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Food for Thought: More meat, Myrtle the Turtle, Eight Belles, and Victimless Leather

Victimless Leather, part of the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibit at MoMA.

Victimless Leather, part of the Design and the Elastic Mind exhibit at MoMA.

Some things that raise interesting questions have been collecting in my browser tabs bar. I thought I’d share them with you.

  • There’s a thorough post over at U.S. Food Policy about the scope of meat in rising food costs. It takes into account the rising cost of animal feed (and competition from the biofuels industry) and also the dramatic increases in meat consumption, especially in developing nations.
  • A turtle named Myrtle, who was well known in the backyards of her block in Williamsburg was painted pink, presumably by some construction workers. It became quite a local “human interest” story. It seems like Myrtle will be OK, which is great, but I’m sure that most of those sympathizing with her story would have no moral qualms eating turtle soup.
  • I’ve been noticing a similar disconnect in regards to Eight Belles, the racehorse who was driven to her death last week at the Kentucky Derby. The mainstream seems sort of upset about the abuse and effective murder of Eight Belles, but not really enough to realize that horse racing can be just as evil as their favorite bugaboo, dog fighting.
  • And finally, Paola Antonelli, a curator at the Museum of Modern Art has “killed” a piece by artists Oron Catts and Ionat Zurr called Victimless Leather. The tiny jacket-shaped object/creature was made of mouse stem cells and was kept alive via a nutrient tube. It (I actually feel OK using an inanimate pronoun here) grew faster than expected and clogged its own life-support system. Says Antonelli:
    [It] started growing, growing, growing until it became too big. And [the artists] were back in Australia, so I had to make the decision to kill it. And you know what? I felt I could not make that decision. I’ve always been pro-choice and all of a sudden I’m here not sleeping at night about killing a coat…That thing was never alive before it was grown.

    I wonder how Antonelli thinks other “things” become alive?

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