Feedback on Eating Turtle

Readers were hissing mad about an article on foraging that recommended eating turtle meat.

| March/April 1972

  • eating turtle - snapping turtle
    Would you eat this happy fellow? Readers didn't like the idea that this magazine would even suggest eating turtle.

  • eating turtle - snapping turtle

As usual, we very much enjoy MOTHER EARTH NEWS with its many interesting and useful articles. However, Paul was reading "Food Without Farming" while eating lunch and it spoiled his meal completely.

First there was Mr. Churchill's description of catching, killing, and cooking pigeons. "We keep the pigeons in a cage until we're ready to do something delectable with them", he says, indicating his jolly sense of humor.

Next he discusses the "terrific" deer hunting in Wisconsin where "an individual can legally harvest four deer a year. Multiply this by the number of licenses in a family ... a total of approximately 100,000 deer are taken every year." Quite the conservationist.

The part about eating turtle hit closest to home since we have a small, harmless and delightful snapping turtle named Otis. Imagine awakening a peacefully hibernating turtle with "the largest fish hook you can find"! When Mr. Churchill says to "give short quick jerks until he's hooked underneath the rim of his shell," it appears to us that one must inevitably impale the turtle with the hook. Snappers are poorly protected underneath and it seems impossible that one could hook them just by the rim of the shell. It would be necessary to hook the flesh.

The horribly ironic thing about that article is that elsewhere in the same issue it includes the insightful quotation from Joseph Wood Krutch ("When a man wantonly destroys one of the works of man we call him a vandal. When he wantonly destroys one of the works of God, we call him a sportsman.") as well as the grisly details of James E. Churchill's plundering and killing.

Johanna and Paul Hutchinson
St. Catharine, Ontario

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