ethel’s words

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Bovine encephalitis, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (I don’t use the latter orally) has not turned many consumers away from beef. Oh, yes, the industry is in pain--well deserved, that--but billions still eat beef. Few have thought about how beef is slaughtered, in the midst of bellowing agony, blood, gore, filth, steaming intestines, AND STENCH, and then, a great portion of it, shipped to a central mixing caldron where it is mauled, pummeled, ground, and tornadoed into a uniformly risky mess, then shipped again, a world traveler of fame or infame.

What is magical about beef? I find it puzzling, not to mention revolting, that an animal so closely related to humans is--or has been--the favorite food of the flesh-eaters. As a vegetarian, I admit--I don’t relish any of it. But on my way to vegetarianism I ate sea foods and favored salmon and rock cod.

The thought of eating a lamb (or even sheep) breaks my tolerance level but I recommend it as healthy, free of chemical adulteration. (Still?) If I had to eat flesh, I would prefer kippered salmon. I recommend as affordable and practical, WELL-COOKED chicken (I do remember the fecal soup scandal). Better than that, turkey, turkey being still raised “free” and available in small quantities.

Fruits and veggies are gorgeous; an array of bloody beef and other dead animal or animals, is truly revolting if you think about it. But beef, bellowing beef, is almost forced on consumers: Few fast-fooders (according to print media articles) offer veggie-burgers, though most offer chicken. Recipes in the dailies and the monthlies are all too often beef-based. It is more work to flavor with herbs, mushrooms, and the aromatic veggies and fruits than to use animal flesh or animal fat. But the rewards are manifold.

I am aware that contamination turns up these days in the most unexpected places, but we can deal with bacteria and microbes. But the prions in beef? We haven’t even found a way to kill them. We don’t know exactly what roles they play. That would be enough to turn me away from beef, aside from the revolting rest, but it doesn’t seem to faze most beef-eaters, much to the joy of The Beef Board.

A world-changing book, “Diet For A Small Planet”, by Frances Moore Lappé, includes a study of the effects of beef-raising on the resources of Earth. The resulting warning should not be ignored today, in the recognized threat of Global Warming.

Ethel C. Hale