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Monday, 31 October 2011

Children and Animals #1

A few months ago 3 of my little cousins (all under 13) were eating meat and I was lurking in the kitchen.

''Nicola, why's this got red stuff in?''

''It's blood''

*Puzzled expressions*

''Because it's a dead chicken's leg''

*Horrified expressions*

Cue the rest of my family furiously telling the girls to ignore their lunatic cousin. Fast forward 3 months to the announcement one of them made that she's now vegetarian - I'm beyond proud of her!

I'm constantly thinking about the results of my actions and whether something I say will piss people off so much that they use it as ammunition against our cause. But in cases like this when I see a real opportunity for my message to be heard, I'm obliged to speak out.

A conversation with my Dad afterwards went something like this:

Dad: *Frowning* ''Come on Nic, you know you shouldn't have said that''

Me: ''Why?''

''You know why'' *looks at me as if I'm just being ridiculous*

''No I don't. Why shouldn't they know the truth?''

''Because they're too young, they should be shielded from stuff like that''

''Why, because if they knew the truth they wouldn't want to eat meat? If they're being forced to eat it, they deserve to know where it's come from. Either stop force feeding them the dead animals which you know they would choose not to eat if they were given the option, or tell them the truth. And if their parents are sure that they're doing the right thing by feeding them meat, then they should be fine with them knowing the truth.''

He agreed in principle but still felt uneasy about me saying things like that to the kids. Ellie is a bright little girl and I'm not suggesting my one statement turned her veggie (she read Charlotte's Web too) but children are just less indoctrinated, less brainwashed into the idea of gorging on flesh, they're so close to making the connection that all they need is to know the truth. Before they reach a certain age they don't defend their actions with pathetic excuses, they just get it. They agree and they're disgusted and I'll be damned if I'm supposed to let parents force feed our friends to compassionate little people without saying anything.


  1. Please don't think you are alone in encountering the strange idea that it is ok to surreptitiously or sneakily coerce or encourage children to eat the flesh of once living beings...but to openly say what is going on is somehow...horrible. Saying the words is seen somehow as being worse than doing the deed. Little wonder many of us human animals struggle with thinking clearly and rationally.

    Think of it! Your father, by saying: "Because they're too young, they should be shielded from stuff like that." was essentially saying it is ok to terrify and kill living beings for pleasure but it is not ok to say what you are doing...it's ok to do the deed but we must shield children from knowledge of the doing. And not just your father...that attitude permeates many families, mine included. Cultural brainwashing is potent crap indeed...and disheartening when encountered.

    Several years ago I was essentially banished from a thanksgiving meal because I said that we should offer apologies to those beings that were killed to make some of the food items possible.

    Ok to do...not ok to acknowledge...hide it...obfuscate...euphemise...camouflage...

    Rah Rah Nicola!!

  2. Mike and I always were honest about things like this with my stepsons while they were growing up. We couldn't see "shielding" them from it. I think you did the right thing!

  3. I'm not sure if I have told you this story before, so I'm telling it to you again: When I was a kid, and my little cousin was an even littler kid, we were on a road trip. I was probably about 9 and she was 4. We stopped for a lunch of hamburgers and fries. Back on the road we passed a field full of cows. I told my cousin that the brown cows were meat cows and the black and white ones were dairy cows. She looked at me puzzled. "Meat cows?" she asked. "Yeah," I responded. "Like the hamburger you just ate for lunch." Needless to say she was completely horrified. Right then and there, at the age of four, she decided to not eat meat ever again. She is 19 years old now and the loveliest vegetarian I know. But I have to wonder why didn't I make the connection the way she did? Why wasn't I disgusted? Maybe I was just too old and indoctrinated.

  4. Fantastic Nicola that you've had the courage to tread this very "holy" ground of the lies children are told!

    Not unlike VeganElder I too have been "banned" from interacting with the kids in my circle... Not that I've ever said anything about the murders - Or that I ever would (I'm not as brave as you) - But the mere mention of "vegetarian" gives rise to the questions... And well, then the parents are stuck with the inevitable dance of deception.

    I once had a discussion with a woman who raised 4 kids and had oodles of grands... She summed it up as to the way things go with discussions about meat: "Well you can't tell them the truth, now can you?!?"! In that moment I lost all respect for her... And realized how deeply entrenched this poison "secret" is.

    The frustrating thing is that it's the kids who most need to know because they are the most willing to be objective and compassionate... Yet they are usually strategically the hardest to get the message through to. Congrats on your straight forward, truth-telling honesty! Yep, the red stuff is definitely blood... And blood definitely hurts. :/

  5. Yes, it is an extremely touchy subject. I am a coward and keep my mouth shut rather than rile up the parents.

  6. Congrats to your cousin for becoming a vegetarian and congrats to you for speaking up. I hate confrontation, therefore I don't speak up like I should and voice my opinion. I really need to change that!!


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts, I look forward to reading them :-)

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