I found this incident at Vermont College very sad. The sustainable-farming-oriented school planned to slaughter two oxen it's had for years and serve them at the dining hall. Faced with protests from animal rights activists—who successfully prevented the college from finding a willing slaughterhouse—the college ended up having to euthanize one of the animals, who had a bad injury and declining quality of life. As planned, the ox was killed. But nobody got to eat him.
Critics of the food movement's emphasis on organic, smaller-scale and local/regional agriculture tend to point out that feeding the world requires large-scale, conventional farming. But we're already producing more food than we need. The problem is drastic inequalities of access. A new report from Oxfam (pdf) highlights one particularly egregious force behind these inequalities: foreign speculators buying up farmland in poor countries.
Joel Salatin's new book offers a full banquet of opinions, prescriptions and rants. How does the man find time to farm?
Reconciliation requires relocation. To see the effects of our food choices, we have to get close to the land.
Late in life, my mother confessed that she never enjoyed cooking. "But," she said, "I did take satisfaction in serving simple meals to my family." Well, there's no such thing as a simple meal anymore.