Gorging on Wild Animals with the Sultans of Sausage
Here’s what you need to know about the Rhode Island Rumford Hunting and Fishing Club’s annual meat feast: it’s not for outsiders. This manbash is for swinging dicks. It’s for straight white men with beards and guns and shirts that read PETA: People for the Equal Treatment of Tasty Animals. It’s for men who wear backward baseball caps with polarized Oakleys resting on the bill, like they’re watching you, and the rest of this country, with the eyes in the backs of their heads.
It’s also not what you think. This particular gun club, which was founded in the 40s, has been doing the game dinner fundraiser for 30 years. Among other outdoorsy items, they raffle off rifles, guitars, and kayaks. But the main attraction is the feast—for 30 bucks, you can sidle up beside a bearded, suspendered man and dig into 150 pounds of venison, or 120 pounds of goose, shot by one of the fellows themselves (plus 100 pounds of store-bought rabbit, for good measure). The profits go to cancer programs, food banks, and scholarship funds, but most definitely not to PETA, and of course not to anybody interested in infringing on the second amendment. They are interested in “lobbying to protect the gun rights of Rhode Island residents,” according totheir website, which features plenty of cheery photos of strung-up deer carcasses and animated geese flying serenely over their lifeless bodies.
My friends seemed a little alarmed when I first scored a ticket to the meat dinner, though it was never clear if that’s because I am a slim, bespectacled man or a transsexual one. But as a masculinity expert I can’t pass up the chance to embed in the dark, hairy, grunting underbelly of the type of man who kills for sport.
Meet 73-year-old Arthur Boyt, notorious resident of the remote town of Bodmin Moor in Cornwall and roadkill connoisseur. Nothing is too far-fetched or fancy to end up on his plate. In this film, we take a trip to Arthur’s house and learn how to cook a badger casserole and how to best prepare polecat meat before cooking.
Here’s a quote from Arthur to whet your appetite:
“I ate a badger once that someone else had picked up because they wanted its skull. It was blown up like a horse on the Western Front and smelled rather horrible. When I cut into it, the flesh was green, but nevertheless, I persevered and stewed it. It made the house smell like the old-fashioned mental hospitals used to, but boy, it tasted delicious!”
Beat Your Meat: New Law Lets Factory Farmers Choke Their Chicks in Private
The hidden camera worn by an employee at a Butterball turkey farm in North Carolina recorded workers stomping and kicking birds, throwing them by their necks into metal cages, and beating them with metal bars. The animals had festering wounds on their bodies and eyes. Some writhed in pain on the ground. For three weeks, the employee, an undercover investigator for Mercy For Animals, documented abuse after abuse in the milking barn, which is where semen is manually collected from the toms; the birds have been bred so large and deformed that they can no longer reproduce naturally. After the investigation, the nonprofit turned over the video footage to prosecutors.
Within days, cops prepared to raid—something unheard of when it comes to factory farms. But Butterball had friends in high places, including the government agency in charge of overseeing its operations. The director of Animal Health Programs called a friend at Butterball hoping to thwart the raid.
The tip-off didn’t work. The raid led to national media exposure, the conviction of a top-level Department of Agriculture official for obstruction of justice, and criminal charges against five employees for animal cruelty. Two of the employees have pleaded guilty, marking the first felony conviction for cruelty to factory-farmed birds. On February 22, two more former Butterball employees were found guilty of animal cruelty.
Industrial agriculture executives and lawmakers have responded swiftly to undercover investigations like this one, but not in the ways you might expect. Rather than improving animal welfare, enhancing criminal penalties, or increasing oversight of the industry, there’s a national campaign to criminalize anyone who brings these abuses to light under the guise of protecting the farmers and their food supply from animal- and environment-loving “terrorists.”
In the hierarchy of meat, chicken dekes in and out of position in this counterintuitive and culturally unresolved way. Like, everyone wants to give you chicken in everything all the time; it is the basis for every dumb meal at a restaurant; it is what you are supposed to know how to make, I guess, but chicken is also the grossest and full of gristly knobs and the skin and what I think of as pinkish diseaseyness. How is it that on the road from queasy vegetarian to blood, chicken is so close to the beginning? I feel like a rare steak is easier to make sense of than a fucking leg of something.
SELF-CARE / SELF-CRUELTY:
I wrote a thing about “self-care” for a magazine and then started doing it all the time. (My version is refusing to listen to my friends talk about their crushes unless they are in a relationship or life context that supports having crushes, and also I now refuse to come within 20 feet of boys who are hunkered down at Fort Asshole even if it’s fun there.) It felt amazing when I was doing self-care “at” people, removing myself, creating boundaries, and thinking of a less corny way to be like “I’m creating boundaries,” and stuff like that.
Unfortunately, a lot of the doing of self-care “at” yourself can bend backward like a summer-time backyard gymnastics performance and turn into the most vicious kind of self-hatred, which, in action, I’m calling “self-cruelty.” An example: My problem with self-care is feeling as though I don’t, in a macro sense, actually deserve it, because my profession and workday is already devoted to thinking about myself and my ideas and my feelings, and the closest I come to having any limitations on my workday freedom is, like, too many text messages, or planning my coffee schedule poorly, or how starfish formation feels better than sitting up, even though in a micro work sense I experience a lot of total fucking bullshit. So being all “Unnnnngh” about work and being like “Now I will ‘self-care’ and think about sunsets” becomes this straight, dirt road lined with mean witches that leads to exponential, counterproductive self-cruelty. Working at home makes you so weird.
Why do guys make plans within two texts and a couple of hours and girls make plans with 30 emails and several weeks and two cancellations? Boys are like this, and girls are like this. Boys are dogs, and girls are cats.
By this point Japan has to be fucking with us right? Sniffing underwear and humping latex robots is one thing but now they’re trying to make meat out of poop. The high level of bacteria in feces means that it’s naturally rich in protein. Japanese researchers have devised a method to extract, colour and flavor this shitty protein to make it resemble beef.
The environmental and waste advantages are pretty high, but the scientists admit there are “psychological barriers that need to be surmounted knowing that your food is made from human feces.”
Puerto Rico’s exploding Iguana population has reached about four million. This has precipitated a rise in lizard attacks on kids and tourist. To cut numbers and make a few clams in the process, the government is planning to export the meat to hungry Asian Americans for $6 a pound. Which is great if you’re looking to make dinner that much more terrifying.
If you think cutting down meat consumption is a pussy move, you’ll love the Red Meat Combifoods Program. They’re working on breaking down meat proteins and shooting them into other foods, turning them into weird new meat delivery systems. So far they’ve managed to meatify foods such as spaghetti, bread, and even fancy ice cream. Within a year they will be able to make pretty much anything out of meat, including fruit and vegetables.
PETA SPONSORED MEAT
The deadline for PETA’s $1M reward for creating and selling synthetic chicken meat is drawing near. According to the PETA website, meat scientists around the world have until June 30, 2012 to produce and take to market some form of in-vitro chicken snack. To win, the product will have to be indistinguishable from chicken in texture and taste to both meat eaters and vegetarians alike. The prize is intended to speed up the introduction of cruelty free meat alternatives that don’t involve lentils and is a totally legit use of scientists’ time given that AIDS and Cancer have both been cured.
With an entire cottage film industry dedicated to making documentaries about the evils of fast-food, corporatization, and factory farming sometimes eating at McDonalds feels like the laziest, stupidest thing a person can do. Still, most of us will pass beneath the golden arches for a snack at some point this year. No judgment, brother! Sometimes — in a rundown, South American airport perhaps — the familiarity of McD’s trumps a healthier, foreign option. We’re not saying it’s the right thing to do. In fact, based on the picture above, it’s probably the most wrong thing to do.