PEAS Farm Director Josh Slotnick recently ran afoul of the law, if you haven’t heard. The horticulturalist/educator got in trouble last week for capping three pigs with a pistol at the Duncan Drive farm.

Essentially, two (fully grown) young oinkers and their mother were shot to make food. Killing livestock is not illegal, but Slotnick admittedly—though, unknowingly—violated municipal code by discharging a firearm within the city limits. One neighbor, Brea Ender, reacted with repulsion to this close-proximity use of a gun and filed a complaint with Missoula police. She’s since stressed that she’s a supporter of the farm and only objected to the weapon. Animal rights activist Anja Heister, however, took things further, sending an open letter to the PEAS Farm decrying the incident as an act of animal cruelty.

As of press time, Slotnick’s penalty for illegal discharge remains undetermined, but here’s the Indy’s ruling:

First, we suggest community service, by which Slotnick must run the PEAS Farm as a CSA (or community supported agriculture) facility, so low-income families who might normally go without fresh produce at times of recession can have access to the farm’s bountiful yield.

We also think he should help launch some kind of program providing at-risk youth something positive to do—maybe a summer gardening project.

Next, we recommend that the punishment stipulate he use his extensive knowledge of horticulture to educate locals about backyard food production.

Finally, we believe Slotnick should donate tens of thousands of pounds of PEAS’ greens annually to the Missoula Food Bank.

That may read like a harsh sentence, but here’s the thing: That’s pretty much what Slotnick does anyway, season after season, for the Missoula community. Actually, considering time already served, he should be good for another 100 pigs or so.

We appreciate what animal right activists have done to aid the cause of protecting critters on other important fronts, but this is a whole other story. This is also Montana, where even the most adamant vegans can’t hope to unravel the thick cultural lacings of hunting and animal husbandry that define our state. One even wonders why they might want to when market realities spell one universal truth: Pushing animal slaughter out of sight only supports the factory-oriented methods of food production that perpetuate true cruelty. We instead suggest that those up in arms over this swap their B-vitamin supplements for a chill pill.

Or, as Coolio says, “If you got beef, eat a pork chop.”
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