January is the time of the Wolf Moon. I thought I'd reference again (for foodies with thought), the excellent chapter about wolves and their relevance to the meat industry in Jessica Prentice's Full Moon Feast.
She recounts the history of wolves who were an endangered species by the mid-1970s. They had once been the most populous large mammals in North America. Wolves are a high profile casualty of cattle and sheep farming, in addition to agricultural and urban development. They are at the heart of controversy over boundaries between what man needs to survive and what balances nature gives us so that over the long term, we may all survive.
Here is an interesting perspective from a hunter about the presence of wolves. In Idaho and Montana, wolf hunts are resuming. In Alaska, wolf (and bear) aerial hunts have been happening since 2008. This is a reminder to pay attention to this issue and take action on behalf of these noble creatures- just tips of the iceberg about ideology and how we all choose to live- and live together in harmony or not, with each other and nature, or not.
What can you do?
- Lifestyle choices: Change your meat buying practices and patronize local, family farms. Here is an interesting article about Nicollette Hahn Niman (wife of the founder of Niman Ranch), including her recent book The Righteous Pork Chop.
- Give your support to Defenders of Wildlife, a lead charity in enacting federal efforts to stop the ongoing wolf hunts.
- Urge your elected officials to support the Protect America's Wildlife Act.
- Look for the devil in the details- Hahn Niman makes the case that a conscientious meat eater's food choices may have less impact on the environment than a vegetarian's- definitely something worth considering if you think about how big agriculture produces soy and gosh knows what else in terms of substitute foods or imitation meat. What's not obvious is whether the network of Niman farms are on the front lines where the battle between ranchers, hunters and wolves (wandering out of nationall parks) is taking place.