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A responsible choice.

by Christa on January 10, 2012

in Uncategorized

If there’s one thing you should know about me and my relationship with books and authors, maybe it should be that I love/worship Jonathan Safran Foer.

Now, the movie Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close is coming out.  I’ve already seen it through means that shall not be revealed; suffice it to say that they couldn’t squeeze all the detail of the book into the film.  I enjoyed in nonetheless, and the boy that plays Oskar Schell is PHENOMENAL.

That’s not my point, just mere entertainment.  JSF’s latest book – Eating Animals – not that new, but important.  Here’s the description, lest I butcher it:

Foer explores the topics of factory farming and commercial fisheries. He examines topics such as by-catch and slaughterhouse conditions, saying that Indonesian shrimp trawlers kill 26 pounds of sea creatures for every 1 pound of shrimp they collect, and that in American slaughterhouses, cows are consistently “bled, dismembered, and skinned while conscious.” He also explores the health risks which pervade American factory farming, including the claims that H1N1 originated in a North Carolina factory farm, and that 98 percent of American chicken is infected with campylobacter or salmonella at the time of consumption.

Foer also examines the cultural meaning of food, beginning with the experience of his own grandmother, who survived the Holocaust, with a lifelong obsession over food. He builds on and ultimately criticizes the work of Michael Pollan on our relationship to the food we eat.

Finally, Foer examines humane agricultural methods, and the divide between animal rights and animal welfare.

The reason behind this investigation?  His wife was pregnant with their first child – and he simply wanted to know what would be the most responsible choice in regards to feeding his son.

I’ve flip-flopped on vegetarianism before.  Good God, it is SO EASY to go back to eating meat.  It’s in f’ing EVERYTHING.  But one of my resolutions and one of my 30 before 30 goals is to completely give up meat – fish included.  I can say with conviction that I’ve eaten my last bite of meat – and I don’t even remember what it was.  It’s THAT forgettable.

Anyone on Earth needs to watch Earthlings.  It’s worth your time.  And it’s free RIGHT HERE.

After watching Earthlings?  I’m repulsed.  Not because I didn’t know these things before.  I did.  I’ve read Skinny Bitch and Eating Animals and watched the PETA videos.  But thinking about animals as a whole, as earthlings, just as we are – the psychology behind it all?  Nothing disgusts me more.  I don’t think I’ll ever be a super judgey vegetarian, but at the same time?  How can people who know what they’re eating and buying into NOT give it up?  How can people who know that most shelter dogs will be euthanized buy a pet?  It literally makes me sick to my stomach. What’s it worth? I mean, you need meat? That craving, that taste – it goes away in a month or so. You can get protein through other means. Yes, endurance athletes included.

I have no other argument for eating meat other than that it tastes good.  But so do a lot of things.  A lot of things that we don’t let ourselves experience are awesome.  But we don’t do them because it would be wrong.  Drugs, for example.  That might be a joke.

I know this is the responsible decision for me, and for our future children.  While Shane has not made a commitment to a vegetarian lifestyle, he accepts that I will not be buying or cooking meat.  He’s an adult, he’s free to make his own decisions and eat it when outside of our home.  Yes, I’ll be the difficult one.

Meat is so affordable, so easy.  It shouldn’t be the case, and it hasn’t always been.  It’s an effect of factory farming.  We should be smart enough to recognized that what we’re putting into our bodies is garbage.  And our relationship with animals?  Is garbage.

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Here’s to 2013…
January 1, 2013 at 3:27 pm

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

terra January 14, 2012 at 7:32 am

This is something I’ve been thinking about and meaning to write about for a while. I’ve got weird issues with food, mostly because I grew on a farm. I grew up on a farm where chickens really were free-range, spent their days pecking through fields and even, on one hilarious occasion, catching and eating snakes from the shallow creek that ran by the barn. So, when I think about chicken, that’s the image I get. And it’s taken me a long time to train myself to realize that that’s not the reality at all.

I’m learning to be more responsible, to ask questions about where my food – all of it, not just the rare bits of meat I consume – comes from. I want to know the harm and hurt that goes into each and every piece of food I eat and I want to be able to make a decision that I’m okay with about what I put in my body.

As for the pets thing – YES, A THOUSAND TIMES, YES!! I don’t understand how anyone can pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a dog when there are thousands just waiting for good homes, of all breeds, all ages and all size. It breaks my heart, more than anything, and if I could I know I’d have a house full of shelter mutts (I guess I already sort of do – we’ve got 2).

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ameena January 16, 2012 at 6:12 pm

welcome aboard! i’ve been a vegetarian for (mostly) five and half years and it’s for a lot of the same reasons you have mentioned. i’ve been really wanting to read jsf’s book and now your post has made it a priority! you’ll find that being veg is getting easier and easier in today’s society as more and more people become aware of where their food really comes from.

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Sasha January 21, 2012 at 7:01 am

This topic is very near and dear to my heart right now for a plethora of reasons. Great topic/piece…thanks for covering it! Can you point me to a book or source that specifically discusses the negative health reasons of eating meat? I know in my bones (or in this case digestive tract) that eating meat is unhealthy but haven’t found any in-depth documentation explaining the whys and hows. This topic is one of my 2012 resolutions and I want to be informed…

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