A week or two ago, a friend from work and I decided it would be a good idea to grab a bite to eat and catch up. After discovering I was a vegetarian, he kindly suggested restaurants that he knew had sizable vegetarian sections in their menus. We chose a place not too far from where we were. On the way to the restaurant, we talked about my dietary habits and the beliefs behind them. He was genuinely interested in them.

We arrived at the restaurant, and while looking at our menus, our conversation progressed. He mistook venison for veal, and we began to talk about how horrible the idea behind veal was. He knew that calves were tied down and "fattened up" for months before slaughter, but this wasn't enough to persuade him to admit that it was "wrong" to consume veal. My disdain for the practice was obvious, but I was in no way accusative. The waiter arrived and my friend proceeds to talk to the waiter about veal and how it is produced. After sharing obviously similar opinions, the two ended the conversation with a hearty chuckle and by admitting "it might be mean, but it's soo tasty!!". I put my hands to my face in an effort to conceal my obvious discomfort with the conversation. 

My question is simple. How can someone be fully aware that they are patronizing a practice that is so obviously immoral and still gladly consume what is in effect the carcass of a tortured, slaughtered infant? What are other people's views on the subject? I'm curious to know how others would have reacted in my situation, or if people could share a similar circumstance.

Sensual gratification should never take priority over the comfort and wellbeing of any animal, human or nonhuman. 

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I've never come across that before. I've witnessed people acknowledge where it comes from and still eat it, but never laugh about it. That's disturbing.

My mum is aware of how meat ends up on her plate but she flat out refuses to talk about it because it upsets her, yet still she eats it because she likes the way it tastes. I once tried to show her and my brother of pig farms but they wouldn't watch it, which I don't blame them for, but their reasons were different than mine - they don't want to know. They like their bacon in the morning, they like the burgers in the afternoon because it tastes nice.

Everyone is different. Each person is going to have a way of dealing with things. I guess some people are ruled by taste and don't have the will power to give it up. It's not an issue that concerns them.

I know, I was really put off by the laughter. (yours) is the same story with my mom. She was a vegetarian when I was little for about six months, then had to quit because of the time and effort she had to put into it, coupled with raising kids and going to college while working. Now she is an animal lover and despises animal cruelty, but refuses to discuss the evils of the meat/dairy/egg industries. She's an amazing and compassionate person, but sometimes I do wish people would grit their teeth and stop turning blind eyes to what really matters. Thanks for the thoughtful reply. 

Hi! My mother does the same thing.. I tried to show her that the animals are kept in horrible conditions, then killed and that what she's eating are dead animals' bodies, but she just doesn't want to listen.. On the other hand, she said she could never kill an animal with her own hands.. I told her that this is exactly what she's doing, by consuming the "meat".. Also, i said to her: "If a person pays a murderer to kill other people, then the first one takes those people's bodies, cook them and eat them, who's the guiltiest? The one who was paid to murder them, or the one who cooked and ate them? BOTH of them are!".

T honk the laughter reveals their discomfort, not mirth. It is a way to avoid the deeper feelings.
Vicky, that is exactly where I am with my family. They won't listen to me or watch movies about it because it is too painful, yet they continue to eat the creatures they can't bear to watch being mistreated. Odd. Very odd. But to say they are "fully aware" is not correct. A fully aware person does not take any part in the suffering of another sentient being. Namaste.

I think I'd have reacted the exact same was as you. I wouldnt say anything and/or cause an arguement but i'd be in disbelief about how someone can know about where veal comes from and laugh about it being tasty. Its just pure cruel!

I've had alot of people also say to me that meat tastes too good to give up and that a 'Veggie diet is boring'...... I just say dont knock it til you've tried it. I actually find my Veggie diet to be alot tastier than any meat dish I ever had. As more emphasis is put on spice and seasoning you get so many more flavours and even textures than a meat diet.

Kitty, I agree with you. Vegetarian food is super spicy. I love it. A friend of mine tried something I made at my house and said oh my gosh that is so spicy. I said welcome to the world of vegetarian dishes.

Kitty- I agree with the idea of a vegetarian diet being more flavorful than a non vegetarian diet. Look at Indian cuisine, for example. Most of it is vegetarian and it's some of the sweetest, spiciest stuff on the planet haha. I love Indian food. Mediterranean food is also really good and has a ton of vegetarian options. Some days I could eat only hummus and be perfectly happy. And the best part? Hummus is good for you!

Joana-I agree with both you and Kitty that people who can acknowledge and support suffering are...I just can't understand them. I guess what gets me most about people like that is there's no reasoning with them. You can't just present the facts and hope to change their minds. The hopelessness can be really disturbing. 

As someone who wants to work in the field of nutrition, I'd definitely tell people that eating solely on what's "sooo good" isn't good at all, considering that we find high-energy content (fat being higher in energy than carbs or protein) to be delicious. Likewise, it is a poor justification. If human meat was delicious, or dog meat, I would not eat that either. My father- who is a huge meat-eater- has eaten dog, horse, ostrich, alligator, you name it.... *winces* and he says that dog actually tastes really good. I like to bring this up whenever I see someone suffering from select compassion who say that eating dogs is evil, but eating cows is okay and dandy because their culture permits it.

Cognitive dissonance is very evil. "I already eat this product, so while I pay lip service to how evil this practice is, I will continue doing as I have always done. Change is hard. Just commenting on how I lament the deaths of baby cows is enough, surely." People don't take it seriously, they talk about it like some fantastical situation that doesn't happen.

I agree with your last statement, SOOO much. "Sensual gratification should never take priority over the comfort and wellbeing of any animal, human or nonhuman." I love sex, but that does NOT give me the right to go out and rape people to get what I want... then go, "I hate raping people... but oh, sex is great! Hee hee! Just gotta get laid."

Exactly. As humans, we pride ourselves in our advancements but then turn around and obey evolutionary cues that are millions of years old. In my opinion, it's extremely hypocritical. We have dragged human rights into the light, but animal rights is an issue that (IMO) still languishes in the dark ages. The fact that we use cutting edge technology to rear more animals to suffer and die is disturbing. We know now that animals have extremely developed nervous systems and are capable of basic emotions such as fear, anxiety, depression, loss and hopelessness. Yes, in nature the strong subdue the weak, but 99.999 % of human don't rely on nature for anything anymore. Not the way we used to. We do not (as a species) coexist with nature to the extent to abide by natural law. We were lucky enough to become sentient. Now we need to realize this and give up our primitive vices. 

So much agreed. We are so far aside from the natural order of things, and if we are to claim to be intelligent and highly evolved, we should act that way. xoxo

I guess by laughing they are just trying to hide their embarassment, because they couldn't bring themselves to stop eating meat. Guess this is human nature and we leave it to themselves to decide as we can never change others but ourselves. :)

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