Thursday, 1 November 2012

To Meat or Not To Meat? (tl;dr, meat)

As far as activities outside of work, writing (Yeah, some people don't count that as work) and University Open Days, I really haven't been doing much of anything recently, and as far as penning an interesting and adventurous blog goes, not doing much of anything is pretty unproductive. However, one thing I have been doing quite a bit of recently would be meat-eating.

By any measure, I haven't been doing a noticeable amount of meat-eating more than I normally would, but as anyone might guess from my manly food baby stature, my normal amount of dead animal intake is pretty sizable by anyone's measure. But the thought of meat-eating sprung into an actual in-mind conversation recently, when I overheard someone saying that if you wouldn't kill an animal, you shouldn't eat it.

I've been eating meat ever since I had the appropriate teeth in my jaw, and have never had a go at being a vegetarian, however much poetry I may or may not have written in my emotional 'down-times'. Now don't get me wrong, I love vegetables and I'm fine with people not wanting to eat other living things, but the digestion of other animals has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. However - as much as I love a slice of turkey or a chunk of gammon on my plate, I couldn't stop myself thinking that the whole can't kill/can't eat argument was a reasonable assertion.

Of course the whole argument has connotations of flag waving animal activists trying to instill violent imagery into your mind to stop you eating bacon, but once you get past the mental images of stabbing a cow in the face with a rusty spoon, you find yourself in an interesting moral quandary.

Now your average blokey-bloke would immediately stand up at this point and say, in his most gruffest of tones, 'Yeah, yeah I would kill an animal to eat it.' and then quickly follow up with a whispered justification to his girlfriend, something along the lines of 'If I found myself in the situation in which that was necessary for my own survival, of course.' because such is the nature of masculine identity nowadays. In the most polite of tones, this is of course bullshit.

I don't speak without experience - I come from a family of red-blooded males who would (And indeed already have) kill an animal for their own consumption (See: Chef father, Pig Farmer uncle). Naturally, this is something I have asked myself on many an occasion - I won't give my answer, by the way, purely because either answer would completely invalidate my argument. But I have been raised in an environment that I fear a lot of people haven't - being aware of where my food came from - and occasionally, even having a pet name associated with the meat. It's a principle that I myself have even instilled in younger members of the family - calling beef 'moo-cow' and showing them the gutted fish before and after cooking to allow them to understand where delicious Mr. Rainbow Trout came from.

Now of course at this juncture some people will be laughing and others will be booing me internally for being such an ill-mannered savage, raising innocent children in such a gruesome environment. But you see, the whole 'To Meat or Not To Meat?' issue is one of a thin tightrope. If a child is led to believe that a chicken nugget comes from the oven and not from an animal, the discovery that a cute animal has died for them can come to a shock later in life and potentially cause another seat to be filled at PETA meetings. But on the other end of the spectrum, if a child knows where their meat is from, isn't it easier for them to make an informed decision about what they're eating?

Of course, I'm not addressing the issues of animal abuse that inevitably does occur in some sectors of the industry, and I'm no bonafide expert as far as being a responsible Uncle is concerned - but I love my meat, and I for one am thankful that I was told early on about the grass my food once walked on, that the thoughts of my meat making a noise once upon a time can help me to form my own opinion where killing and eating creatures is concerned.

off to renew his Meatpaper subscription