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Should I Try Buffalo or Feel Guilty?

I was at Whole Foods in the meat section the other day and the butcher was really talking up buffalo meat and I remember an interview with Donny Deutsch and Ted Nugent where Ted the wild redneck said it had health benefits. 

Aren’t Buffalo almost extinct?  I would almost feel more guilty eating buffalo than I ever would a cow because there doesn't seem like there are as many of them. 

The meat is supposed to taste the same and give greater health benefits than red meat.
Few things I read:

The American Buffalo is the largest terrestrial animal, or land mammal, in North America since the end of the Ice Age.

1. Buffalo is a misnomer. These magnificent animals are North American Bison.

2. Bison are no longer an endangered species. There are now over 450,000 bison in North America. (Doesn’t sound like many to me)

-Durran, NE

Buffalo hasn't been endangered for quite some time. It was already de-listed when I was a kid, and I remember seeing the big animals grazing on the ranch near my home when I would ride the bus to school. I've been a fan of the lean, naturally-prepared meat for years and have used it in burgers, chili’s and (of course) steaks. It cooks up and tastes like a very high-quality beef but is more expensive than the regular stuff. I buy it here at Whole Foods whenever I can make it over there.

I live in a mostly Armenian neighborhood in Hollywood. I have really nice neighbors on both sides and we are very friendly with each other. A few months ago, I bought two beautiful buffalo steaks at Whole Foods to prepare for my girl.  She had never tried it before. The cuts were gorgeous and not inexpensive. Then, as has happened so many times before and since, her ex-husband reneged on his commitment to take his son for the evening, so she was stuck in Simi and I had a blazing grill and two ready-to-go buffalo steaks. I went out to put one of them on for my own solitary dinner and found a big birthday party in full swing at my neighbor's next door. They, too, were grilling and celebrating in their traditional fashion: straight shots of ice-cold vodka. They are very generous people and insisted on sharing what they had, so I decided I would not let my other steak go to waste. They were thrilled to try it, as they had heard much about buffalo but never sampled any. They cut it up and shared it with the whole extended family; it was a big hit.

I like buffalo because it's not as processed, at least for the moment, as mass-produced beef. They also don't keep them in with cattle, so their lives are better. Since they are no longer endangered and haven't been for a long time, I feel good about my choice. It's like eating ostrich or some other animal that is raised on independent farms in good conditions for a small percentage of the population. It also doesn't hurt that it's delicious. Moderator

I've read about eating buffalo meat and this research re the health benefits compared to cows meat is true but only because it's not yet a big business.  If buffalo meat becomes popular, you'll have buffalo raised with antibiotics and growth hormones and under horrible conditions and with cruel slaughtering practices, just like is done with cows. 

I'm still vegetarian, it's been over a year now, and I haven't suffered any ill effects on my health that I know of.  I take a little iron now and then and some extra minerals and B vitamins just to be on the safe side.  But I can't claim any moral superiority on the issue, even if I were so inclined, because I'm still wearing leather shoes and don't plan to stop. 

I read an article somewhere, I think it may have been in Harper's, that said people of conscience should CONTINUE eating meat but insist that the animals be raised and slaughtered humanely (talk about an oxymoron) and refuse to buy the stuff that's not.  The article said that in that manner, the cruel practices used in raising animals for meat would stop but that just becoming vegetarian would not have the same effect because not everyone will be vegetarian.

It was food for thought, but I don't think I want to go back to eating meat of any kind.  I'm not sure why, but I feel better not doing it.

Katie, GA

The Andy Rooney segment on 60 minutes touched on exactly the issue of meat, which we've been bouncing back and forth all day.   

We tried buffalo meat in Atlanta once and found it kind of tough and not as tasty as beef. It was at a Ritz-Carlton (you'd be amazed the hotels that will accept government rate when they have empty rooms) so the sampling he had was probably as good as it gets. Some years ago, we both tried ostrich meat and I can't say it was anything to write home about. And, just to expose myself sound like a totally cruel person, I also had rabbit at a French restaurant once...they used French on the menu; calling it lapin, which I guess beats calling it bunny. It also was no big deal. But all three were a lot more expensive than ordinary meat like beef or chicken. Actually, I've always been willing to eat exotic foods but I would definitely draw the line at cat, dog or horse.  What did the pigs, cows and chickens do not to receive the same mercy?

I have got to find an alternative to leather shoes. And leather sofas...God, how will I deal with the cats and fabric sofas? The leather one has been a lifesaver. I know, all leather goods are made from old, happy cows that died a natural death.

Not eating meat is almost a full time job...or very expensive.  I'm getting by with the Amy's Organics frozen dinners, which are pretty expensive, compared to other frozen dinners.  When I stop working, I plan to make up a bunch of brown rice and beans and freeze them in serving size portions myself, use as a staple to add other flavorings and vegetables, make soups etc.  But that's pretty time consuming. Eating meat is the easiest way to get protein.  If you don't like fish, I don't know what you do; it makes it a lot harder to get enough protein unless you want to spend all your time cooking.  So everybody has to do what's right for them.  But, yeah, you'd probably be better off without all the crap they feed/inject into commercially grown chicken and meat. 

-Caroline, MN






2006 Moderate Politics