I’m not making this up.
Back in 2013, a Canadian Member of Parliament introduced a bill that would curtail the importation of shark fins, considered a culinary delicacy among certain segments of Chinese society.
His name: Fin Donnelly.
What? I’m the only one who sees the irony here?
Fin moves to ban fins . . . C’mon!
All right, cheap puns aside, let’s acknowledge that the practice of shark finning is barbaric. According to the best estimates, some 100 million sharks are killed every year, mostly for their fins, which for no apparent reason, are considered a symbol of wealth in Asia. It’s one practice where the activists have it right: It needs to be banned.
(MP Donnelly, by the way, is an interesting guy. To backstop his concern for environmental issues, he completed a marathon swim of the entire 900-mile Fraser River in British Columbia — twice. I’m thinking that our current crop of presidential candidates would have trouble completing a swim of someone’s backyard pool).
But the Donnelly anecdote is but a prelude, a mere appetizer to a lengthy sob story published in the Toronto Star, one that reeks of the maudlin sentiments that make veggie activists cry in their carrot juice.
It’s about (“a-bewt” — this is Canada) a goat named Lily.
To most people, goats are friendly animals that can be quite entertaining. They’re able to eat pretty much anything in the plant world, being equally comfortable stripping the bark off saplings, crunching up entire lengths of blackberry vines or helpfully clipping a suburban homeowner’s prized Japanese maple down to the roots, as a Nubian-cross doe I once owned proceeded to do after hopping the five-foot fence surrounding her pasture.
But to the animal rights crowd, a goat is as much of a person as any of their comrades in arms, and thanks to a sympathetic columnist, Lily’s story became an epic saga that could have been penned by Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy.
Here’s the lead:
“Lily the goat escaped slaughter last week.”
And it goes downhill from there.
According to the article, a woman named Anita Krajnc (a character straight out of “War and Peace!”), who’s described as a caring/compassionate/activist/vegan/protestor, was (allegedly) facing criminal mischief charges for — and I quote — “giving water to a thirsty pig.”
Now, as a journalist, my first question upon hearing that statement would have been: So what else happened? It’s just not plausible to haul somebody into court if, in fact, all they did was provide an animal with some water.
But the Star didn’t bother asking any questions, letting that backstory just float on by like a stick in a river.
“So after [her] hearing and a bang-up vegan lunch,” the story continued, “Krajnc and three fellow animal rights activists decided to protest at a local slaughterhouse which, surprisingly, they were allowed to enter.”
Wow, great lunch, guys . . . hey, look: A meat plant. Let’s go protest!
Since none of the foursome apparently had jobs, why not use the rest of the afternoon burning off some of those luncheon calories with a spontaneous protest? It’s the equivalent of someone who doesn’t approve of drinking saying, Hey look: A tavern. Let’s go demonstrate!
Inside the plant, according to one of the activists, they saw “the usual slaughterhouse horrors — terrified livestock being prodded into the killing room, bloody carcasses swinging from hooks.”
Other than the fact that yes, there’s blood involved in butchering any kind of meat, none of that is “the usual.”
But it gets worse.
“They also saw a shivering nanny goat waiting to be killed,” the story continued, “and they asked that she be spared. To their delight, the manager agreed. He handed over the goat. He even named her Lily.”
The columnist noted that, “Krajnc told me in an email later that the manager ‘Listened to our appeal to the higher laws of mercy and compassion.’ ”
Reality? The manager sold the goat for $270.
I guess those bang-up vegan lunches must be pretty reasonably priced if the group had nearly $300 bucks in cash available to buy the goat on the spot.
Maybe it was all about all those higher laws, but I have to believe the plant manager was thinking, “H-m-m-m . . . I can get rid of four irritating activists, and collect $270 bucks? Sold!”
So Lily is now living on a farm near Brampton, Ontario, probably awaiting her chance to wolf down an entire Japanese maple.
“In a struggle where there are few victories,” the story concluded, “it was a definite step forward.”
Or, as Tolstoy might have put it, ya win some, ya lose some.
Dan Murphy is food-industry journalist and commentator