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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Meat without Killing?

Recently, a subscriber to my newsletter sent me the following quote from a reader who wrote in to a San Francisco newspaper.

”To all you hunters who kill animals for food, shame on you; you ought to go to the store and buy the meat that was made there, where no animals were harmed.”

The absurdity of this statement is obvious to most of us.  How could anyone not know that the meat they buy at the grocery store wasn’t “made” there?  We all know that the meat comes from animals that are raised and slaughtered on (primarily) factory farms; packaged, and shipped to our local supermarkets.  Right?

I can’t help but wonder if the author intentionally meant the statement to be tongue-in-cheek; as an subtle insult to all the meat eaters who despise hunters, but continue to eat the flesh of  farmed animals who want nothing more than to breath fresh air, nurture their offspring, and live the lives that are theirs to live.  Instead their lives are cut short – full of suffering from the moment they are born until their very last breath.

When most humans who consume animal flesh go “shopping” for food, their thoughts are so far removed from where their food comes from that most DON”T give it a second thought.  Sometimes it’s because they grew up eating animal flesh and it’s out of habit that they purchase rib-roast, pork-loin, leg of lamb, chicken breast, steak, and other animal body parts.  Others don’t think about it because they don’t WANT to know where their food comes from. It’s too painful to think about.  It’s easier for them to close their eyes and pretend not to know.

But if you don’t want to know where your food comes from or what had to happen for it to get to the grocery store, and ultimately - your plate - then perhaps you shouldn’t be eating it.  Is this what the author was implying - that most of us are so oblivious to what we contribute to when we purchase meat, that we think hunters are evil because they kill animals for food, and we’re not because the food is already killed for us?  That the meat on the grocery store shelf didn’t come from animals who suffered because it’s in a nice neat little package?

I guess we’ll never know what the author’s intentions were. 

What do you think?  Do you think the quote should be taken literally, and that the author was  simply ignorant?  Or do you believe they were successful at being cleverly ironic in regard to our food choices and excuses?

I’d love to hear your opinion.

5:30 pm est

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Christine Scalfo

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