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05/19/2011

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 Vegansaurus.com!]

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.

01/04/2011

Mother Jones loves sustainability, except when there’s delicious, fancy food involved  »


Mother Jones
published an interview with Naomi Pomeroy, a former vegetarian who opened a restaurant in Portland called Beast that’s basically Meat Time in Meat Town at the Meat Day Parade. Pomeroy was vegetarian until, she says, she started cooking meat for “personal-chef clients” and was all, IF I COOK MEAT I HAVE TO TASTE IT DUH, so she got waaaaaay into “sustainable” meat and thought, Oh, snap! I better open a restaurant that serves only meat because that’s the way to teach everyone about sustainable dining: SLOW FOOD FOREVA!, and then, well, she did. She’s obviously not the brightest bulb, but there are thousands of dumb-ass slow-food chefs who think the way to feed the world is through reducing meat consumption—and when it comes to their own menus there’s not a veg item in sight. You see, they mean “reducing the meat consumption for everyone else.” Lead by example? That’s asinine!

It’s like the whole Michael Pollan elitism thing: these slow food dummies are so intent on showing the world that there’s “sustainable meat” (a whopping less-than-1 percent of it!) that they ignore the much larger, more important lesson: WE ALL NEED TO EAT LESS MEAT. Well, not us vegans, but you know, the rest of you fuckers. The constant message the world needs to hear from the Slow Food movement is EAT LESS MEAT. Then, if they want to get into where the meat that people “should” eat comes from, fine. Let’s cross that bridge when we come to it. Global meat consumption has increased 500 percent since 1950 and people who care about sustainable dining should (one more time with feeling): EAT FEWER DEAD ANIMALS.

Anyway, none of that really bothered me because I’m used to silly shit like this in eco-hip media BUT THEN two editors of Mother Jones had to go and tweet about how vegans are UP IN ARMS about the article. Like WTF did you think, ladies?? You publish an article about a restaurant that’s all WOO DEAD ANIMALS WOO and of course you’re gonna get some people commenting who think eating animals is sad and awful. DEAL WITH IT. To tweet about it and point it out like, “OMG! Vegans have their panties in a bunch!” is just ridiculous. Can you imagine them antagonizing another group like this!? 

Who do the editors of Mother Jones think reads them? There is literally not one person on earth (who has heard of the magazine) who thinks it’s anything other than a hippie rag. Mother Jones, you are granola-eating, Birkenstock-wearing, liberal gaywads from planet 1970s Hippie Socialist and you need to just ACCEPT THAT. Vegans are your natural allies; why are you trying to alienate us? Stop trying to be Good (which is THE WORST) or one of those obnoxious faux eco-sites that tells people to save the world by buying more reusable bags! You’re brand isn’t hip, no matter how many times you try to convince me to call you “MoJo,” and it never will be. YOU ARE CALLED MOTHER JONES. I mean, I hear that and I think of a woman teaching her daughter to use a Diva Cup, YOU KNOW? And there’s nothing wrong with that! Now, go breast-feed your seven-year-old and leave us vegans be. Or, you know, write less hypocritically about animal-eating issues.

[Note: To provide contrast between this article’s accompanying gross-ass pictures of Noami Pomeroy holding dead pigs as as she walks through a field, this editorial is accompanied by pictures of a living piglet, and some vegan salad. Sow and piglet photo by grongar; beet-and-leek-salad photo by haraldwalker]

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