Over the holidays, the HP family spent time in West Virginia, and ate dinner at the lovely Panorama at the Peak. The view was gorgeous, the restaurant was homey, the menu emphasized local food, and the dishes were tasty. I recommend a visit if you are in Berkeley Springs. Mr HP and I were discussing the menu when the manager (I believe) passed and overheard “veal”; apparently she could tell how we feel about veal, because she offered up this nugget of reality:
If you want milk you have to have babies, and some of them are gonna be boys.
Quote of the Day
Are Brussels sprouts different here? — Mr. HP
I was eating amazing mixed veggie dish #2 in Halifax. First amazing dish was veggie curry at the Monkey. Second amazing dish was veggie curry at Jane’s on the Common. Both dishes included Brussels sprouts, which Mr. HP and I usually avoid; however, these sprouts were amazing–possibly the best part of each dish. I raved at the Halifax Brussels sprouts phenomenon while eating the sprouts at Jane’s, and Mr. HP begrudgingly had a taste, which prompted the Quote of the Day.
- If you live in Halifax, eat your Brussels sprouts!
- If you, like me, think you’re not a Brussels sprouts person, give them another shot! Try roasting them for a simple, tasty intro to the world of enjoying this strange little cabbage.
If you think eating responsibly is too expensive–
The ninety-nine-cent price of a fast-food hamburger simply doesn’t take account of that meal’s true cost–to soil, oil, public health, the public purse, etc., costs which are never charged directly to the consumer but, indirectly and invisibly, to the taxpayer (in the form of subsidies), the health care system (in the form of food-borne illnesses and obesity), and the environment (in the form of pollution), not to mention the welfare of the workers in the feedlot and the slaughterhouse and the welfare of the animals themselves…
…for if quality matters so much more than quantity, then the price of a food may bear little relation to the value of the nutrients in it. If units of omega-3s and beta-carotene and vitamin E are what an egg shopper is really after, then Joel’s $2.20 a dozen pastured eggs actually represent a much better deal than the $0.79 a dozen industrial eggs at the supermarket.
from p. 200-201, Grass: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Pasture; and p.269, The Meal: Grass Fed.
From The Ethics of Eating Animals, p. 326-7
To give up eating animals is to give up on these places as human habitat, unless of course we are willing to make complete our dependence on a highly industrialized national food chain. That food chain would be in turn even more dependent than it already is on fossil fuels and chemical fertilizer, since food would need to travel even farther and fertility–in the form of manures–would be in short supply. Indeed, it is doubtful you can build a genuinely sustainable agriculture without animals to cycle nutrients and support local food production. If our concern is for the health of nature–rather than, say, the internal consistency of our moral code or the condition of our souls–then eating animals may sometimes be the most ethical thing to do.
Since the utilitarian is concerned exclusively with the sum of happiness and suffering, and the slaughter of an animal with no comprehension of death need not entail suffering, the Good Farm adds to the total of animal happiness, provided you replace the slaughtered animal with a new one. However, this line of thinking does not obviate the wrongness of killing an animal that “has a sense of its own existence over time, and can have preferences about its own future.” In other words, it might be okay to eat the chicken or the cow, but perhaps not the (more intelligent) pig.
From The Ethics of Eating Animals, p. 317
To visit a modern Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO) is to enter a world that for all its technological sophistication is still designed on seventeenth-century Cartesian principles: Animals are treated as machines–“production units”–incapable of feeling pain. Since no thinking person can possibly believe this anymore, industrial animal agriculture depends on a suspension of disbelief on the part of the people who operate it and a willingness to avert one’s eyes on the part of everyone else.
From The Ethics of Eating Animals, p. 333
The industrialization–and brutalization–of animals in America is a relatively new, evitable, and local phenomenon: No other country raises and slaughters its food animals quite as intensively or as brutally as we do. No other people in history has lived at quite so great a remove from the animals they eat. Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to raise, kill, and eat animals the way we do. Tail docking and sow crates and beak clipping would disappear overnight, and the days of slaughtering four hundred head of cattle an hour would promptly come to an end–for who could stand the sight? Yes, meat would get more expensive. We’d probably eat a lot less of it, too, but maybe when we did eat animals we’d eat them with the consciousness, ceremony, and respect they deserve.
From The Market: “Greetings from the Non-Barcode People”, p 259-260
This is precisely the mission that Slow Food has set for itself: to remind a generation of industrial eaters of their connections to farmers and farms, and to the plants and animals we depend on. The movement, which began in 1989 as a protest against the opening of a McDonald’s in Rome, recognizes that the best way to fight industrial eating is by simply recalling people to the infinitely superior pleasures of traditional foods enjoyed communally. The consumer becomes, in founder Carl Petrini’s phrase, a “coproducer”–his eating contributes to the survival of landscapes and species and traditional foods that would otherwise succumb to the fast-food ideal of “one world, one taste.” Even connoisseurship can have a politics, Slow Food wagers, since an eater in closer touch with his senses will find less pleasure in a box of Chicken McNuggets than in a pastured chicken or a rare breed of pig. It’s all very Italian (and decidedly un-American): to insist that doing the right thing is the most pleasurable thing, and that the act of consumption might be an act of addition rather than subtraction.
For more info on Slow Food, see Slow Food USA.
“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”
(and lots of other animal sites, with slight variations)
(From Slaughter: In a Glass Abattoir, p. 235)
Like fresh air and sunshine, Joel believes transparency is a more powerful disinfectant than any regulation or technology. It is a compelling idea. Imagine if the walls of every slaughterhouse and animal factory were as transparent as Polyface’s–if not open to the air then at least made of glass. So much of what happens behind those walls–the cruelty, the carelessness, the filth–would simply have to stop.
Moral: It’s just another reason to buy meat and dairy products from your local farmer. A farmer who knows that customers could appear at anytime has extra incentive to keep the farm clean and humane.
(From Grass: Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Pasture, p. 197-198)
In fact, grassing over that portion of the world’s cropland now being used to grow grain to feed ruminants would offset fossil fuel emissions appreciably. For example, if the sixteen million acres now being used to grow corn to feed cows in the United States became well-managed pasture, that would remove fourteen billion pounds of carbon from the atmosphere each year, the equivalent of taking four million cars off the road.
Moral: consumers have the ability to create change through purchase power. Make a difference by avoiding corn-fed beef and support your local farmers who raise cows on pasture.