CFN – I was given a book by a friend not too long ago which I am just getting around to reading, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan. So much interesting information…”Our ingenuity in feeding ourselves is prodigious, but at various points our technologies come into conflict with nature’s ways of doing things, as when we seek to maximize efficiency by planting crops or raising animals in vast monocultures. This is something nature never does, always and for good reasons practicing diversity instead. A great many of the health and environmental problems created by our food system owe to our attempts to oversimplify nature’s complexities, at both the growing and the eating ends of our food chain.” So many eye opening thoughts just in the introduction. I think many of us are so far removed from the growing and preparation of our foods that we haven’t the slightest idea of what practices are being incorporated into the production of our food nor of all the ingredients we are actually ingesting. As we become plumper, sicker, and ever increasingly fatigued, having a good look at the food which we ingest to fuel and nourish our bodies and the practices incorporated in getting this food to our dinner table, one may be enticed to rethink the dinner menu in favour of food options which have mindful reverence for all life.
Did the chicken in the nuggets you are about to eat have feelings? Did it feel nervous in certain social situations? Did it feel anxious when it was separated from its family or friends? These might seem like obtuse questions however sometimes I think we have forgotten that animals can feel. I’m certain they feel anxious when penned up in a small container with others of their kind with barely enough room to turn around or sit comfortably. They feel pain when a beak, wing or leg is cut or broken.
A little while ago I was visiting a senior residence and a Petting Zoo owner made a special visit with several farm animals for the morning. There were rabbits, sheep, goats and chickens that the residents were able to watch, pet and hold if they wished. There were two chickens there that had been raised together from hatchlings. They were different breeds. The male was about twice the size of the female due to the breed difference. These two were obviously close friends as it was plainly evident that when someone would pick up one to introduce to one of the guest residents the other would immediately become anxious and try to get closer to wherever the first was located. Yes animals feel! That being said I know when I choose to eat meat I would like it to be an animal that has lived a life happily. Let it be an animal that has been raised in a warm clean environment with room to roll and play with others of its species. An animal that has been treated with love and respect by its handlers. An animal that will leave this world by the hands of a person or business that will insure that it takes that journey as quickly and painlessly as possible. If spending the time in the company of a grumpy spirit can adversely affect our wellbeing surely ingesting the body of a being treated with reverence and respect will nourish us more than we can comprehend.
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