Chopping up birds

In the Island Life section of the Honolulu Advertiser today (Wednesday, April 14, 2010) the main story was entitled "Buying the whole bird", which was about how to "enjoy value, freshness, versatility by learning to cut apart a chicken."  It was accompanied by pictures with captions like, "1. start with a fresh whole chicken. 2. After folding the wing tips back, cut in to remove the leg, breast.  3. With the chicken upright, cut the "oyster" (1) from the chicken. 4. Pop off the hip joint on the chicken and cut off the leg piece.  5. Do the same on the other side.  6.

When a sacrifice is necessary, what can we ask of others? What should we ask of ourselves?

Foer makes the case, in this final chapter of Eating Animals, that food is at the heart of the human dilemma. Eating is the most universal act, and its implications are far reaching. What we eat affects our relationship with our environment, our relationship with family and with our extended family – the other living beings that inhabit this planet. Food is a source of comfort for most people. We eat, many times, to resolve our anxieties. We eat to forge social bonds and to escape, temporarily, from the constant barrage of demands we face in life. Eating, then, is the activity which most calls on us to consult our conscience, and the activity we are least willing to examine. 

Another Alternative

An article in the Honolulu Advertiser today talks about aquaculture in Hawaii, and how various environmental groups are opposed to it on the basis that it is harmful to the environment. Aquaculture is another way of saying a fish factory farm, a large number of fish concentrated together in a small area. The concentrated fish population releases huge amounts of excretment into a very small area of the ocean; antibiotic use by the farmed fish is also a concern, both for native fish populations, and for the human consumers of the fish.

Q: What can you do with 87,000 pounds of shit? A: I don't know, but think fast, factory farms produce that much every second

In this chapter of Eating Animals, Foer pulls back the curtain to reveal the end product (literally) of the factory farming system: shit. Boatloads of shit. Communities surrounded by shit. Landscapes overrun by shit. Shit in the air, shit in the water, shit in the food.

They eat what?!? Mad Cows and Rotten Snickers

A few years before I became a vegetarian, I had a glimpse into the reality of factory farmed meat that made me pause and rethink my habits. It was an assignment for a class I’ve since forgotten; I was tired and skimming through the photocopied handout when a phrase jumped out at me. At the end of a list of additives to livestock feed, the article mentioned waste from candy factories, including “rotten Snickers".

Locavorism: Elitist food snobbery or practical solution to global warming?

Locavorism, for those who haven't heard the term, describes the practice of buying food grown within a 100 mile radius of where one lives, in an effort to cut back on one's carbon footprint. Once upon a time, access to imported, specialty items was reserved for the rich or well-connected connoisseur. Now, however, the committed locavore has to go far out of his or her way to forage enough food from their local region to survive. This is especially true in Hawaii, where most of our food is shipped over thousands of miles.

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