Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Where Food Comes From

After I processed turkeys a couple of weeks ago, I roasted up a breast and sliced it to pack in my lunch at work. When people at work have found out that I'm eating a turkey I raised and butchered, the reaction has been the same:

"How mean!"

This bothers me a great deal. Have I done anything worse than what happened to the donor for your turkey (or ham, or roast beef) sandwich? Not really. I just happened to do it myself, at my house, rather than outsourcing it to Waco, or Guymon, or Dumas (to name the closest big turkey, hog, and beef slaughter plants I can think of).

Today, I came across this post at Offal Good about why people don't like offal. One reason is that they don't like to be reminded that their food came from a living animal. (Another, as I found out last week with the liver, is that it tastes bad. But I digress.)

Combine that with the opposition to foie gras, because it's mean. Putting aside the actual evidence of how cruel the treatment of these birds is (or isn't), I think that people don't like to be reminded that, every day of their lives, people are handling these birds with the express intent of making them taste better after death. I think that it's not just the feeding, it's the planning for death that is objectionable.

I find it sad, and frustrating, that "meat" in our culture has been divorced from living animals, and that products become objectionable not based on flavor or safety or actual cruelty, but rather on how much they remind us of our participation in this cycle.

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