Would you eat a singing cow?


This evening I tried to argue to my friend Christa that New Yorkers should eat dogs. I mean, I don’t actually want to eat a dog. Ever. But the local food movement is all about using resources found where we live.

When I learned about artist Miriam Simun’s project to explore the notion of “local” food by making cheese from New York women’s breast milk, it made me wonder why no one discusses the fact that there’s a lot of dog meat out there that we simply incinerate. Every day dozens of poor souls are euthanised in a city that kills dogs because of lack of organization, funding, and space. If people really were eating these demolished creatures, the public push to make NYC a truly No Kill city would be in full gear.

The reason we don’t eat dogs? Well…I guess it’s just that we really like them. Who is to say that a dog life is more valuable than a cow life? I bet the cows would take issue with that idea.  But we somehow think of dogs as different. We know and love them and like to talk to them in funny voices and put them in costumes on Halloween. They have evolved over thousands of years to appeal to humans: they’re cute and cuddly and helpful in order to con us into welcoming them into our homes, parasites though they may be. The evolution of chickens and cows has been affected by humans for a different reason: We’re mostly concerned with breeding them for how they’ll taste  when their dead.

But I’ve never spent much time with a pig or lamb or chicken. If I did, perhaps I’d see their personalities as clearly as I see my dog’s. And then I probably wouldn’t want to eat them either.

Christa argued that cows and such have no personalities. I reminded her of the heifers at Stew Leonard’s, the Yonkers supermarket she brought me to last week. The cows there sing!

We watched, completely entranced. Then we went inside and got macaroni with chunks of bacon.



2 Responses

  1. elizabeth smith

    July 14, 2011 1:47 pm

    I have thought the very same thing myself. There is a new book by Hal Herzog called Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some we Eat.
    I’ve been wanting to order this and your post reminded me, so I just ordered it. Should be interesting if nothing else.

  2. Anna Jane Grossman

    July 14, 2011 7:41 pm

    Thanks for reading, Elizabeth. Yes, I’ve heard about that book. I’d like to check it out. .

    As a meat eater and a dog person, I definitely feel like a hypocrite a lot of the time. I started to become a lot more thoughtful about my meat consumption after I began training dogs.

    Have you read Peter Singer’s Animal Liberation?  I like this passage:

    It is easy to take a stand about a remote issue, but the speciesist, like the racist, reveals his true nature when the issue comes nearer home. To protest about bull-fighting in Spain or the slaughter of baby seals in Canada while continuing to eat chickens that have spent their lives crammed into cages, or veal from calves that have been deprived of their mothers, their proper diet, and the freedom to lie down with their legs extended, is like denouncing apartheid in South Africa while asking your neighbors not to sell their houses to blacks.


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