Monday, October 18, 2010

The Life That Feeds You

I......am a meat eater. Many of us are. And for those who aren't, I'm sure you have your reasons. But let me make this clear: I don't harass you for eating vegetables. Don't harass me for eating bacon. It's as simple as that.

Today, over at SouleMama, she announced the addition of two sweet piglets to their family farm. The pig's jobs are to a)root and fertilize a patch of grass intended to be a garden in the spring and b)to provide meat for her family. Oh my. You should have read the comments. Though that vast majority of the vegetarians who voiced their opinions did so in a poignant, mature fashion, there were a couple that were rude and downright nasty.It was their comments that inspired me to write this post, not to defend the meat eaters of the world or even to condemn the vegetarians, but to give my humble opinion on the subject in what I hope to be a safe and judgment free space.


I am lucky. Much of the meat we eat is home raised and slaughtered. Not here in suburbia of course although it might be interesting trying to butcher in the garage. All of our beef and most of the pork we consume is raised on a ranch, scratched between the ears on a daily basis, and killed humanely. I know exactly where the animal came from, what it ate, how it was treated and how and where the animal was processed. Not many people can say the same. For most, "meat" is something laid out neatly on a styrofoam tray and covered with plastic wrap at their local grocery store. It's quick, it's convenient and it tastes good.


But really....can you blame them? If you've ever seen an animal slaughtered and butchered, it's not an easy thing to watch. It is infinitely less complitcated to just not think about it. There are scores of new books and documentaries that reveal the true nature of today's modern food and let me tell you friends... it ain't pretty. Animals are being abused, tortured and held in the most vile and disgusting places you can imagine, all so that we can indulge in a hamburger. Animals are living, breathing creatures. They share the earth and sky, drink the same water, breathe the same air as we do and as such, should be treated with care and respect for the things they provide.

So why eat them at all? How does frying animals up in a pan demonstrate care and respect for their place on this planet? Well, I don't really have an answer for that. But I do believe that respect and honor can be shown to the animals by partaking in the process rather than allowing factory farms and multinational corporations to  make those choices for us. I realize not everyone can just raise and butcher a cow in the backyard, but even city dwellers have options. Buy humanely raise meats. Research. Just because it says "organic" on the label doesn't mean that cow wasn't stuffed in a teeny holding pen for most of its life. Investigate local co-op groups. Do what you can to be responsible meat eater. Get as "close" your food as you can. Feed it, watch it grow and watch it expire. Respect the life that feeds yours.


My Husband's Grandfather's Ranch...Where Our Beef Comes From!
I make no apologies for eating meat. I like it. Always have and always will. I suppose now though, I'm much more conscious about exactly what I'm tossing on my plate. Since becoming a greener and more sustainable family, we certainly eat less meat than we used to. With fresh eggs and a garden full of veggies, meat is more often a side dish than main course anyway. Yes, there are times when I feel guilty about the steak on my plate, especially when I know the animal by name, but I take comfort in knowing that he was raised in a clean, caring environment and lived the best life an animal raised for meat could have lived. I offer a prayer of thanks to both heaven and cow, for sacrifices made and bodies nourished. Amen.

7 comments:

  1. It's so funny that when I was growing up I didn't want to eat the meat from the animals my dad raised. I let myself become to attached to the animals. Now that I am older and wiser I see the benefits of homegrown meat versus store bought meat. I am grateful that my dad provides us with beef that is raised out in a pasture and not pumped full of steroids.

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  2. Okay, so I'm a vegetarian and there are many benefits to being one. But that not being the argument here, I must agree, that if you're going to eat meat, at least be thoughtful about where its coming from.
    You are lucky to have a situation where you can see how the animals are treated before they become your dinner.

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  3. Perhaps it all comes down to what you believe animals' purpose to be. I like knowing my food. Some people do find that contradictory but I believe animals are here to help support people whether that is via food or other "jobs."

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  4. Wonderful post! I followed you from SouleMama's. I agree 100% with you about knowing where your food comes from and how horrible factory farms are and I commend Amanda for being so brave with her post as she had to know what the comments would be like.
    I hope she continues to post about their farm life and the animals and yes even the slaughtering of the animals. There are lessons for all of us. She is living the life so many of us only dream about, just as you are able to eat meat that some of us only can dream of ...I mean, how many of us really know exactly how our beef is treated?
    You both are very lucky women.

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  5. Stephanie
    Just seeing this now (Friday) and thinking how timely it is in relation to Soulemama's post and our chicken killing day. I didn't even stop to think about the flak I might get...such an inflammatory topic! Didn't see Amanda's post until after I'd written mine then thought...uh...so I did a disclaimer, disinviting any attacks on my character for being part of a slaughter. Must be on people's minds these days...

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