Learning PR from Pigs

on Sunday, August 02, 2009

"One man's meat is another man's poison.", so the saying goes. However carrying on with the theme from the previous post, perhaps the saying should be "One man's delicacy is another man's bizarre food."

Why is that, I wondered. I think part of it is due to the accepted role of certain animals in our Society. In some parts of the world, they eat dog and horse meat. This isn't the case in most Western nations though and I think it is because these animals have elevated positions and roles in these societies. Dogs are just another farm animal in the East but in the West, they have been alleviated to pets, companions and for some, even one of the family. No one wants to eat their pet, companion or family member. Likewise in many parts of the world, the horse is just part of the livestock but in other parts they are elevated to racing champions and riding partners.

I am forbidden by wifely decree from eating venison under the pain of sleeping on the couch. It all started with a visit to Banff, Canada when a small herd of deer actually came up to the back of our rented lodge and shared our breakfast. My wife enjoyed hand feeding the deer. Somehow the bond was established and I am now forbidden to eat venison. If I ever suggested ordering venison at a restaurant, she will remind me that she fed those cute, big doe eyed innocent, trusting deer in Banff and that we could never betray that trust by eating venison now.

Hmmmm......and so I have been venison free for over 15 years now. This made this squirrel brain (more than just a food item) think. Perhaps, one way to dissuade people from eating squirrels is to change their perception of squirrels as vermin or forest bounty to that of cute, innocent, trusting friends.

This has been done before by my porcine friends. Remember "Charlotte's Web"? The book and movie was all about trying to save the piglet from being slaughtered. Now what sicko watches the movie, roots for the pig and then leaves the movie theater and orders a bacon burger? Hmmm, don't answer that.

Even more successful was the movie "Babe". There a cute little piglet thinks that he is a sheperd dog. Once again, we root for the cute, emotionally confused pig and once we identified with the pig, it is difficult to eat pork. Not convinced? Well, the Chinese Government was so concerned that it would brainwash its citizens and lead to a collapse of the vast pork industry that it actually banned the movie from China.

I think that the pigs were on to a good idea. So it wasn't long that the National Union of Tasty Squirrels (NUTS) embarked on a public relations campaign for squirrels by sponsoring a number of movies. Here are some examples which the intended PR message.

Scrat from "Ice Age": The lovable persistent and funny underdog.

From "Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian":- The heroic and noble, defender of all that is righteous and just and good.

From "Squirrel with a Pearl Earring":- the romantic, sensitive and artistic squirrel.

What do you think? Do you feel this will work and get people to stop eating squirrels? If it doesn't work, I am afraid that the only other option is to bomb the Appalachians.


the walking man said...

I read Charlotte's Web to my kids then went right out and smoked a whole hog. That story made me hungry. Depending on your perspective though it is either good or bad that I haven't seen any of the referenced movies.

secret agent woman said...

Probably not, I'm afraid. Not that I'd eat a squirrel. Of course, I odn't eat any mammal so you need the PR for me.

daysgoby said...

I think the PR is working, because squirrels just get cuter and cuter - darn their plush-y tails!

Kathryn said...

People eat squirrels?

evalinn said...

Yes, I think you´re on to something!

Sally's World said...

i struggle with alot of meat, my daughter is a vegetarian and my husband will only eat lamb or chicken...none of us will touch duck (donald duck) deer (bambi)rabbit (thumper) well, apart form my youngest son who is a total carnivore and went to school and proudly announced "my mum said I'll eat a pigs arse if you cook it right!"

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Well, after Babe, my wife won't eat roast suckling pig which is a delicacy in this part of the world. I am not so affected. Charlotte's Web didn't do a lot for us as we never ate spiders before that either.

Thank you. Although I understand that squirrel eaters are particularly common in your part of the world. Why it could be your next door neighbour! *shudder*.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

It's working? Really? Who would have thought! Is it working enough for me to send the subliminal message that you will donate all your money to the Feed the Squirrel Foundation?

Welcome to my nightmare! Yes, some people eat squirrels!
Seriously though, welcome to my blog and thanks for leaving a comment. Don't be a stranger in these parts.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

The first step in the long journey towards world conquest by squirrels.

You know, I couldn't think of any cute cartoon mascot for lambs or chicken. Kind of proves my point. As for your son, perhaps it's just a phase......I hope. The world needs more vegetarians.

Owen said...

In Louisville, Kentucky, there was a big Chinese restaurant right next door to a veterinary hospital... you can bet that provoked some interesting conversations... not far from the Appalachians too. :-D

Cheryl said...

Squirrel With a Pearl Earring? Priceless!!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

That place you describe sounds like someplace in the Twilight Zone. :) "picture this, a road warrior brings his rig to a stop at a roadside greasy spoon. He doesn't know that this place lies in the confluence of forces from a veterinarian hospital and the Appalachians and he is about to partake in a meal served up from......the Twilight Zone."

Glad you liked it. we have to show a bit of the cultural squirrel.

geewits said...

Synchronicity! Just tonight on "Great American Road Trip" the woman from Alabama was talking about eating squirrel meat. I could never eat it just like I don't eat deer: because they are too cute. Same thing with bunnies. I watched Babe but wasn't fazed because I grew up near a hog pen and they just aren't cute. And the creatures that taste the best (to me) are the ugliest of all: crab, shrimp and lobster.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

Lobsters, shrimp and crabs are quite ugly aren't they? I don't really notice cause I kind of grew up eating them (well,not lobsters - they were way too costly over here). But it is also among my favorite foods.

Snowbrush said...

Here in western Oregon, we have Douglas Squirrels. I feed them (from a homemade feeder), and make houses for them (my latest is a duplex, but I have no idea if two squirrels will share such a dwelling). I even used to have a network of bridges, but I got tired of them.

I am also married to a squirrel. I call her Fluffy, and she was living in Texas when we met (you've probably heard of her--the yellow squirrel of Texas), although she moved around a lot.

As for discouraging the eating of squirrels, thankfully it's not done so much anymore anyway, although really hard times would no doubt bring it back.

Lorac said...

LGS- I think the weirdest thing I have eaten is roasted beaver tail. Which, incidentally is quite good! I have not eaten squirrel. Can't imagine they are worth the trouble, being so small. I also think they are pretty cute!

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

always good to hear from another squirrel lover. My regards to your lady squirrel wife. It must have been fun doing those bridges

Just curious, how do you cook beaver tail? what seasoning do you use?

Anonymous said...

I think we should do this for all animals -- not that they have to be anthropomorphized.. just that we are made to see them as living, breathing creatures with feelings and spirit just like us, so that we stop eating ALL our fellow creatures.

Lone Grey Squirrel said...

I'd like to say I'm with you on this but I would miss my ......sizzling bacon.

MedStudentWife said...

It worked for me :0

I had never eaten rabbit before and was tempted to try....

During a time, I had 2 pet rabbits and my ex forbade eating rabbit. Many years later, I got over the "taboo" and tried some. I ended up being sick that evening and have never gone back. Perhaps it was the revenge of the "kani"

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