Thou Shall Not Kill

I believe people are inherently good. I believe we don’t want to hurt anyone and generally want to do the “right thing” whenever we can.

I think it starts with a simple message reflecting those positive intentions.

Meat eating is good for you.

Meat eating is natural.

Meat eating is normal.

What rational person doesn’t want to be good, natural and normal? I know I do.

So, as a child… like many children… my parents fed me meat.

Great big juicy turkeys in November, delicious steaks on my birthday and less appealing, but certainly more common ground hamburger meat in every form imaginable.

I lived in the innocence of these beliefs where I didn’t have to think about where (or who) my food came from. There was no guilt at my table and life was sweet.

Then I started learning about animals. Yes, it started with my love for animals.

I first wanted to be a marine biologist! I think growing up in a coastal city put that one into my mind. Next, a zoo-keeper – until Steve died and then I felt too sad to continue on that path.

All the while through these adolescent endeavors I learned more and more about the animals in the world around me.

Like any budding scientist I observed their mating rituals, birthing rites, child-rearing policies and death observances. I noticed something.

Animals were intelligent.

This revelation was something I understood on the surface, but it didn’t go any deeper into my awareness for some time.

As I grew into an adult I adopted a little chihuahua dog and helped her grow.

We’d cuddle together on the couch and when I got up to go do something else – she would watch me and even follow me.

I know it doesn’t sound that extra-ordinary, but it showed me personally that animals – in this case dogs, well my dog – wanted to be near to me.

I didn’t understand. Why would she want to be near to me? Really. Her food was in the bowl, she had a little dog bed of her own and more toys than most 1 year-old children.

Why would she want to watch me, follow me, be near to me? What was I offering that she didn’t already have access to without me?

I slowly realized – Animals are not only intelligent. Animals are trusting and capable of developing bonds with the animals around them.

Well, that changed things in my mind. Suddenly, I started reexamining all the animals around me and how they interacted with humans and other animals around them.

My initial feelings were confirmed.

Animals are intelligent, trusting, capable of forming bonds with animals around them and they don’t want to be killed.

Oh come on! I pleaded with myself. Eating animals is healthy! It’s normal and natural. What’s wrong with it? — as I was shoving a mouthful of delectable chicken into my mouth.

And I’d always find myself coming back to the same answer – they don’t want to be killed. They are intelligent and trusting and capable of fear and pain.

Suddenly, guilt was served with every meal.

That still didn’t stop me most of the time.

I’d go on vegetarianism and off vegetarianism. Like some sort of guilt yo-yo diet.

I’d tell myself it is too hard and too weird as my friends and coworkers were always quick to point out.

And most of all – it was unhealthy. Right?

I won’t go into the long description of it, but I found that I did feel physically better when I wasn’t eating meat. That confused me.

So, I read many books and watched tons of informative videos and documentaries to try and uncover the truth.

So far, the truth that I’ve found is that no one really knows what the truth is, but not including animals in your diet won’t kill you or harm you beyond a shadow of a doubt. So, maybe not eating animals was at least as safe as eating them – maybe safer?

Still, my resolve was not complete. I mean a dog is one thing.

People have lived with dogs for as long as anyone can remember and dogs have always been our friends so, it makes sense to not want to eat them.

Farm animals were different right?

Their ‘glazed over’ expression and lack of personalities probably meant they were not that intelligent and probably were okay to kill and eat – right?

So, I started a project  – a chicken raising project.

I got a little group of eggs and a few weeks later little fluff balls burst from inside them.

And I was shocked at what I learned!

These farm animals were intelligent, trusting, capable of fear and pain.

And they wanted to be near to me! Just like my dog!

So – that’s it guys.

I’m not eating you and I’m not eating them because I don’t eat my friends…

And I especially don’t eat strangers. I mean that doesn’t even seem safe!

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12 thoughts on “Thou Shall Not Kill

  1. This is such a cute, poignant and perceptive post. I too have gone through periods of vegetarianism, off and on for the past 20 years. I am very committed to the justness of a meat-free diet, but in practicality I falter. I’m not allowed salt in my diet (I have Meniere’s disease) and most meat is surprisingly low in sodium. So for now I try to limit my meat intake. I cook virtually every meal for myself and my family and try my best to keep 4-5 nights per week vegetarian. Summer is always easy, with an abundance of fresh veggies from the garden and our CSA. Winter isn’t too hard, lots of grains, slow cooker meals, soups, stews, etc. And I find being a very fixed budget helps, as meat can be expensive. Long story short, I don’t eat my friends either, but their relatives… yes. Some of the time. And for now I’m okay with that.

    Thanks so much for the chicken tips — Good luck with yours! :o)

    • Thank you – you’re very sweet to say so! :)

      I’m sorry to hear that your medical condition makes meat eating a better choice for you. I think a medical need to survive is a pretty great reason to eat meat or whatever you need to in order to keep living.

      Be that chickens, cows, hell – me even.. though I warn you that I’d fight back! ha

      I love your blog – thank you again for stopping by to brighten my day and share some of your insight. I hope to see you around!

  2. I like hearing how vegetarians came to be vegetarians, everyone seems to come by a different path. Now, I have to tell you, I’m more on the raise-it-yourself-if-you-want-meat end. Does this mean we can still be interweb friends? I agree they are intelligent. But where do you draw the line? Like for example, veal was traditionally a byproduct of dairy. A lot will eat dairy, but not veal, but it is from the same process. I understand though. When the hubby was all set to eat Rooster, I had my doubts. It is interesting to me that most self-reflective, caring people go through this debate. I guess everyone is just trying to make sense of it all. Check out this article, I was obsessed with the topic for days after I read it…

    http://www.utne.com/Environment/Animals-Like-Us-Human-Pet-Relationships.aspx

  3. Pingback: Hippie-Liberal-Tofu-Eating-Commie | The Adventures of Challah-girl

  4. I have considered being a vegetarian for so many years! I love animals – somehow I justified it in my mind that it was ok since, like you, I was raised eating meat. The thing that put me over the edge was seeing a rather large store being built in the city I lived in that is called ‘The Meat House’.
    I was sickened! A store full of dead animals? Bad enough at the grocery store but an entire store of death? That was it for me. I have been a very happy vegetarian for 14 months now. I don’t put down anyone who eats meat. It’s a hugely personal choice. A vegetarian friend of mine (vegetarian for 19 years) says that I save 92 animals a year by choosing not to eat meat! I am very happy about that. : )

    • I can see how that daily disquieting reminder that your diet includes death might diminish your desire for that particular digestion. Okay – I couldn’t resist all that alliteration! Ha

      Really though – thank you for sharing your story. I agree it is a hugely personal choice and that is why I find the reasoning so interesting to hear why people go for it.

      Sometimes when I talk to people about why they chose a vegetarian lifestyle I’m surprised to realize that even though we both are aligned to the same non-meat eating purpose – I don’t agree with their reasons. (Long story – there was mention of aliens… and cows.. anyway.)

      I can say with 100% confidence that keeping 92 living, thinking, feeling creatures from passing though my body each year is really of maximum comfort to me… and to those creatures too I’m sure.

  5. Something you may or may not have considered already: What’s in your dog food? That’s a concern of ours, both for the health of our dogs and the well-being of the animals that end up in dog food. We’re planning a post in the near future addressing the realities of dog food and what we’re doing about it.

    On a side note, I’m glad to find that not all vegetarians try to shove vegetarianism down our throats. Too often we all develop an elitist mentality and act like our way is the only way. It’s refreshing that you accept other lifestyles and respect the reasoning and choices behind those lifestyles. I definitely enjoy your blog more because of that.

    • I just finished reading your post about raw dog food diet. And to your above question – I feed the chi-girls Blue which is “supposedly” a better dry dog food. I did try several natural, holistic, physically prepared by me dog foods but…

      #1 Moo is about 4 pounds of dog. She is so tiny and dainty – the only dog I know who makes a huge effort to walk around puddles or even sheets of paper on the hardwood floor. She won’t even sit on any surface unless it is carpeted. Really demanding little girl. For whatever reason she has decided that raw meat isn’t girlie-girl enough for her refined palette. Moo has told me point blank that she would rather starve to death than eat raw chicken.

      #2 Clementine (who is bigger – weighing in at 10 pounds) was rescued from a breeding facility. She was kept pregnant in a pen for the first 6 years of her life. As such… watching her eat is heart-breaking. It is exactly like watching a game of hungry-hungry hippos. Except that she stops and chokes and gags with deep ragged breaths every few bites… it hurts me to watch, but there isn’t anything I know of to prevent it. Especially taking into account that she has had many teeth removed due to severe decay – the raw meat was a serious choking hazard and more directly harmful to her health than the dry.

      Secretly, I’m thrilled they spared me from that for their respective reasons. I cannot image giving them a vegetarian diet – everything I’ve read suggests that while humans probably don’t suffer harmful effects – maybe dog’s bodies don’t work well without meat.

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