Did you start eating meat?
December 6, 2012 12:17 PM Subscribe
My parents raised me to be a vegetarian. Now one of them isn't anymore.
posted by anonymous to religion & philosophy (46 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
From the very beginning I was taught that eating animals was cruel and unhealthy. I took to it easily, made it part of my identity and never questioned it. I'm in my mid-twenties now and I've never had a bite of meat.
A few years ago I went on a trip with my mother and nearly had my eyes pop out of my sockets when I saw her joyfully dig in to a freshly caught fish.
I've never truly been able to reconcile that with the values instilled in me as a child. Initially I was, why is she eating that poor fish? Later, why did she raise me not to? How could she change her mind?
She started craving it and felt it was good for her. Healthy, check.
The fish had a good life. It's what people have always done here. Humane, check.
She was always the more moderate parent. She would have the occasional glass of wine, while my father would never drink a drop. I decided early on that I like wine.
I started thinking about something uncomfortable. Maybe I should try eating wild fish? And if wild fish then maybe properly raised and pastured cows? And goats? Maybe eating meat in moderation isn't all that bad? After all, that's what my grandparents and their grandparents' grandparents did.
These are difficult questions for me. My parents taught me to use reason and always think critically (at least about everything else) but it's incredibly hard to question convictions that I've held all my life. It doesn't help that my dad is so vocal about his disapproval of people that eat animals.
Has anyone here been in a similar situation? Did you start eating meat? Just fish? Is it possible to only eat humanely raised meat? Is it even ethical?
Sorry for the rambling nature of this "question". I'm just looking for some insights, ideas and anecdotes after exhausting some of the literature on the subject and thinking that both sides, Singer/Foer (Animal Liberation/Eating Animals) and Pollan (Omnivore's Dilemma) make sense.
This part of Benjamin Franklin's Autobiography captures my feelings pretty well, especially the last sentence...
"I believe I have omitted mentioning that in my first Voyage from Boston, being becalm'd off Block Island, our People set about catching Cod and hawl'd up a great many. Hitherto I had stuck to my Resolution of not eating animal Food; and on this Occasion, I consider'd with my Master Tryon, the taking every Fish as a kind of unprovok'd Murder, since none of them had or ever could do us any Injury that might justify the Slaughter. All this seem'd very reasonable. But I had formerly been a great Lover of Fish, and when this came hot out of the Frying Pan, it smelt admirably well. I balanc'd some time between Principle and Inclination: till I recollected, that when the Fish were opened, I saw smaller Fish taken out of their Stomachs: Then thought I, if you eat one another, I don't see why we mayn't eat you. So I din'd upon Cod very heartily and continu'd to eat with other People, returning only now and than occasionally to a vegetable Diet. So convenient a thing it is to be a reasonable Creature, since it enables one to find or make a Reason for every thing one has a mind to do."