The Animal Welfare Institute, an organization whose self-proclaimed mission is to "eliminate cruelty," took the good word to the Slow Food Nation gathering in San Francisco.
Market Outreach Coordinator Emily Lancaster ... demonstrated the close quarters endured by the majority of laying hens in the US.
They talked more about preventing the cruel treatment of animals, declarations were made, petitions were signed and then it was time for a well-earned dinner.
The highlight of the day was a fundraising Slow Dinner held at Woodward's Garden on Mission Street. Restauranteurs Margie Conrad and Dana Tommasino delivered an absolutely perfect evening ... Dana's menu featured Jude Becker's Animal Welfare Approved proscuitto and pork from the Animal Welfare Approved pig farmers at the Niman Ranch.
As we chewed the mouth-watering proscuitto, so lovingly and conscientiously slaughtered by our Animal Welfare Approved pig farmers at Niman Ranch, then prepared by our wonderful, world class chef, Jude, we couldn't help but reflect on how Animal Welfare Approved labeling has improved the lives of so many animals. I took another bite of that dreamy proscuitto. As its heavenly taste melted into my mouth, I was positive I could taste the gratitude of that former pig, so happy to be born and raised in an Animal Welfare Approved farm. You're so very welcome, I replied to that former pig through bites of his delicious tender flesh, so lovingly prepared by Animal Welfare approved chef Jude.
The wine, so generously donated by Beringer, was delightful.
It so beautifully complemented the proscuitto, sliced from the flank of a pig who, if he were still alive, which he surely would be if he weren't so lovingly and considerately slaughtered in his prime of life by Animal Approved pig farmer Will Harris, would attribute the tenderness of his flesh to the loving care bestowed upon him by the Animal Approved pig farmers at Niman Ranch. This wise and grateful pig understood, as did all the compassionate souls consuming him at the candlelight dinner, that if this proscuitto we were eating came from a pig on a factory farm, it would never have blended so remarkably with our truly delectable wine.
The feeling of warmth and camaraderie filled the air as we all had a second helping of proscuitto and contemplated the wonderful things we were doing to prevent animal cruelty. One of the Animal Welfare Approved pig farmers from Niman Ranch proposed a toast. "To all the money us family farmers are making by having the label Animal Welfare Approved on our pork." Silly man. He had one delectable glass of wine too many. What he meant to toast was the compassion of all those kind souls out there who insist on only eating meat slaughtered by Animal Welfare Approved farmers.
As I put the finishing touches on my truly amazing dinner, I reflected on how it was with a straight face, bereft of sarcasm, self-ridicule or irony, I could utter the phrase, "animal welfare approved proscuitto." Oops. No I didn't. That silly pig farmer from Niman Ranch who had one glass of delectable wine too many got me all muddled.
Thanks to everyone who made this such a spectacular event.
Thanks especially to the pigs, without whose flesh this truly memorable dinner never could have happened.