Thursday, February 3, 2011
"Mom, don't kill the pig!"
Ayla has had a huge awakening about dinner. About where dinner comes from. I think she might be a little conflicted - or we might have a budding vegetarian in the family.
She already knew that fish was a "meat"; that we take it out of the sea and then eat it. Hence, the animal dies in the process. She didn't show a lot of empathy for the fish. But that sentiment changed when we started discussing farm animals.
I've read a lot of books about our food systems, marketing, home farming, etc. and I always get queasy when we start talking about animal meat. I'm not queasy eating it (except when I was pregnant with Elliot), but I know it would be hard for me to face the facts about what it takes to slaughter an animal for dinner. On the one hand, I don't think being carnivores is a bad thing if the animals have a chance to live a humane existence. (Is that kinder though to treat an animal with care right before you cut its' head off?) On the other hand, I would probably become a vegetarian if I had to hunt for my own dinner.
Ask yourself the same question: how many of us even think about the source of our dinners anymore? We have sly euphemisms for our food: we should call it cow and pig. For some reason, the lowly chicken and anything from the ocean can be called by its proper name.
Now Ayla seems to be facing that dilemma - only in more subtle ways. Every meal I've served since our discussion of what beef and pork is, she has eaten but also commented that I shouldn't kill any more animals. I don't know where she gets the idea that I have the time (or inclination) to go killing animals! But from a moralist vegetarian standpoint, my crimes are the same just by consuming meat at all.
Ayla doesn't want us taking any more shrimp from the ocean, and while she loves her deli ham... "Mom, don't kill the pig!". Granted, this was said with her mouth full of ham/pig. I think her hunger is winning the battle over her moral dilemma. Should I dare get into the details of lamb or hot dogs?