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2008.02.26

Comments

a

Thanks for this great and thoughtful post. I've also eaten meat my whole life but feel there are some truths many meat eaters need to confront. Many girls I went to middle school with became long term vegetarians the week we had to disect a rat in biology class. It seemed like the first and only time many people had ever given their meat consumption a though.

The issues you bring up go further than just the meat we eat. We could easily segue into a discussion about the clothes we wear. That's messy as well.

luckyfatluke

I really enjoyed this article. Its good that people acknowledge that meat was once a living, breathing animal. Perhaps now there might be a shift in awareness and appreciating what we eat more. Once, meat was expensive and something you ate once a week if you were lucky. Part of the reason for this was that the animal was reared properly, had room to move around, and were fed a quality diet. In the case of beef it needs to be hung well, which is also expensive because the meat dries out weighing less, and also takes up storage room. Back then without hormones it took time for the animals to grow to a weight that they could be sold. It all adds up to an expensive process. Good animal husbandry is. Butchering too was a noble art, making sure the animal was not distressed and dies painlessly. Then everything was used from nose to tail. I guess what I'm saying is, its about respect. People are distressed when they see the conditions battery chickens are bred in, yet theyre responsible as consumers for only being prepared to pay £3.50 ($6.80)for a chicken in the supermarket. Buy your meat from someone who loves what they do and takes care in rearing and butchering a quality animal. Finally, feel humbled that animal has died for your enjoyment.

Laura

Good on you for being so insightful and frank with yourself. I personally don't have too much problem thinking that my protein was once a sentient being- I attribute it to the cycle of life and turn my thoughts to pleasanter things- but I do feel comforted knowing that it led a decent-quality life. Death is inevitable, but a tortuous life is not!

That said, I wouldn't eat dog or cat either, no matter how comfortably it was raised.

Cakespy

I have to say I am with you. I eat meat, but (for better or worse) I am with you--I have my limits. I don't need to "know" it first.

Annie

I hear you. My mom once brought a chicken home and I went out to the yard to *play* with it for many days (more like talking and looking at it). Next thing I know, the chicken was killed (not in my presence) and we had it for dinner. When I found out, I could not eat it (and I'm dubbed the chicken queen in my household because I love chicken--eating it, that is). I've just finished Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and she talks about eating the meat you raise and it has helped me better understand how we can eat meat we've raised as a living thing. If you can find that book, it's a very good read.

cupcake

Hey, what about live seafood? Many people think I am a whim for refusing to order live fish and other seafood to be killed and cooked.

Cupcake

Kevin

Well put. I'm a hunter, and most of the meat I eat is from animals I've killed. But I feel even that's going far, nevermind to expect it of anyone else. I certainly could not have the animals I eat as pets, or otherwise be emotionally attached, and claim that it enhances my moral standard or enjoyment of the meat afterwards.

Li

I love meat, I always have. But I also love animals and do sometimes admit to a pang of guilt when I think about the living breathing animals.

I don't think I'd ever want to 'know' the animal before I eat it but having said that, I'd like to know that they had a good life and were killed in a painless and humane manner.

And no way could I ever eat dogs, cats, monkeys, horses, rodents or insects (the latter 2 being that I just can't stomach the thought).

Hazza

Very thoughtful article. I always try to look at it from different angles. Humans are naturally emotional beings, especially in modern times when we can get attached to anything, from an electronic item to a pet goldfish. From this respect, I can understand why we find it hard to stomach the thought of eating an animal, especially one that we have got to know and maybe had some affection for. However, removing emotions from the equation, how different is eating a pig compared to eating a horse or a dog? Personally, I would not consciously eat any meat apart from the "usual" ones. However, if someone told me that the dish I just had was cat meat, I would not puke or feel sick about it. Like many, I prefer to be ignorant about how the meat got to my dish and enjoy the meal. The abbatoirs and butchers have been paid to ensure that the diner is detached from the whole slaughtering process, so I guess they are doing their job well when I can enjoy my Sunday roast.

cyn

it might not be a bad idea to get to 'know' our meat since it teaches us to respect life in all forms and not to waste food. i've been to restos where meat is practically served in the kilos and platefuls of leftovers are continually thrown out without a second thought.

this article has been so humbling..it is certainly a good reminder that we've seem to have lost our regard and sense of responsibility for the lives of the more defenceless creatures. it'll definitely make me think twice before wasting again!

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