Interesting article in the NY Times today about one take on the ‘locavore’ fad that’s starting in cuisine. Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver killed and butchered a chicken on one of his cooking shows (free registration required, or use BugMeNot) as part of a campaign to raise awareness of consumers’ demands for cheap food and the effect that has on both livestock and the farmers that raise them.
Mr. Oliver performed some other acts to show how animals are treated (more like mistreated) on factory farms, and to be honest, the end of this article almost reads like a pro-vegetarian tract. Quote:
“Mr. Oliver’s message to supermarket shoppers is clear: the only reason for the miserable lives lived by most chickens is your insistence on cheap food.”
He’s right, of course. We are usually two or more steps removed from the people that produce the food we consume, which allows us the ability to not think about how the choices we make affect both producers and animals. We may be able to suppress the thought that we’re screwing a farmer over when we buy vacuum-packed slabs of meat in the supermarket; most of us would have issues looking the farmer in the eye at the farmers’ market and doing so in person.
I’m not a vegetarian. I lived as one for a period of several years a while back but left that life choice for a variety of reasons. My wife has told me that if she had to butcher her own meat, she’d be a vegetarian, and I suspect that I would be as well. I can prep fish without much problem, but I don’t know that I could slaughter a pig or a cow. My guess is that I could get used to it eventually, but it would be hard.