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Vegans, Vegetarians Eating Meat

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Deconstructing the Myth

This article highlights the still accelerating trend of former vegans and vegetarians going public with their involvement in celebrating, promoting, and even profiting from the sale of new and improved "humane" meat. The message, which should be troubling to animal advocates, is that this trend actually began with the vegetarian movement, and is being led by those who are emerging from their "meatless exile."

Does this lend credence to the charge some have made that large animal advocacy organizations have unwittingly become consultants to the animal-using industry? Have these organizations helped industry marketers understand that the way to sell vastly more of the extra profitable "humane" animal products is to co-opt the form of the traditional argument of vegans and vegetarians--an argument that focuses on concern for animals, the environment, and human health?

After all, if organizations that are effectively the public face of animal advocacy are willing to endorse various animal products, willing to certify that they are "socially responsible" and "humane," why should the public even consider arguments that using and killing animals is unethical?

Now that some animal groups have given their seal of approval to the institution of animal use, isn't the only significant question remaining whether or not the products came from animals that were used and killed "the right way?" And if they were, then savoring and celebrating their consumption with gusto is now not only guilt-free, but also virtuous, a form of activism on behalf of the animals, the environment, and small scale farmers. This phenomenon raises the question of whether or not animal organizations that collaborate with the animal-using industry have become snared in an egregious conflict of interest.

For further background on the politics of advocacy/industry collaboration, see Project for the New American Carnivore: From Niman to Lyman in 10 Short Years
Invasion of the Movement Snatchers: A Social Justice Movement Falls Prey to the Doctrine of Necessary Evil and Hogwash!: Or, How Animal Advocates Enable Corporate Spin

"One needs to be slow to form convictions, but once formed they must be defended against the heaviest odds."



Co-owners Tara Longo, left and Mario Fiorucci, right, and head butcher Sebastian Cortez at Toronto's, The Healthy Butcher. Their business has picked up due to a resurgence in meat eating. Photo Peter J. Thompson/National Post

Rediscovering the joy of meat
The new carnivore is ethical, environmentally-friendly and will eat the whole animal

Have some large animal advocacy organizations unwittingly become consultants to the animal-using industry?

Source: National Post by Allison Hanes   Apr 2008   4/11/2008
Click here for direct link to source

At The Healthy Butcher, on Toronto's trendy Queen St. W., sausage-making classes fill up faster than casings getting stuffed with spiced ground meat, and the participants are as keen as the man who recently wrote co-owner Mario Fiorucci after attending the course to say he had purchased his own meat grinder and was now churning out his own sausages at home.

That his customers are so enthusiastic about getting their hands bloody has surprised even Mr. Fiorucci, who opened the butcher shop with his wife Tara Longo, both of them former vegetarians.

It is just one example of a recent revival of the joys of carnivorous eating.

There are new cookbooks--Carnivore Chic in Canada and The Shameless Carnivore in the U.S.--that celebrate the personal and cultural love affair with meat. Butcher shops are the new shopping grounds of a hip, elite and socially conscious clientele.


Perhaps more significant, even some vegetarians are abandoning the moral high ground to emerge from their meatless exile.

"I do think something fundamental has shifted in our culture," said Susan Bourette, the Toronto-based author of Carnivore Chic: From Pasture to Plate, the Search for the Perfect Meat, who said that a lot of the shift began, ironically, with the vegeterian movement.

It is not that eating meat ever fell out of favour, she said, but it definitely went out of fashion for a spell with all the fuss about what the industrial food complex was doing to the environment, waistlines and health.

Now meat is in again, she said--and people are consuming it, albeit more discriminatingly, guilt free and with a renewed gusto.


In his new book, The Shameless Carnivore: A Manifesto for Meat Lovers, Scott Gold tried 31 different meats in as many days--including bull's penis and squirrel (which he shot himself).

Although he delights in goading vegetarians in his book and on his blog--gushing about eating guinea pig, whiskers and all, and raving about the richness of rabbit--Mr. Gold credits them with helping bring foodies back to more authentic, healthy and responsible dining.

"Vegetarianism I suppose became equated with being more emotionally or morally evolved, but now the tide is really turning," said Mr. Gold. "If you try grass-fed, locally, humanely raised meat, it's not only significantly better for your health, it's better for the animal. It's not just good for the environment, but also, ultimately, once again, it all comes down to taste.

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