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Wednesday, May 30, 2007
S I M P L Y Z E N
Posted by Compassionate Consumption at 6:53 AM
Saturday, May 19, 2007
CATHERINE GRANT - AUTHOR OF THE NO-NONSENSE GUIDE TO ANIMAL RIGHTS AT THE SKY DRAGON
8:00 PM Ms Grant,writer, historian and activist based in
Posted by Compassionate Consumption at 7:48 AM
Friday, May 18, 2007
Talking with a colleague at work this past week, the question was raised why do we eat cows (the greater context of the conversation being about how attached we are to our pets i.e. how do we decide to love one animal and eat another). This made me think about my own many years of buying, preparing and eating meat for myself and my family.
My earliest experience with meat would have been before my earliest memories. I remember my mother and father telling me that the family doctor had recommended pureed meat for me before I was a year old. This I believe, in an effort to build up my hemoglobin or some such, although I can't be sure (and Mom and Dad are both gone now).
When my own children where babies, and I started to introduce them to our food, I had this little hand cranked grinder. My husband and I thought this was the greatest gizmo - we would put a 1/2 cup of whatever we were eating, grind it up and serve it to our baby. Certainly, it was more economical as we did not buy too much jarred baby food from that point on. Somewhere around 7 to 9 months of age, our boys were eating everything from spaghetti with meat sauce to pork chops with vegetables.
The point is, we are served meat from the earliest time in our life. Whether or not our taste buds actually "like" this taste or sensation makes little difference. Right at the front of us, smiling and encouraging us to lap up every last drop is our mother or father. I am not saying this is bad parenting. What I am saying is this is conditioning that has gone on for many generations. We think meat is good. Good to eat, good for our health and therefore good for our children.
Conditioning is first, followed closely by insidious de-sensitization. So where does the "de-sensitization" come into view? At what point do children figure out that beef comes from a cow, pork from pigs, buffalo wings from chickens and on and on... (Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the tooth fairy....). Figure it out we do though, and before long we can completely disconnect the thread between the calf and the veal, the bacon and the pig, etc.
Even more odd is why we accept the whole shebang? Many of us have pets that we adore (most of the time) and consider them parts of our family. In our house alone, along with the bipeds are one dog, three cats, two ferrets and several fish!
Again, I can only explain this as conditioning. As a society, most of us are so far removed from the slaughterhouse, from the farm and so close to the grocery store and the seemingly endless supply of a variety of cellophane wrapped pieces of muscle. Not one of us ever discusses the pain and suffering involved in raising and then killing millions (yes, millions!) of animals on a daily basis. We certainly never discuss it with our children - why would we want to expose them to such horror?
It seems so strange to me now this whole culture of eating another animal's flesh. If I had been born in a Hindu culture, I would never know the experience of eating meat. But here I am - living in a meat-eating culture, living with meat eating people, surrounded by people eating meat, surrounded by mass media about eating meat, keeping meat eating animals, wearing clothing made from the skins of animals. I have spent most of my years eating and enjoying another animal's flesh.
What made the change for me? I was in the right place at the right time and I opened my eyes (believe me I wanted to close them). Once I knew, I could not go back. (I remember vividly one of my co-workers asking me the next day why would I want to watch those kind of images.)
I suspect people don't want to know so they can continue to enjoy eating their meat.
Not long ago I was asked if I had "turned" anyone in the family. I wish... but really, it can't be done (I've tried). The decision can only come from within. But I am encouraged when questioned and even challenged (although that isn't nearly as pleasant) . Questioning is a good thing. It leads to clear vision.
Posted by Compassionate Consumption at 4:30 PM