Although Joy Lanzendorfer's article "Replicant Repasts" (Feb. 20), didn't encourage the cloning of meat, it completely failed to mention perhaps the most detrimental effect of the FDA's approval of cloned meat in our nation's food supply. Yes, small farms would suffer; yes, there could be health risks. But the biggest problem will be with the nature of this decision's consequences on diversity. As recently explained by Verlyn Klinkenborg of the New York Times, this decision has nothing to do with the well-being of consumers or Mother Nature, but rather the large meat-industry corporations. "[They] would like it best if chickens grew in the shape of nuggets," Klinkenborg wrote.
With money-hungry corporations in control, the most economically sound breeds will prevail, leaving all others in the dust—and the genetic diversity can only narrow. This decision is only the beginning of a quick downward spiral to not just a single breed of each animal, but a single genetic makeup. One by one the animal breeds will disappear, leaving consumers with less and less choice, and our once-rich-with-diversity farm animal kingdom poorer and poorer. Imagine living in a world where every steak tastes exactly the same as the next because every cow has the exact same genetic makeup as the next. This landmark decision is opening doors for money-hungry corporations and closing doors for citizens and Mother Nature. If we don't act immediately to protect our planet's diversity, there will be no turning back.
Emma McDonell, age 17
Good Grief, Man!
Good grief, Templeton! Men dressed as nuns are not funny ("Sisters of Dreary," stage review, Feb. 20). What's more, women dressed as nuns—old-fashioned, habit-wearing nuns—are not funny. That was then. This is now. Get over it! The reason this production "presents a new low in high camp" is because the set-up is ho-hum with a zero punch line. Nunsense had a decent run. But it's over. Move on.
Humane death ha, ha
I appreciated Christina Waters' article about the "back to the pasture" movement ("The Meat of the Matter," Feb. 20). I have been a vegetarian for 15 years now, but I am heartened that there are ranchers and farmers who are improving the lives of farm animals by raising them in a more humane fashion than the large, intensive factory farms do. And I am glad that better options (local, more humanely raised) exist.
There was one part about how animals are "taken to a family-run slaughterhouse and dispatched as humanely as they were raised." I am sure that those pigs lived a far better life than their counterparts in factory farms, but I doubt that they were "humanely" killed. Most slaughterhouses, even small ones, use the same practice when killing animals. They are hung upside down by one leg, have their throats slit and then bleed to death while still conscious. It is a painful, terrifying and violent death.
I hope that while people choose a more humane option (and I am truly glad that they can), they don't delude themselves into believing that the animal died a "humane" death. I also suggest that they contact farmers directly to ask for details on how the animals that they are eating are raised, transported and killed.
Dept. of corrections
In our heated rush to convey immediate wisdom about the Sonoma Meat Buying Club and perhaps sway certain check-book-wielding family members that it was a great idea for journalists and artists and students to have rockin' meat monthly delivered in a cool designer bag avec beurre, we evidently made a few teeny tiny errors ("Meat the Makers" sidebar, Feb. 20).[Marker]
Sonoma Direct president Marissa Guggiana gently points out that not all the meat from local ranchers is certified organic; evidently, one side of the phone interview was operating on wishes and sloth. She further refutes our sloppy assertion that she thought the whole darned thing up and then UC Davis just came rushing over to help. Rather, the University of California had the idea first. Guggiana was delighted to help. As always, apologies and etceteras rain down.