A supermarket chain in the United Kingdom is drawing fire for selling reindeer steaks during the holiday season. In fact, reindeer advocates are so up in arms over the offense that they're accusing the retailer of "destroying the magic of Christmas."
Frankly, I find myself agreeing with them ...
It's not just the fact that eating Dasher or Prancer for Christmas dinner seems more fetid than festive.
It's that according to the campaign group Viva!, killing reindeer for food is cruel and inhumane. That's because the process -- which often involves herding them with snowmobiles, motorbikes, helicopters, and lassoing them -- causes the deer huge levels of distress. I'm getting emotional just typing about it ...
Lidl, the grocery store chain behind the controversial sale, defended its decision by saying that the meat came from reindeer who "live[d] in their natural habitat and [had] plenty of space to move around." Moreover, they were fed on local aromatic herbs and grass.
There's no mention about the butchering process, however. Hmmmm ... very suspicious!
I might need more convincing on this one, but the reality is: Reindeer isn't so different than vension (in fact, some people consider the two meats to be interchangeable), and that type of meat frequently shows up in butcher shops, restaurants, etc. What is it that makes us cringe about chowing down on Rudolph but turn a blind eye to consuming other wild animals that may too be exploited for food?
Perhaps it's simply a reminder that paying attention to how the animals we eat were treated and killed is an important part of eating responsibility. After all, we wouldn't want to have to turn down reindeer stew altogether -- it sounds positively scrumptious!
Would you eat reindeer?
Image via lilhelen/Flickr