New post from Cameron Frost
Recently, the Extraordinary Squirrel Burger Challenge was organized as a specific event for the Forest Showcase Food and Drink Festival. The challenge invited amateur chefs to submit a recipe consisting of minced squirrel served in a bun. The submitted recipes resulted in fifteen finalists being chosen to participate in the actual challenge. The finalists were given three recently and locally caught squirrels with the only requirement be the creation of a quarter pound burger, consisting entirely of squirrel meat. The challenge was held in the Forest of Dean in Coleford, Gloucestershire; in this particular locale, grey squirrels have become quite the concern—more than one hundred thousand grey squirrels have been found responsible for killing off other forms of wildlife and destroying trees. Therefore, the organizers of the event assumed the loss of three squirrels per finalists would not become an issue; they viewed the competition as a service, a way of eliminating the troubling damage-doers.
Unfortunately, according to an article recently completed by Express, many animal rights groups did not see it that way in the slightest. Many campaigners working for animal rights have branded the competition as a smear campaign against grey squirrels. Specifically, the RSPCA asked the question of how exactly the squirrels were caught and terminated; was the treatment humane? In addition, Peta, a notorious animal rights group, declared that it was outraged by the very idea of the contest; the organization declared the competition as a merely the festival organizers being desperate for attention.
Alternatively, Peta declared that vegetarian and vegan needs are increasing, as more consumers see the benefits of avoiding meat altogether. As a result, Peta thought the needs of those attending the festival would’ve been better met had the competition been to produce an appealing vegetarian dish. Along similar lines, Vegetarians’ International Voice for Animals, a Bristol-based charity for animal rights, declared that the squirrels were victimized.
Also, several judges and participating groups organizing the festival spoke up in defense of the choice. Judge Lawrence Jefferies, a catering lecturer at Gloucestershire College, spoke out against these accusations, claiming that the loss of the squirrels was a positive, as it would reduce the damage done to the environment in the Forest of Dean. Organizers for the festival acknowledged that they specifically chose the squirrels as a means of raising awareness for an alternative food source in the area.
from Cameron Frost http://cameronfrost.org/cooking-contest-animal-rights/