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.