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Roadkill and Sustainability
Alex Steffen, 17 Jan 08

We've written a lot about getting your food in cities in, well, unconventional manners: forget urban farming, we're talking about engaging in urban foraging and guerrilla gardening, harvesting free fruit or taking up the 100 yard diet.

For me, the value of these ideas is less that they offer practical tools for filling dietary needs (though local food is, by and large, a good idea), than that they offer provocative insight into the cultural distances we've created between ourselves and the sources of our sustenance.

But a couple friends of mine have kept ribbing me about meat: where's the protein in the diet of urban omnivores?

So, for their sake, I offer two pieces full of insight, from right here in Seattle and up the road in Vancouver:

The 100-Mile-an-Hour Diet:

A car isn't a particularly good hunting weapon, but the highway is like a blind machine gunner in the woods... "The reason I opt for roadkill as opposed to hunting -- which I'm also down with," says Comeau, "is because there's so much roadkill. I feel like it's sort of ridiculous for me to start hunting, say, deer, when I can get so much deer on the side of the road."

The Urban Hunt: A Summer Spent Killing—and Eating—Seattle's Small Game:

A young, gray rabbit approaches warily, bites off a mouthful of lettuce, and hops back to chew in safety. I keep still. It returns, hops away, returns, hops away. Within a few minutes, it feels comfortable and greedily tucks in. I slam the box down with a thud, slip another piece of cardboard beneath it, and walk—then run—to the car, expecting someone to accost me at any minute. Nobody does.

I ease the box into my bathtub and take off the lid. I look at the rabbit. It calmly looks back: Well, here we are. The rabbit. The bathtub. Me. It is undeniably cute; it is also dinner.

I'm not recommending doing violence to your local bunnies, mind. But if you want to get immediate, clear and, um, visceral with the source of your meat, there is nothing like participating in the demise of your dinner.

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Comments

Yay! Something funny here. Almost a redneck joke!


Posted by: Brian on 17 Jan 08

Regarding meat bit, here is URL for article on my blog about IPCC chief's recent press conference, recommending skipping red meat, as one of top three best things to do for the earth:

http://lamarguerite.wordpress.com/2008/01/18/straight-from-the-mouth-of-the-ipcc-chief/

Your bunny story made me laugh. I was raised on my grandparents' farm in France and watched my grandmother kill bunnies routinely. The trick about participating in the demise of my dinner would not work for me . . . So I will probably continue to eat rabbits and chickens. But I totally buy the red meat argument. It's not that good for you, and it is outrageously taxing to the planet!

http://lamarguerite.wordpress.com
'It's All About Green Psychology'


Posted by: marguerite manteau-rao on 18 Jan 08

Thing about roadkill is: if you're that heartless that you'd run over an animal and not go back to check on it or put it to the side of the road, then well you don't deserve to live. It's not like there's crossings provided for them - tunnels or bridges, the roads just plough right through their territory.

Also a lot of people run them over on purpose anyway or they just don't bother moving the car or slowing down or stopping.

The protein arguement against eating meat - it's a big problem that anyone is able to be that uninformed about facts yet declare statements as if they know what they are talking about. It's a mouth that isn't connected to a brain, repeating stuff it heard elsewhere. All kinds of animals digest things differently, but the fact remains that the most vegan of raw food diet animals are what are providing the protein such people mention.

Even if you eat only prime cuts, your body is not going to store that as muscle.

Honestly being desperate is one thing, but baiting is just bad. Is he really that poor and hungry. I wouldn't trust anyone who is able to betray trust that way. The world's messed up precisely because there's so many people willing to exploit other people (and anything else) in exactly those kinds of manners - it's the basis of capitalist economies.
It's like a microscopic encapsulation of the macroscopic problem.


Posted by: zupakomputer on 24 Jan 08

The thing that's great about roadkill is that it challenges the mantra of 'local', 'seasonal' and 'authentic' foods big time.

I'm making a film just now about meat that's local, seasonal and authentic to cultures other than the U.K. and U.S.A. and I have to say that, yeah, sometimes it's gorgeous fresh flowers and foraged squirrel nuts, but at other times it's stuff like snake, dog and rat.

There's another cultural distance we've created between ourselves and sustenance: and it sits somewhere here.

And if self-sufficiency is the future of food, we're going to have to re-draw boundaries and definitions of some cherished words like 'local'.


Posted by: David Barrie on 28 Jan 08



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