The Locavore Controversy


Just down the road from where I live is a small shop called Locavore which sells ethically sourced (organic, fairtrade, local) food products as well as offering classes in cooking and gardening and employment opportunities for local people. It’s a shop I like to drop into for a variety of groceries and it’s the kind of local enterprise which I think it’s important to support in terms of their ethical approach to sourcing their food and pretty much their whole ethos.

In the past year or so, the shop has grown to the point where they’ve established a full scale market garden and croft at sites to the south of Glasgow and have started rearing pigs and goats, with the pigs always earmarked for eventual slaughter for meat.

Predictably, this has caused a little controversy as many urban folks don’t like being reminded of the fact that the meat most of us tuck into every day used to be walking around as a living, breathing and often cute animal. Of course, part of the idea was to initiate just such a community conversation and promote education and awareness that bacon and bangers don’t just pop into existence at the will of shops.

Less laudable is the way the affront at this ethical endeavor has been taken up by what I can only term as extremist vegan/animal rights types, with international web petitions and threats of physical harm aimed at the shop and it’s owners because they planned to slaughter the pigs (in fact the pigs were taken away for slaughter at the start of the weekend.)

Here’s what Locavore’s owner Reuben had to say about the whole thing.

Now, I’m an unapologetic meat eater myself but I have only respect and consideration for those out there who choose to be vegetarian or vegan and I understand and empathise with the practical and philosophical arguments they make for feeling the way they do.

However, to choose to attack a small community enterprise, promoting the ethical raising of animals and education as to the origins of food in an urban setting when there are far greater evils out there (off the top of my head supermarkets and industrial farms are a clear and present offender when animal welfare is an issue) to combat.

To create such a furore around Locavore is essentially a coward’s option, with the threats against the shop indicative of a fundamentalist way of thinking which abjures the possibility of alternative philosophies and approves the use of threats, both physical and against a business/someone’s livelihood in order to impose your philosophy.

This is not acceptable or forgivable, especially when aimed at such a soft target as a small local shop with a handful of staff, rather than taking the fight to the real evils which massacre thousands of animals who have been raised in cramped, terrifying conditions every day.

Such is the act of a self righteous bully, too scared or lazy to campaign against the big offender, but all too happy to get on their moral high horse when there is a chance that you might make someone small suffer. Poor show.

As well as being a laughable and petulant display, it sets the argument of the fundamentalists back, effectively setting everyone who eats or rears meat up as an enemy. You’ll never gain support operating on that basis.

I’ll always promote education on where food comes from and respectful discussion on the concept of rearing animals for food as well as being sensitive to my vegetarian/vegan friend’s and relatives sensibilities while endeavouring to source my own meat from as ethical a provider as possible.

I’ll also keep shopping at Locavore, because it’s a great wee shop, doing great work in my community. Don’t let the bullies win.



3 responses to “The Locavore Controversy

  1. Interesting post. I live round the corner from Locavore and have been following the controversy. I think you may be giving the protestors a little too much credit here. I don’t think the majority of them are, in fact, fundamentalist vegans, but rather just parents and dog walkers who are reacting against being confronted with the reality of food. I suppose in this sense the debate this has provoked is even more important. What we are witnessing is not primarily an uncompromising set of food ethics, but rather the problematic ‘nimby’ attitudes to the food chain that are caused by and perpetuate our broken system. When questioned about why they are not focussing on terrifying mass meat production, the protestors have consistently referred to the Locavore pigs as a ‘local’ issue, and thus within their purview – as if the pre-packed meat stocking the many stores all around them (and which I suspect a significant number of them buy and consume) is irrelevant because its production is invisible.


  2. I like these pigs. They are fearless and friendly, and even sleep piled against the park railing right beside the pavement. My infant grandson likes them too. But that’s no reason why they shouldn’t be slaughtered, as long as it’s done humanely. Go and campaign against those supermarkets which buy meat that has been obtained from pigs raised on factory farms, which have not had such a pleasant life as the locavore pigs.


  3. Pingback: Locavores Currently – Environment & Society Fall 2016·

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