“One man’s meat is another man’s poison.“, so the saying goes. However carrying on with the theme from the previous post, perhaps the saying should be “One man’s delicacy is another man’s bizarre food.“
Why is that, I wondered. I think part of it is due to the accepted role of certain animals in our Society. In some parts of the world, they eat dog and horse meat. This isn’t the case in most Western nations though and I think it is because these animals have elevated positions and roles in these societies. Dogs are just another farm animal in the East but in the West, they have been alleviated to pets, companions and for some, even one of the family. No one wants to eat their pet, companion or family member. Likewise in many parts of the world, the horse is just part of the livestock but in other parts they are elevated to racing champions and riding partners.
I am forbidden by wifely decree from eating venison under the pain of sleeping on the couch. It all started with a visit to Banff, Canada when a small herd of deer actually came up to the back of our rented lodge and shared our breakfast. My wife enjoyed hand feeding the deer. Somehow the bond was established and I am now forbidden to eat venison. If I ever suggested ordering venison at a restaurant, she will remind me that she fed those cute, big doe eyed innocent, trusting deer in Banff and that we could never betray that trust by eating venison now.
Hmmmm……and so I have been venison free for over 15 years now. This made this squirrel brain (more than just a food item) think. Perhaps, one way to dissuade people from eating squirrels is to change their perception of squirrels as vermin or forest bounty to that of cute, innocent, trusting friends.
This has been done before by my porcine friends. Remember “Charlotte’s Web”? The book and movie was all about trying to save the piglet from being slaughtered. Now what sicko watches the movie, roots for the pig and then leaves the movie theater and orders a bacon burger? Hmmm, don’t answer that.
Even more successful was the movie “Babe”. There a cute little piglet thinks that he is a sheperd dog. Once again, we root for the cute, emotionally confused pig and once we identified with the pig, it is difficult to eat pork. Not convinced? Well, the Chinese Government was so concerned that it would brainwash its citizens and lead to a collapse of the vast pork industry that it actually banned the movie from China.
I think that the pigs were on to a good idea. So it wasn’t long that the National Union of Tasty Squirrels (NUTS) embarked on a public relations campaign for squirrels by sponsoring a number of movies. Here are some examples which the intended PR message.