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Dolphin-safe beef

Ever since I read the book Deadly Feasts by Richard Rhodes, I've avoided beef from feedlots. I'll still eat beef if I'm pretty sure it's free-range and has never been fed animal protein. My friends have often heard me refer to the kind I'll eat as “dolphin-safe beef.” Here is the story of why I use that term.

Around 1992 I was a member of the choir at Stone Church (Presbyterian) in Willow Glen on the south side of San Jose: a very nice group of folks, and an excellent choir.

The choir overlapped quite heavily with the church's Singles Group, so I often went to that group's functions as well. Especially if food was involved.

One fine evening the Singles Group held a potluck with a European cuisine theme. We were to bring something Continental. Among the many amazing and tasty dishes was a dish of beef carpaccio—raw beef in a savory sauce.

As I was loading up my plate, Rev. Bob, our beloved pastor, stepped up and eyed the carpaccio. He turned to me and asked, “Is this veal dolphin-safe?”

For those who have never heard this term, it dates back to a time when tuna fishing with nets often injured or killed dolphins. Dolphin sympathizers organized a boycott of regular tuna, urging people to buy albacore, which is caught on long lines and not nets, and does not imperil dolphins; see the Wikipedia article for particulars.

California is the home of political correctness, and certainly a Presbyterian pastor has to be sensitive to the issue. Rev. Bob thought the carpaccio was veal, another problematic food. Hence: dolphin-safe beef.

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John W. Shipman,
Last updated: 2009/08/21 22:41:25