January 10, 2006

I'll Just Turn This One Over to You

Not to say that I don't have my own opinions about the matter, but I think here I'm more interested in finding out what the rest of you think:

. . . if you cannot deal with the fact that an animal has to die so you can eat its flesh, then, you shouldn’t be eating that animal in the first place. It isn’t necessary for most humans to eat meat anymore–human knowledge of nutrition and the global marketplace have made vegetarian diets more pleasant, palatable and nutritionally sound than ever before.

So, if you don’t -need- to eat meat for its nutritive value, and it squicks you out to think of eating an animal, then why not just stop eating meat, and while you are at it, stop whining about it?

Hey, and vegetarians? Don't feel excluded. Your opinions are particularly welcome here.

Picked this up at the Accidental Hedonist, where there are some foodblogging awards in progress. (Vote Food Whore! That's my endorsement, anyway.)

Via these same awards I also found this blog, 18th Century Cuisine. Very curious about that one, and I'm looking forward to reading more of it.

Posted by Ilyka at January 10, 2006 02:06 PM in were you going to finish that?

I've got no problems whatsoever with the ol' chop n' peel. If God didn't want us to eat cows he wouldn't have made them so slow and tasty.

Posted by: Jim at January 10, 2006 03:14 PM

Sounds reasonable to me.

If you don't like the necessary predicates of eating meat, don't do it, and quit whining. Sounds perfectly sensible.

I, of course, have no problem with those predicates, and think meat is absolutely tasty.

Posted by: Sigivald at January 10, 2006 04:24 PM

I think there's a happy medium between refusing to acknowledge/accept reality, and grinding your own face in it at the expense of aesthetics.

I think it's analogous to sex--you should accept all that's human about the other person as part of their beauty*, but that doesn't mean you need to observe each other going to the bathroom just to, you know, keep it real.

*As ably described by D.H. Lawrence:

"Tha'rt real, tha art! Tha'art real, even a bit of a bitch. Here tha shits an' here tha pisses: an' I lay my hand on 'em both an' like thee for it. I like thee for it. Tha's got a proper, woman's arse, proud of itself. It's none ashamed of itself this isna."

Posted by: Hubris at January 10, 2006 06:04 PM

How can ya have any pudding, if ya don't eat yer meat?

Posted by: Andrea Harris at January 10, 2006 07:59 PM

Vegan here who agrees. I will eat with folks who eat meat in front of me, and I honestly don't mind - though my home is meat-free and I will not buy meat. What I can't stand? The folks who ask me why I'm vegan, listen to my answer, and tell me that they completely agree but that they could neeeevvvver give up meat, but they feel soooo guilty, as though I'm supposed to give them a prize for holding the right views even as they act against them. No thank you.

Posted by: Moebius Stripper at January 10, 2006 08:21 PM

I used to say that everyone should have to dress an animal once or even clean a fish before they could eat meat.

If you don't have the stomach for the fact that we are a hunting, carnivorous species (mostly) then you should be a vegan.

As for me, I didn't spend millions of years getting to the top of the food chain so I could eat tofu.

Posted by: Zendo Deb at January 10, 2006 09:28 PM

It's a good thing for me that sheep are vegetables.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 10, 2006 09:37 PM

I'm a bona fide City Girl. Until I was in my teens I thought milk came from the grocery store. Having said that, I realize that if I had to kill and clean everything I ate, I would be a strict vegan (don't think I could even steal an egg from a chicken, dontchaknow).

But then again. . .I married an Alpha Male who Will (By GAWD) Provide.

And yeah, it's sexist, but it's the truth. This man went to Survival School in the dead of winter. He will keep our family fed.

What was the question again?



Posted by: Margi at January 10, 2006 11:27 PM

Yup, I'm one of those fluffy bunny vegetarians (I eat eggs and cheese that is not made from rinnet). I stopped eating meat 6 years ago after watching a documentary on what happens in the slaughterhouse (note, Ilyka-you who likes the "How's It Made" type documentary, it'd put you off meat too. I remember particularly the chicken part of this abbatoir funhouse. Let me just say this-at least they get shocked even though THEY STILL FEEL THE RAZOR. That had to be in all caps, too, as my God, the humanity).

I serve up meat to others (but I will only buy organic meat that is from farms with the RSPCA stamp that the meat had a happy life dancing around leafy fields before they were massacred). I cook meat for my partner. Not eating meat is my own choice which I'm not about to oppose on others. Would I rather they didn't eat meat? You betcha. But each to his own. I don't think meat is necessary and I don't really miss it-I also don't think I'll ever eat meat again.

The one thing I hate is when I hear: "I'm a vegetarian. But I eat fish." Eat fish? Then you're not a vegetarian, mate. Even worse-"But sometimes I eat chicken." Eat chicken? Not a veggie, buddy.

I once heard: "I'm a vegetarian, but I eat bacon sandwiches." Eat bacon sandwiches? Then you're a carnivore that likes salads. Grow up.

Being veggie is easy. It's convincing others you're not a hippie bedecked with crystals as you are a veggie that's hard.

Posted by: Helen at January 11, 2006 12:22 AM

Thanks for the link, Ilyka. Fascinating article.

I'm a lifelong city dweller (never had to kill my own food) and I love meat, but I'm of the ``treat 'em kindly and kill 'em painlessly'' school, and I've always wondered how food animals could be killed quickly and neatly (chickens and fish, I could see, but a cow? Or a sheep?) I asked Barbara about that and she's posted a good, detailed answer which I found very helpful. I'll definitely be visiting her blog again. I'm a good cook and always looking for new ideas.

Thanks again.

Posted by: Annalucia at January 11, 2006 11:34 AM

I think it's a pretty stupid argument. If I had to kill my own animals for food, I wouldn't like it. But I wasn't brought up to kill my own animals for food. A hundred years ago, the majority of Americans were on farms and, gee, they were killing their own meat for dinner. We don't have to do it anymore because we're no longer an agrarian-based society.

'Course, I never would have had to do it, because Jews have to have their meat slaughtered by a shochet and then koshered properly. But my best friend was brought up on farms in the U.S. and Africa, and she hasn't got any qualms at all about eating meat. And has slaughtered her own chickens and such.

You do what you gotta do. If I had to learn how to kill chickens for dinner, I'd still be eating chicken for dinner. I wouldn't care for it at first, but I'd get over it, I'm sure.

Posted by: Meryl Yourish at January 12, 2006 11:09 AM

Good article, and I can agree. I have a hard time eating rabbits and lamb, but I don't whine at people who do. Live and let live, it's the only way to be.

And Andrea

How can ya have any pudding, if ya don't eat yer meat?

Best comment ever! :-)

Posted by: ratan at January 12, 2006 01:05 PM

Meryl, the condition wasn't "if you wouldn't kill the animals you have to eat", but rather "if you cannot deal with the fact that an animal has to die so you can eat its flesh", which is quite different. That said, most of the meat Americans eat doesn't come from small family farms - and worker turnover in slaughterhouses is among the highest of any occupation. If you'd get over killing chickens in order to have chicken for dinner, that sets you apart from the majority of people who actually kill chickens for a living.

Posted by: Moebius Stripper at January 12, 2006 09:27 PM

Moebius: True, but the cause of this was given to the fact that we Americans are so separated from the deaths of the animals we eat as to render those deaths meaningless to us.

Frankly, I think the person quoted in the anecdote is an idiot. I think the real gist of the post was a reaction to idiocy.

And, um, you're comparing slaughterhouse workers--whose job it is to slaughter animals every day, eight hours a day--to my having to kill chickens for dinner once or twice a week. You didn't ask me to work at a slaughterhouse. Not that I would, nor do I blame them for leaving in droves.

But you can't compare that to what I described, because it's not a correct comparison.

Posted by: Meryl Yourish at January 13, 2006 02:26 PM