DEAR MERCURY—One of the reasons I moved to Portland was because of its views on the environment and the city's willingness—eagerness—to take responsibility and prepare for future generations. This is why I fail to see the connection between sustainability and having a sheep raised on a farm and trucked into an urban environment to be handed over on a leash to its killers, and then eaten with chutney ["Silencing the Lamb," Feature, Jan 4]. I guess the days of real, introspective journalism are said and done, so rather than filling my brain and my recycling bin full of trash, I'll pass up your publication in the future, so when Howard Stern becomes your editor and you start a series of contests with Donald Trump at the helm, I can save the energy I'd use being disgusted to go and actually do something worthwhile to benefit my city.
DEAR MERCURY—Why kill a lamb ["Silencing the Lamb," Feature, Jan 4]? Because raising the little turds makes you WANT to. I was once talked into raising a lamb by a friend in FFA [Future Farmers of America]. At first I was worried about letting go of my little black lamb. But Hershey wouldn't eat his bulk-inducing grain. He wouldn't let me train him to walk calmly on a leash. And then he started hopping the fence. In the end, some friends with a farm took Hershey, on the condition that I would get some meat when the time came. Alas, Hershey was smart enough to win the hearts of my friends' children and lived a long life. But I guarantee you, those would have been the tastiest lamb chops ever, seasoned with revenge and a bit of mint jelly on the side.
PICKING FOOD FIGHTS
DEAR PORTLAND MERCURY—Instead of writing a defensive, snarky response to Food Fight's letter informing you they will be pulling their ads after you placed it next to an article showing and describing gratuitous animal cruelty, you should have apologized for the mistake [Letters, Jan 11]. It was a complete blunder on your part, and I would expect that you'd have a little more class and professionalism and admit your mistake, or is it just too easy to stir up some cheap controversy by picking a fight with the vegans?
PDX Vegan Dude
DEAR MERCURY—It is a harsh reality to see a lamb, or any animal, go to slaughter ["Silencing the Lamb," Feature, Jan 4]. I did not want anything to do with it, which led me to become a vegan 13 years ago. But a couple years ago I was about to cook dinner, opening several plastic packs of tofu. At the same time another person walked into the kitchen with four fish that she had caught in the lake that was 200 feet from our cabin. All the fish were invasive species that were taking over the native trout population. I looked at my plastic tubs of tofu, which were shipped in from the East Coast, and saw many of the holes in the vegan argument. Veganism is for people who want to be distanced from the violence of all foods. Yeah, that tofu was tasty, but it is not non-violent—soybeans are mass produced on a farm, destroying native habitat, tofu is made in a factory, the plastic tubs are non-biodegradable, and the truck that shipped the tofu most likely killed several animals along the way.
If a vegan eats local, fresh foods, then that is fantastic and it is a great, sustainable diet. But most vegans I know love to buy the super-processed corporate fake meats that are shipped across the globe from Asia and Europe to satiate their cravings for meat. At least those four fish, sad as it was to see them die, were killed in hopes of helping restore the balance in the lake and to provide a meal with a much smaller ecological footprint than the tofu I cooked. Interestingly, the fish was the most "vegan" item served at that dinner. And if you placed Sammy the lamb by a Tofurky, Sammy would be the less-violent dietary option.
Tim DCONGRATULATIONS TO TIM for his thoughtful contribution to this seemingly endless dialogue. Want to hear more? The Mercury rounded up representatives of disparate points of view—including Matt Rossell of In Defense of Animals, and Tony Deis of TrackersNW—to debate the issues this article has brought up. Listen to it at portlandmercury.com/podcasts. As for Tim, he gets two tickets to the Laurelhurst Theater and lunch for two at No Fish! Go Fish!, where the fish go best with soup.