Edible Finger Lakes’ Not So Palatable Cover



As you read this, keep one thing in mind: I’m an ethical vegan. Yes, my diet is vegan (no meat, dairy, eggs, or honey) but being an ethical vegan goes a few steps further. Not only have I replaced all my animal-sourced clothing and personal care products with cruelty-free versions, but I have “made the connection.” I not only recognize where meat comes from but I also have deep, emotional feelings attached to the animals that are purposefully (and needlessly) bred and raised to be raped, tortured, and killed for food.

So, as you read this blog post, please keep this in mind.

I was at the grocery store this week when something caught my eye. In fact, I had this feeling I was being watched. There on the shelf, among other travel and food magazines, was the new issue of Edible Finger Lakes, the regional culinary and travel publication for the area where I live in New York State. Staring at me, with an undeniable sadness in its eyes was a sweet piglet. Captured at a moment in time that now acts as a memorial to its life. This young piglet (former front cover magazine model) is now, surely, dead.

For no good reason. None.

To make matters worse, this piglet stood under the magazine’s masthead: “Edible Finger Lakes.” As if its only food and not a sentient being. As if it’s not an animal with a mother and a family and friends and a spirit attached to a will to live.

And this young piglet, with the unforgettable look in its eyes, stood alongside the words “Good Meat,” presumably a lead-in to an article about how wonderfully these animals are raised, and fed, and treated so that the consumer (animal eaters) are guaranteed the highest quality pork anywhere. And of course, like all good meat, I’m sure this piglet was humanely killed. Humanely killed good meat.

Good meat?

Is that all it is? We won’t know its name? Or where it lived? Or anything else about its short life. Just the fact that it’s existence is considered good meat?


What struck me the most, though, as I was leaving the store was that this innocent and trusting beast was most likely killed by the time I saw the magazine in the rack. Throat slit, skinned, bled, butchered, packaged and sold. Its life never mattered to anyone who crossed its path. Or looked it in the eyes. Or, took its photograph and decided to put it on the cover of a magazine.

When did humankind become so callous and uncaring and cold?

Is this really what we’ve become?

When did an intelligent and social animal, like a pig, become the “mascot” for bacon? Pigs aren’t made of bacon.

Hipsters, in your flannel shirts and thick-glasses and shaggy beards, please find another food to worship. Please. And Edible Finger Lakes, please try to be more compassionate in the future when choosing a front cover image.

Go vegan.


10 thoughts on “Edible Finger Lakes’ Not So Palatable Cover

    • Obviously I agree. Even if they chose a long shot of a pen with a handful of pigs wallowing … somehow that would feel better to me.

      Something about the look in this piglet’s eyes. It’s as if she knows.

      Thanks for commenting.


    • Great post! I agree, this cover and many pieces in the magazine are really disappointing from an ethics perspective. (By the way, you may find Joan Dunayer’s “Animal Equality : Language and Liberation” to be an interesting read. She points out that using language like “it” to refer to animals helps to objectify them, and suggests we use “her or him” as we would for human beings, instead.)


  1. Fred Remus

    As a kid, I would always ask my mom where hamburger came from, or pork chops. Then stare at the meat on my plate and try to imagine how this was once an animal. Then one cool Maryland September morn in 1969, as I was riding my bike to school, stopped to feed some cows fresh grass that was just out of reach from them. I basked in the wet and warm breath this one cow was blowing across my arm, as I was stroking the side of her neck with my other arm, my hand rested over a throbbing vein, and everything in my mind all came together at that moment. That was blood coursing through her vein, this cow was exactly like me, and my family, and my friends, and all my dogs. This creature had a life that was all hers.
    That evening I announced I would never again eat animals.
    My poor mom thought I had finally cracked.
    Even though I am an atheist, whenever someone asks me why I am vegan, my response is always “because when I look into the eyes of an animal, I see god”. My feeling of ‘god’ is that spark of life that is in all living creatures. When I had to put down my beloved dog Maggie 3 years ago, I knew she was gone when I looked into her warm, wonderful brown eyes, and there was nothing there. Just vacancy where once there was life.
    When I drive past a farm and see a herd of cows in a barn, all I can think about is the premeditated murder that is in store for them, and my heart breaks.
    I used to belong to the Finger Lakes hiking club until an article in one of their news-letters had a story about some bird, and the author says “this bird is for looking at, the others are for eating”.
    And I thought, what a mother fucking stupid ass thing to say, and immediately withdrew my membership. I felt like writing to the organization and give them the Alice Walker quote, ‘the animals of the world exist for their own reasons. They were not made for humans any more than black people were made for white, or women for men,’ but I just didn’t want to waste my time on them.


    • Fred,
      Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I personally feel blessed to be able to see the world as we do and feel sorry for (yes, I am giving the “others” sympathy) people who don’t.

      Animal eaters need to seriously re-evaluate who they are as human beings.


  2. Fred Remus

    Thanks Eric, this was a great post. It’s nice to know that there are other’s out there who will look at this magazine cover and experience the same pain and sadness.
    I will sit down this evening and write the editor. Hoping I won’t be the only one.
    And I will hug my dogs a little tighter today, and tell them for the millionth time how much joy they bring to my life.


  3. I’d never heard of Edible Finger Lakes. Won’t forget them now!

    On the video link…Growing up in a hunting family, I have seen — even taken — my share of slain and/or butchered animals. It seems rather senseless given that we (here in my area, anyway) have a year-round abundance of other foods. It also seems rather cruel to “be-friend” a being, get it used to you, only so you can later murder it without any trouble for yourself. If that was a wild pig, and the man NOT had a weapon, I’m sure the sow would have given up a fair fight for her life.

    I believe homo sapiens is the most dangerous animal on the planet, with the mosquito no where near second place.


    • Thanks for your comment. Aside from my dislike of the cover photo (obviously) that video really upset me as well. The way in which the pig swayed back and forth and the farmer kept the barrel of the gun lined up with its head.

      So sad. And unnecessary.


      • I used to hunt, so I would completely expect my prey to run away in fear of his life! But THAT. Befriending, feeding and nurturing, then killing is so utterly…human.


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