Letter writer: A modest proposal of another sort

Graphic by Lori Deaton

Five, wonderfully written letters in a recent issue of your paper! I was impressed with the last letter [“Eating Meat is Bad for Animals, You and our Planet,” July 29, Xpress] in which Ann Green remarked that we would be horrified to hear of people killing/eating dogs and cats, something done in other parts of the world.

Let me take that thought one step further. Jonathan Swift, perhaps the greatest satirist in the English language, wrote an essay entitled “A Modest Proposal.” Here are some excerpts from this writing, with comments attached as interpreted by some contemporary writers:

“Children of the poor could be sold into a meat market at the age of one, he argues, thus combating overpopulation and unemployment, sparing families the expense of child-bearing while providing them with a little extra income, improving the culinary experience of the wealthy, and contributing to the overall economic well-being of the nation. Swift suggests some recipes for preparing this delicious new meat, and he feels sure that innovative cooks will be quick to generate more. He also anticipates that the practice of selling and eating children will have positive effects on family morality: husbands will treat their wives with more respect, and parents will value their children in ways hitherto unknown. His conclusion is that the implementation of this project will do more to solve Ireland’s complex social, political, and economic problems than any other measure that has been proposed.”

While that is a bit extreme, what if we were to send unwanted pets to the proposed Buncombe County meat-processing plant? They could kill, butcher, then cook the dog/cat parts, eventually packaging these and selling the resulting meat products back to the many pet stores in the area. This, of course, would not only be the epitome of recycling, but would be “dog food” or “cat food” in its most literal form!

I’ll close with a favorite quote: “The greatest power a person possesses is the power to choose.”

— Steve Longenecker

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