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Letters to the Editor: April 2010 

Reducing the Carcass Footprint

To the Editor:

Re: The “cognitive dissonance” of eating meat [Editor’s Note, 3/10].

A butcher shop is but a display-case mortuary containing the mutilated remains of sentient beings, a place where “cognitive dissonance” only recognizes its dinner! As the world is a reflection of our mindsets and the actions that spring from them, such a mental disorder is cause for disorder in the environment and in the human condition. One has only to look around to see that our planet is dying, vulnerable like animals to the “cognitive dissonance” of its caretakers!

Unlike carnivores, however, human beings can “choose” to tread gently during their Earth journey. We can “choose” to reduce the miseries and bloodshed involved in sating our carnal appetites. Enlightened stewardship of our planet requires that we not only reduce our “carbon” footprint, but our “carcass” footprint as well!

Because every footprint has an impact on the Creation, we, as concerned Earth-walkers, should “choose” our paths with conscious care. Changing the world for the better begins with a choice to change our mindsets for the better. Happy trails!

Kevin Vincent Kelly, Catskill

Cataract of Consciousness

To the Editor:

Re: Editor’s Note, 3/10

With all due respect for personal choice, we, as thinking, feeling beings, in this time and place, on the whole, lack great reasons to eat things that, when living, had a face. If a heartbeat was deliberately stopped, to keep our heart beating, is it not a murdered thing we’re eating?

To generalize, I trust that most of us do not experience total ecstasy upon picturing the processes that turn mobile creatures into edible products. I suspect that in order for most folks to eat once-mobile meat, a somewhat blind mind’s eye is called for. The resulting consciousness cataract then remains, ever present, on the journey through life, from meal to meal.

As a teenager, I worked for my father’s poultry business. Curiously, I was a newly minted vegetarian at this point, with better health as my motive. Sure, I loved animals, but I was foggy on how, if at all, that connected to my vegetarianism. After all, I grew up loving animals and eating them, ingesting the contradiction unconsciously. Thus conditioned, my experience of vegetarianism as love for animals was yet to blossom.

My job involved delivering “product.” The “product” was “processed,” then packaged, frozen, and boxed. I just had to load, drive, unload and drive back. My eyes were thus safe from the truth. Then, one dreary morning, for what reason I don’t recall, I was, for the first time, present for the murder of a pheasant. Into the bag went that struggling bird, followed by that knife. Then the decisive slice! Beheaded, the body continued to squirm within the bag. Soon, as it reddened, the bag became still, the squirming having relocated to my heart, where it remains to this moment.

At that point in my life, amidst my own struggles and suffering, I identified more with that bird than with any of the people in that avian concentration camp. I felt like it was me in that bag! Vicariously decapitated, I felt empathy tear free from the tangle of rationalization within me. So, in a way, I came to vegetarianism for lust, but stayed for love.

Having testified thus, I recognize that going faceless is not the next step that every individual is presently prepared to take, no matter how becoming of our humanity I think that would be. But, as a lot of people are getting readier with every heartbeat, as the corpus of rationalization withers away on life support, this is a timely discussion for which I want to express my appreciation to you.

Mark Oppenheimer, Verbank

Tongue in (Stormo’s) Cheek

To the Editor:

I would like to eat Evan Stormo [Letters to the Editor, 3/10]. I would slowly roast him with garlic, rosemary, and fennel until I had a crisp, crackling skin and tender, giving meat underneath. Then I would serve him with pan juices and some local seasonal vegetables.

Rich Reeve, Chef/Owner, Elephant, Kingston

Support for Stormo

To the Editor:

I agree whole heartedly with Evan Stormo with regard to the photo and article on Julie Powell [“In the Flesh,” 2/10]. There are many great reasons to represent the vegan and vegetarian communities in your magazine. The world would be a much healthier place if we all would choose to be more responsible with regard to how we treat animals. The way a society treats animals is a direct reflection on how evolved and responsible that society is.

Of course, everyone is entitled to their opinion but in some cases, it is black and white. The fact that Mr. Stormo did not know what the corpse was in the photo does not at all matter, and it seemed really snide to comment on that after his letter.

Why don’t you do a great article on all the animal-friendly restaurants in the Hudson Valley? Give all sides equal coverage.

Anne Robinson, Accord

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