|Another reason to shop at the Market|
Q: What's exponentially worse than seeing a rabbit in your yard?
A: Seeing two rabbits in your yard. Because--well--you do the math.
I wonder how many home gardeners are also card-carrying PETA members...Anyway, here's hoping the plastic owl my husband put out by the pea plants last year does its voodoo again. If you have other anti-rabbit tricks, besides throwing boots or investing in a BB gun, do share.
A co-worker mentioned someone's brainstorm: this organization is raising rabbits for meat. I've only ever eaten rabbit once, and it had many little bones to pick out, but apparently they're going with raising the ginormous variety--so presumably the bones are easier to locate and remove.
|Take me to your carrots. Or use me as an ottoman.|
In all seriousness, meat is big, big business in our country, and the more I learn about the main producers of American chicken, pork, and beef, the more grateful I am that our Market offers an alternative. If you've read The Omnivore's Dilemma or seen documentaries about animals suffering in the system, you know the usual reasons to feel guilty about eating conventional meat, but The Meat Racket traces the rise of vertically-integrated meat production over the past several decades and examines its effect on rural towns and independent farmers. (Spoiler alert: the effect was not good.)
Discouragingly, what began with chicken production has now spread to pork and beef, with subsequent declines in animal husbandry, food quality, and the ability of farmers to make ends meet. We have our cheap meat, yes, but we lose our farmers, and counties sucked into the machine suffer from poverty, population decline, and environmental degradation. When we eat meat in restaurants, cafeterias, schools, or buy it at the store, we participate with Tyson, ConAgra, Cargill, Smithfield Farms, and JBS in bringing this about.
So that's the bummer. What's the alternative? Meat raised humanely and economically sustainably, such as we find at farmers markets. Yes, it's more expensive. Farmers market meat producers do their work without benefit of growth hormones, massive economies of scale, crushing their workers, making the animals miserable, or having guaranteed corporate contracts, all things that bring prices down. Nor is it likely our farmers will ever reap government benefits or even share them more evenly with big producers, since they don't have the nearly $6 million Big Meat spends annually, lobbying Congress to protect their way of doing business. All they have is us, the growing number of consumers who opt out. To afford the meat we want to eat, we make cutbacks elsewhere, or we eat meat less often.
Just an idea this Market season (which begins next Thursday, 5/15!)...try some of the delicious and wonderful chicken, pork, or beef our farmers raise, and see if taste alone doesn't convert you! If it doesn't, well--I suppose there are always the backyard rabbits.