Sunday, August 7, 2011

Chicken ain't Nothin but a Bird

We went to a family reunion yesterday. It was held on a beautiful farm with a few horses, some fresh veggies and chickens running free all over the place. We saw Alex looking at the chickens and Kyle said "that's where your chicken nuggets comes from".

My sister's reaction really made me sad. As soon as Kyle said it, she was like "Ewww! Gross! Don't tell him that!" That right there is what is wrong with our society. It is ok to eat the animals, just not to acknowledge where your food came from? If the thought of equating a living animal with a meal is too gross to tell a 5 year old, shouldn't actually feeding them the meal be just as gross? I don't get it. It is almost like people feel if you don't think about it then the connection doesn't exist.

I feel like where my sister is coming from is where so many people come from. They get grossed out thinking that an animal may be alive and mooing one day then on their plate the next. This is because no one brought up the connection early on in their life, so they continue with the mentality that it is taboo to doso. Alex is not a vegetarian. He likes his chicken nuggets and occasionally a hamburger or fish sticks. But at every meal we discuss what it is he is eating, so he is making a conscious decision to eat something that was once living. When we see a cow or pig we make sure he knows that is the hamburger or bacon he eats. That way if he still chooses to eat it, he has that connection and maybe a little more appreciation that something gave its life for him to eat.

I wonder what sort of world we would live in if everyone took their head of out the sand. If they allowed themselves to make that connection between a living animal and food. Would they not consume quite as much meat? Would they have a little more compassion and a little more respect for the food they are eating? Maybe a little more appreciation? Try it and see. Have open discussions about where your food came from at dinnertime. And if you find it too gross or distasteful to have at the dinner table, shouldn't that tell you something?

1 comment:

  1. Interesting... We've got a similar philosophy with our son. Boston is a little young to discuss it, but as he starts to ask why other kids are eating McNuggets and hamburgers, it'll be the same explanation.

    It's almost to the point of annoyance with people when they get into an almost defensive state-of-mind regarding us being vegetarians. My own family has exploded into a full blown argument because of our choice to be vegetarian - even claims that because we are vegetarian we place little or less emphasis on human suffering. And we have no respect for 'The Circle of Life.'

    I say "hooray" for explaining the real world to Alex. Boston will hear the same, and, regardless of what many think, he will have that choice to eat meat if he likes. He won't be eating processed crap, at least not in our household. People already stare at us when they see an almost three year-old eating a kale salad... what they don't realize is they should be analyzing their kids' diets before they criticize our child's healthy routine.