“Of course, most people never have to confront the unpleasant fact that animal foods (including dairy and eggs) involve killing animals. They remain disconnected from this reality, buying their meats and cheeses at supermarkets, already cooked or presented to them in pieces, making it easy to give little or no thought to the animals these foods come from. This is a problem. It has enabled agribusiness to shift livestock and poultry farming unto unhealthy, inhumane systems with little public scrutiny. Few people have seen the insides of industrial dairies, eggs or pig operations, and most consumers truly have no idea what is going on at such places. I am convinced that the vast majority of people would be appalled with what goes on there.”
This is a quote from an eye opening book, Eating Animals, by Jonathan Safran Foer.
The funny part is I wasn’t recommended to read this. I hadn’t even heard of it. But one tiring day in Newark Penn station, I was waiting for my train and a 65 minute journey and I was just craving a book. I idly walked into Hudson Books and was browsing when this jumped out at me. The title Eating Animals caught my attention. I knew nothing about the book but I bought it anyways – and i could NOT put it down.
Before I read this book, my case for being vegetarian was….weaker. No, i won’t say weak. I had my reasons – ethics, environment, industry practices. But after I read this book I really came to realize the main problem with animal products in this country. It’s got everything to do with history. There was a time when people really respected their food. They had farms and pigs and chickens and they individually took care of the animals all day and night. Beyond that, they experienced the entire life of the animal from birth to death. Food was appreciated more. Every part of the animal was used and cherished.
And today, its turned into this disgusting cycle of mass production and shady industry practices. We don’t know what goes on, we are conditioned to not “want” to know either, which is even more disturbing. I was at lunch during work the other day eating my veggie chili and two guys I was eating with started asking me all these questions. Why am i a vegetarian, why don’t i eat real food, how can i live on this garbage, why don’t i eat meat, etc. I first corrected them on the garbage part – veggies are not garbage!!! Jeez 😦
They made fun of me a little and were like “ooo you dont eat meat because you dont want to hurt the poor little animals”. This made me laugh because since when is a personal choice like not eating an animal considered “wimpy”? Apparently compassion is for babies now? (wtf?) I told them it wasn’t just about hurting the animal. I also had a problem with the industry practices. They understood that a little more once another guy jumped in and exclaimed how Taco Bell’s chicken is only 35% real chicken.
That shut them up real fast – not me, but another meat eater sharing what he knew. This was an eye opener to me and i found it extremely interesting how much more willingly they listened to that other guy. I wasn’t hurt by it but it WAS funny, because in essence they were “amused” with my decision and found it ludicrous, and were “attacking it” – whereas I didn’t attack their choices to eat meat once.
That’s the thing. Most people don’t question meat consumption…its normal, its a way of life, like brushing your teeth. People pick their own battles. And for me, this is one of them. 🙂
I’ll end this post with another FABULOUS quote from Eating Animals:
“Not responding is a response – we are equally responsible for what we don’t do”