|Last night's dinner conversation and doodle theme: Rabbits. Everyone got a turn.|
I’ve been puttering away on the keyboard, trying to devise a blog post for my successes and failures in the freezer category...
Demolished Corn tortillas. Freezer Burnt Razor Clams. Mediocre Banana Bread.
Heavenly Cassoulet with Lamb. The Freshest Tasting Pear Sauce. Chocolate.
And then someone goes and steals my friends' rabbits. Since for the time being (the moving truck has been delayed) I still write a food blog in Portland I feel compelled to comment
If you haven't heard about this rabbit melodrama you can read about it here . A quick rundown in case you're not into the clicking... 18 rabbits were stolen from an urban farmer (though he does not call himself that) in Portland last Saturday night. Enter my friend Levi who you might remember from here or here or here. Levi also works as an instructor for the Portland Meat Collective. In fact there was a class on raising, slaughtering, and cooking rabbits scheduled for Sunday, the day after the theft. It's believed to be politically motivated, but ironically the thief left 10 nursing bunnies behind. All of which, without a lactating mother to be found, died on Sunday.
The media picked it up quickly (as did Portlandia...rumor has it) and so did a LOT of feverishly opinionated folks. The comment streams have blown up with some fascinating streams of consciousness, and I’m reminded of a particular lesson I learned once: That a violent act in and of itself is often not the most shocking thing, but rather the audience’s response to the violent act. I quote a comment here, "Enjoy your karma killers! Live by the sword, or slaughtering knife, die by the sword." Ouch.
Maybe it's the Mennonite in me, but all effective dialogue seems to have ceased. Dialogue being one of the prime goals of Camas Davis, the Portland Meat Collective (PMC) brain. She provides a thought-provoking, wonderfully-articulate update here.
To move away from the vegan vs. carnivore, PMC vs. vegetarians... I am stunned at the number of people who applaud the person who stole from my friends. Because politics aside, someone invaded their home. Stole something important to them. The sensation of home invasion is a gross one, and this instance is no exception.
I wonder about the role of culture in this dramatic plot line. The act of rearing animals for consumption in an urban context is not yet a normalized one I would argue. It seems that the reaction of disgust, dismay and anger is heightened when one sees a slaughter come from that distant farm and onto a neighbor's front porch. Even the animal itself is a thing to ponder... Eating rabbits is still somewhat of a cultural taboo at the moment (though they've been eaten by many cultures for centuries). So although rabbits are making a comeback on our menus, there is certainly still a "you're eating my dog" dynamic. I wonder if the reaction would the same around chickens (which have become much more normal for both eggs and slaughter in urban farming)? Cows? Pigs? Insert animal name here?
But if one considers the elements of socialization and cultural relevance (among many other considerations I've not touched on) and is still in disgust, then by all means, express oneself. I'm an advocate for that. Yet would there not have been a better alternative? Is home invasion really the best route?
Rather than go on a longer political diatribe about the ins and out, the rights and wrongs, and the ethics of eating animals, I thought a few questions might go a bit farther. Because questions are the birthplace of a conversation. A conversation in which crimes are not condoned, people are not damned, and disagreeing minds exhibit a respect where respect is not expected.
So have a coffee, a Zanax, whatever it is you need, sit down with that crazy carnivore/vegan/farmer/rabbit advocate and talk. Nonviolent rules apply.
- Many of the comments in the discussion reference biblical passages and an opinion on what Jesus would do or say... what do you think Jesus would do or say?
- What would Miru Kim say?
- Is the Portland Meat Collective in an exceptional position of vulnerability due to their position of transparency in the meat-eating process? If so, how should we as a community respond to that vulnerability?
- Does the means justify the ends? (Interpret how you wish)
I think I hear the moving truck. Back to that freezer...