LETTER: Column lacked educated opinion


I am writing this in response to Kyle Kranz’s opinion column entitled, “Healthy eating leads to a healthy person, “you truly are what you eat’.” I would like to tell you a little about my background before dwelling into Mr. Kranz’s column. My name is Jace Hollenbeck and I am senior animal science student here at SDSU with an emphasis in meat science. I have always respected vegetarians for the decision they make as it has been scientifically proven that a human can survive on a non-meat based diet with the correct supplementations to substitute the complete protein, minerals and vitamins that the non-meat diet is lacking (Fimreite, and Staack 1-2). I have always strived to back up my opinions and beliefs with scientific data and peer reviewed journal articles. I responded to Mr. Kranz with a few data backed clarifications and questions. Here is what I wrote to him:

Mr. Kranz, for a student that feels the need to express your opinion in a newspaper, you sure don’t write with any facts or terminology. I am assuming that you have seen the HBO documentary Life on a Factory Farm, and that you base your opinions towards livestock husbandry in this country on that documentary. You see ONE farm that mistreats its livestock and assume that all the farms in this country raise their livestock that way. Sounds a little misinformed to me. Also, what is a “belly ripper?” I am an animal science/meat science student here at SDSU and I have never heard of a piece of equipment referred to as a “belly ripper.” If you could tell me and the rest of the readers what exactly a “belly ripper” is that would be great. Furthermore, do you have a peer-reviewed article or some sort of scientific data that shows that castration of male piglets “rips out the intestines”? I don’t know if you know this but the testicles of the pig are positioned on the rear of the animal. They are suspended in the body via the cremaster muscle. The cremaster muscle originates from the oblique muscle in the abdominal cavity. The intestines lie underneath the oblique and abdominal muscles. The intestines are freely suspended in the body, that is they are not in any way attached the oblique muscles, the cremaster muscle or the testicles (McCracken, Kainer, and Spurgeon). So you see it would be virtually impossible to remove the intestines via castration. In addition, the article states that you are a nutrition student. As a student who studies what the body needs and how it utilizes it I would assume that you know that red meat/poultry/fish are the only sources of heme-iron, the only iron that is available for the human body to use. Nonheme-iron from plants is not readily able to utilized by the body, unless the body as a supply of heme-iron (the iron from meat) to make use of it (Aberle, Forrest, Gerrard, and Mills 247-59). Finally, you allude to the bible in your opinion. Well maybe you missed this verse so I will fill you in, “He whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.” [Romans 14:2]. In my opinion you seem to be a student who has been mislead by advocates of what you speak. Many people who are proponents of the livestock industry have based their claims on no scientific data. I would encourage you to maybe visit the Animal Science Complex on the westside of campus and speak with an animal science professor on your thoughts. They will be able to provide you with the scientific data that you are lacking to form a well-educated opinion.

Unfortunately Mr. Kranz declined to answer my questions and requests to disclose his data. I hope the university community can see past his outrageous and scientifically irrelevant claims and form their own opinion on the subject by doing the research necessary to divulge into this subject. For the most part, the response from the Ag/Bio Community was largely professional and courteous; however, I think we need to remember that Mr. Kranz’s comments were in no way endorsed by the staff at The Collegian, they were simply the opinions of Mr. Kranz, placed in the Opinion section of The Collegian. In order to combat groups and individuals that shed negative, untruthful ideas about our industry we need to remain courteous and professional. Thank you.