Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Accidental Vegetarian, VIII

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Could I kill?

Is the heart to eat meat again – beast in a pen, nurtured, understood, sacrificed, or beast hunted from the field, found when the animal is shot dead by arrow or bullet, blood touched to my forehead in ancient ritual, blood staining hands and soul?

If I could hunt, fish, or raise animals, if I could find myself in their presence, I might eat meat,

Now, though, away from the farm – away from the necessity of care – I choose not to eat the flesh of animal treated as raw material for a factory: heifers and steers crowded into small pens with access only to water and feed; chicks dumped into great sheds, beaks trimmed to prevent cannibalism, fueled with antibiotics and steroids so that they might reach slaughter more quickly.

And so I now choose consciously to continue my life without meat – a contrarian because of some unfocused belief all is not right in the world, in imitation of Isaac Bashevis Singer, "To be a vegetarian is to disagree – to disagree with the course of things today."

Is this thing of vegetarianism the deliberate attempt to be different for difference's sake, to stray from the herd, to renounce flesh as if it mattered, mattered only a little?

To be continued.

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