Public radio presents biased perspective on ethical eating  »

The discussion thread for Oregon Public Broadcasting's (OPB) radio program on ”Knowing Your Meat" quickly spurred lots of rage and debate among the Portland vegan community (thanks to the folks at Herbivore clothing via their twitter @herbivorecc)—and rightly so.

The photo affiliated with the discussion—something previously talked about on Vegansaurus—is unbelievably sickening. I can only imagine holding a dead animal like that if she had been a beloved companion animal, not something I was about to EAT. Naomi Pomeroy, the woman from the photo and the owner of the restaurant Beast, says that the photo is meant to help us acknowledge that the meat we come from was once a living animal. An ex-vegetarian herself, Pomeroy suggests we should only eat meat if we know where the animal’s from. I don’t know about you, but that’s exactly why I won’t eat meat. It seems ludicrous to eat something that was once a living and breathing sentient being.

The ethics of this woman are very strange to me. On the website for Beast she says that “pescatarians, vegetarians and vegans would find it a challenge to enjoy our six-course dinners.” Uh, OK? But honestly, what more could we expect from a woman who turned away from vegetarianism for the benefit of her business? To feel like she was still doing something “good,” Pomeroy decided to start sourcing the meat for Beast from “ethical” and “local” distributors. This was the whole reason for the online discussion and radio broadcast: finding out if it’s worth it to only purchase “ethical” and “local” meats, and if so, where do you draw the line?

I agree with Michelle from Herbivore: She wanted to know why they weren’t going to have any vegans or vegetarians as guests on the radio show. Just because we personally don’t eat meat doesn’t mean we can’t offer some valid points on ethical eating. Instead the whole broadcast was full of ex-vegetarians calling in to explain why they began eating meat (hint: it’s always because they could now get it from ethical sources). My question here is, where were all the vegan callers!? I know there were no shortage of vegans posting on the internet discussion, but not a single one was on the radio. I’m worried that OPB screened the calls, or maybe no vegans actually called in, which either way is a serious shame. According to the Think Out Loud  blog there were a few technical difficulties with the calls. I understand that a few off the calls were dropped instead of being put on hold. Instead I listened to someone who had been a vegetarian for over 20 years describe how she started eating meat out of respect for her husband’s avid hunting.

One of the other callers (also an ex-vegetarian) spoke about buying whole animals to have butchered for food for her and her husband. The caller said she wasn’t yet ready raise her own animals for food for fear of growing attached to them. I think this sums up what is wrong with her meat-eating. She’s admitting she has a problem with the death of animals for food, so why try to deny that by continuing to eat them? Also, please see:

[Can’t see the video? Watch it on!]

I’m sad this radio broadcast failed to represent realistic ways for Portlanders (and anyone for that matter) to eat truly ethically. [Ed.: Perhaps we can all email the OPD programming folks and ask for Thinking Out Loud to do a show on ethical eating? LET’S ALL DO IT! It’s your five-minute activism for the day!]

This guest op-ed was brought to you by Chelsea Catchpole, a vegan who hails from the mystical land of Portland, Oregon. She is a barista by day and a blogger, climber, and “chef” by night. You can normally find her wandering the isles of New Seasons or The People’s co-op, spending way too much money on new foods. The rest of her free time is spent cuddling with her two cats, Sushi and Mojo-Jojo. You can read her other musings at Stumpy Vegan.

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