and other plants. Because of such characteristics, rabbits are often used as symbols of peace and innocence.

Our government has been busy dealing with the foot-and-mouth disease attacking cattle and pigs to no avail. Adding to nationwide headache lately are the bird flu or avian influenza cases reported in Jeolla and Chungcheong provinces caused by H5N1 virus.

I believe the mad cow disease, the bird flu, and all other diseases related to livestock are the unavoidable children of over-consumption of meat by humans. Meat production has increased by 500 percent since 1950 to meet the ever-expanding demand, according to Worldwatch (one word!) Institute ( Global meat consumption is expected to grow 2 percent each year until 2015.

Owing to the growth, beef, pork, chicken and other animals are raised on crowded, unsanitary ``factory farms,” accumulating Omega 6 fatty acids (the bad fats) and getting antibiotics to prevent diseases. Such farms supply 43 percent of the world’s beef and more than half of the world’s pork and poultry. In the U.S., an estimated 70 percent of all antibiotics are fed to pigs, poultry, and cattle, and American livestock consume eight times more antibiotics than humans do.

Meat consumption also contributes to air and water pollution, reports the Washington, D.C.-based institute striving for a sustainable earth. Livestock are responsible for 16 percent of the world’s annual emission of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas and their manure pollutes water and air. In 1995, 10 million fish were killed in the U.S. when 25 million gallons of hog waste flowed into a river.

There may be some parts of the world where meat needs to be eaten for health reasons, but in most developed countries where people are fighting over-nutrition, meat does more bad than good, increasing the risk of cancer and other problems. In South Korean cities where superfluous energy is causing rudeness and violence, the easiest remedy to curb the tendency is to eat less or no meat.

If you haven’t come up with a New Year resolution yet, how about joining my ``Eat like rabbits” campaign? It’s a Year of the Rabbit after all. If President Lee Myung-bak and North Korean leader Kim Jong-il and his son Jong-un keep their diets free of meat for just 100 days, their health conditions will improve and the peninsula will have more peace. ``You are what you eat” will remain true in the Year of the Rabbit as in the Year of the Tiger.



마침내 새해입니다. 토끼해의 목표는 오직 하나, 토끼처럼 먹는 것입니다. 즉, 고기를 먹지 않는 것입니다. 원래도 '남의 살'을 좋아하지 않았지만 이젠 아예 먹지 않으려 합니다. 지금 나라를 휩쓸고 있는 구제역은 물론 조류독감, 광우병 등 가축과 관련된 질병들의 발생 원인을 따져 들어가면 점차 늘어가는 고기 소비가 있습니다.


월드워치(에 따르면, 1950년이래 고기 생산량은 500퍼센트나 증가했다고 합니다. 고기 소비가 증가하니 그 수요를 맞추느라 생산도 늘어가는 것이지요. 고기 소비 증가는 가축의 공장 사육을 불러왔고 공장에서 사육하다보니 질병이 늘어 항생제를 마구 투여하기 시작했습니다. 미국의 경우 가축에게 사용되는 항생제의 양은 사람에게 투여되는 양의 8배에 달한다고 합니다.


이명박 대통령과 북한 지도자 김정일과 그의 후계자 김정은이 100일 동안만 고기를 먹지 않으면, 그들의 건강이 좋아질 뿐만 아니라 한반도가 평화로워질 것입니다. '당신이 먹는 음식이 당신을 말해준다'고 합니다. 나라와 지구를 위해 무언가 하고 싶지만 무엇을 해야 할지 모른다면 오늘부터 '토끼처럼 먹기'를 실천해보시지요.