Everyone has an opinion about what they eat, and our first Special Food Issue [Sept. 11] received much mail. Slow-food aficionados, vegetarians, carnivores, vegans, organic gardeners, animal lovers, gourmets, gastronomes and activists wrote to tell us what we did right (a lot) and wrong (a little) and to add to the salad of ideas for the next Special Food Issue. –The Editors
State College, Pa.
I commend you for publishing the Food Issue. As a longtime Nation reader, I found it a refreshing change from your usual “not left enough” idealism, which leaves one feeling angry and impotent. The Food Issue offers readers examples of things to do (and people who do them) that can have a positive impact on everyday life.
As co-chair of the board of directors of Slow Food USA and a longtime Nation reader, I was especially happy to see the Food Issue. Carlo Petrini, Slow Food’s founder, has noted that we are all co-producers; how we spend our food dollars determines who produces our food and what and where food is produced. October 26 to 30 Slow Food will convene Terra Madre in Turin (www.terramadre2006.org/terramadre/welcome.html). This gathering of 5,000 small artisan food producers from around the globe (this year joined by 1,000 chefs and 100 university researchers) posits an alternative to our industrial system of agriculture. The timing seems right for The Nation to add food to its regular list of topics and concerns.
PETER DE GARMO
There is no more apt expression of “the personal is political” than our food choices, as very well represented in The Nation‘s first (and, with the editors, we hope not the last) Food Issue. That most Americans eat about forty land animals a year warrants more discussion–especially in a progressive magazine like The Nation.
We are a nation of animal lovers (Gallup finds that 96 percent of Americans oppose cruelty to animals), yet the animals Americans eat have their bodies mutilated without pain relief, are given growth-promoting drugs that often cripple them and are cooped up in their own waste for their entire lives. They’re slaughtered in ways that are illegal in the European Union. Every stage of the process would warrant felony cruelty charges were dogs or cats so abused. There is no ethical difference between eating a dog or a pig, a chicken or a cat. If anything, eating your dogs or cats would be morally preferable, since they would have led a good life until you killed them. We challenge readers to view www.meat.org. If you oppose cruelty, try vegetarianism. We’ve got more than 1,500 kitchen-tested recipes, cookbook recommendations, meal plans and more, at www.vegcooking.com. Happy eating!
BRUCE G. FRIEDRICH
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals
For the past twenty-four years, World Farm Animals Day (wfad.org) has continued in famed social critic Upton Sinclair’s footsteps, exposing the atrocious conditions of animals raised for food in the world’s factory farms and slaughterhouses. Folks who eat animals owe them at least a decent life and humane slaughter. They should refuse to patronize a meat industry that cannot meet these minimal standards.