Saturday, November 21, 2009

Run, Betsy

Jonathan Foer's book is hard to read.

Here's a story. It begins a chapter where he discusses the acts involved in transforming a living animal into a processed animal.
"Paradise Locker Meats used to be located somewhat closer to Smithville Lake, in northwestern Missouri. The original plant burned down in 2002 when a fire broke out as a result of a ham smoking gone awry. In the new facility is a painting of the old plant, with the image of a cow running from the back. This is a depiction of an actual event.

Four years before the fire, in the summer of '98, a cow escaped the slaughterhouse. She ran for miles -- which, if the story had ended there would have been remarkable enough to justify its telling. But this was some cow. She managed to cross roads, trample or otherwise disregard fences, and elude the farmers who were searching for her.

And when she came to Smithville's shore, she didn't test the water, think twice, or look back. She attempted to swim to safety -- the second leg of her triathlon -- wherever that might be. At the very least, she seemed to know what she was swimming from. Mario Fantasma -- the owner of Paradise Locker Meats -- received a phone call from a friend who saw the cow take the dive. The getaway finally ended when Mario caught up with her on the other side of the lake. Boom, boom, curtain. Whether this is a comedy or a tragedy depends on who you think the hero is."
1 From Jonathan Safran Foer's book, Eating Animals. Page 151.
Photo of Smithville Lake in Missouri from US Army Corps of Engineers Lake Photo Album


Thornbe said...

I was rooting for that cow.

Anonymous said...

Paradise Meat locker....paradise for who exactly?

The cow ran like it seen the grim reaper. How ironic the owner's named "Fantasma".

fantasma [n]: (apparition, phantom, specter, spectre, phantasm, phantasma) a ghostly appearing figure. )

Bix said...

The grim reaper. Well, that nailed it, didn't it.

Fantasma, the name...
Foer writes:

"If Fantasma sounds like a made-up name, that's because it is. Mario's father was left on a doorstep in Calabria, Italy. The family took the baby in and gave him the last name "Phantom."

Anonymous said...

I haven't met anyone in Italy, Spain or Portugal named Fantasma... when the family gave him that name he seemed pretty much predestined to work in a mortuary, slaughterhouse or some other grim place.

As for the story I have to admit that I was a regular consumer of red meat, mostly spanish cows that I believe were free range since the meat was quite expensive but haven't really consumed any in the past 2 years and now somehow the taste seems to not agree with me. It seems that salmon, cod and tuna even if I don't consume it for months on end I never get nauseous or feel stomach heavy but with red meat it tends to happen.

Leo said...

They could have let the cow live after all that!! Donated it to a petting zoo or something, that sucks. ;) peace