On CBC’s Q today, Jian Ghomeshi started the show with Jackson Lander, who advocates for the hunting and eating of animals commonly considered pests – namely Canadian geese and White tailed deer. The main topic of the short discussion today surrounded the controversial culling of Canadian geese in New York’s Prospect Park and Central Park. Lander agrees that these animals are grossly overpopulated, no thanks to human action in providing high density food sources (large yards and parks) and the elimination of their natural enemies. Aside from the nuisance factor – many a time did I have to dodge their dropppings like landmines on the UWaterloo campus – the overpopulation of these geese is also an ecological threat as well as a threat to the aviation industry. But Lander is against disposing of the geese in landfills – it is a waste of perfectly good meat.
Apparently, Canadian geese taste more like beef than chicken, and it could be quite good. In fact, in the early 20th century, they were feared extinct because they were so widely hunted. We’ve forgotten that these animals can be hunted and eaten! But why should we start now?
Lander is considered a “locavore”, who teaches urban people how to hunt and dress animals. The term Locavore is a play on the terms herbivore, omnivore, and carnivore – locavores prefer to eat food that is locally produced or grown. Lander recently published a book on how to hunt and cook deer. On Q, Lander explained that the students that he took hunting, ended up being fitter, better, happier. Being outdoors and being active helped improve mood and prevent depression. People also became more compassionate – hunters have to confront their prey and acknowledge that its death was indeed a sacrifice. An interesting point that he brought up was that even in the production of tofu, lots of animals are sacrificed – animals routinely get sucked into the combine as soybeans are harvested.
In local news, October 13th is World Food Day. In Ottawa, USC Canada is hosting a forum titled Building a Better Food System at St Paul’s University. The speakers are: Sarah Elton (author of Locavore), Susan Jessup (owner of 42 Fine Foods and Cordon Bleu trained), and Colleen Ross (a local organic farmer).
I’m also going to check out the REEL Food Film Festival, October 20-27. Check out the full list of events here.