2015-04-02 / Around Town

Noted Carnivore Martins to Air Beefs at Lecture

By James Merolla

Chew on these statements for a minute: We have to eat some rare animals in order to save them; meat must become more expensive; it is possible to eat good meat and be good to the world simultaneously; supermarkets and fast food restaurants have no regard for the art of gastronomy; and bad genetics cause untold animal pain.

These are some of the messages of Patrick Martins, who skewered the beef industry in “The Carnivore’s Manifesto,” his book published last year. His company, Heritage Foods USA, ships more than 60,000 pounds of meat to restaurants and homes around the country.

He is also a founder of Slow Food USA and Heritage Radio Network, which has more than one million listeners each month. On Thursday, April 9, at 7 p.m., Martins will present a free lecture as a guest of the SVF Foundation, the rare breed genetics organization located on a magnificent property once owned by Arthur Curtiss James.

Martins is something to see. His book of 50 concise essays describes the peril we face by consuming fast food and antibiotic-filled meat. His “Manifesto” has been called a distinctive battle cry for the sustainable food revolution.

We have evolved as meat eaters, proclaims Martins. But in the face of a fast-food takeover and the destructive forces of factory farming, he maintains that we need to make smart, informed choices about the food we eat and where it comes from.

“The talk will try to convert vegetarians who are disciples of Peter Singer. And the Burger King guy. It is possible to eat good meat and be good to the world,” said Martins. “Every local butcher who cares about his product is part of our movement. Factory farms are the enemy to everyone who cares about living creatures.” His beliefs are industry-rattling: that meat should be more expensive; that genetics matter in livestock; and that factory farm boards are made up of people who profit off cruelty.

If his company can sustain profits and produce quality food, why can’t supermarkets or fast food places do it?

“Their scale is too big. They are greedy and have no respect for the science and art of gastronomy,” explained Martins. The focal point of his talk to consumers: “Find a purveyor you trust and put it in his or her hands. The single worst thing we can consume is factory farm meat laden with antibiotics from bad genetics that make the animals suffer.”

Martins' advice on eating and living well resonates with SVF.

“Since both SVF and Patrick are dedicated to conserving and promoting heritage breed livestock, we have been in contact for quite a few years,” said Sarah Bowley, program director for SVF. “Patrick’s organizations serve to create and sustain a purpose for these heritage breeds, which represent critical genetic diversity within agriculture.” SVF breeds species of cattle, goats and sheep that have virtually disappeared over the past century, due to farms breeding and cross-breeding only certain kinds of cows for greater milk or meat production.

“SVF has always promoted Patrick’s motto: ‘to save them we must eat them.’ These breeds must have a real purpose and economic viability to survive,” added Bowley. “The more consumers purchase heritage breed products, the more farmers can afford to continue breeding and increasing ‘on the hoof’ populations.”

Beyond the lecture series that explores topics such as local farms' systems and conservation, SVF reaches out through its website, Facebook, a newsletter, and by working directly with breeders of heritage and endangered livestock across the country.

The annual SVF Visitors Day – the single day of the year when the public can tour the grounds and see the work of the foundation firsthand – will be held on June 13.

TO GO

WHEN: April 9, 7 p.m.
WHERE: Swiss Valley Foundation, 152 Harrison Ave.
RESERVATIONS: kate@svffoundation.org
MORE INFO: 401-848-7229, x10

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