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A month without meat

I read Working Undercover in a Slaughterhouse: an interview with Timothy Pachirat at BoingBoing today. Right before I went for my morning run, actually.

Normally when I run, I think about what I want to work on, writing-wise. Or if I really get in the zone, I just sort of let the music wash around between my ears and don't think about much of anything. But today, I couldn't get that interview out of my head.

Not because there's anything particularly shocking about it. Really, it's less graphic than excerpts from Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma that talk about slaughtering chickens, or portions of Temple Grandin's books. There's nothing overtly disgusting, and it's not a brutal expose of industrial filth or unusual animal suffering.

But I guess that's the thing that really stuck in my head about it. That it was all very routine and business as usual. The interview is very much about the industrialization of violence, in this case violence against animals. And the way the many workers dissociate themselves from that violence by laying it all at the feet of the few that actually deal with the animals in the last moments of their lives. And as consumers, we're even more in that dissociative boat.

It bothers me, and I need more time to think about why. This could really develop into a complex ethics monologue of the sort that I generally despise reading, so I'm not going to do that to myself or to you. But if it bothers me so much that twelve hours later I am still thinking about this, that tells me I have some mental dissonance that I need to resolve.

I like hamburgers, and I like steaks. However, I don't know if I like them that much.

So I've decided for the next month, I'm going to go without meat and see how I feel. My plan is to go for the wussiest variety of vegetarianism out there, which is to say I'm keeping eggs and dairy, and I've already admitted to myself that I love sushi too much to even consider giving up fish. But at the very least, I'm done eating anything warm blooded for the next thirty days.

We'll see if I'm dying for a hamburger on April 8. Right now, I can't really tell.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
seraphim_grace
Mar. 9th, 2012 08:37 pm (UTC)
Have you ever read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" it was a damning indictment of the meat industry and led to some reforms
but it's seriously very funny, in a sort of dark slapstick way
in many ways it's literature's great slasher flick, everyone dies in new and inventive ways - thanks to the meat industry
apparently people who read it back in the 1920's or whenever it was published went right off meat, I laughed till my sides hurt
it's laudably jingoistic and was meant to get everyone socialist, instead it put loads of them right off meat and improved not the worker's conditions but those of the cow
but seriously when characters can't even walk down the street without falling off the side walk (a raised planking) and being crushed to death by meatwagons someone needs to admit he might have gotten a bit carried away.
katsudon
Mar. 9th, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
I haven't actually read that book, but I've been meaning to for a long time. Sounds like it's definitely worth it.
seraphim_grace
Mar. 9th, 2012 08:49 pm (UTC)
it's not a bacon sandwich kind of book, and hotdogs will look a bit, ... for a while, but if you accept the basic rule that

fresh meat is better than
dog meat is better than
mcdonalds meat is better than
sausage meat is better than
tinned meat is better than
snack meat

you're usually fine

it's just, well, you'll see, it's not as dry as you'd think either
katsudon
Mar. 9th, 2012 09:00 pm (UTC)
Haha, I'm not going to be eating meat for a while anyway.
gookachu
Mar. 13th, 2012 06:06 pm (UTC)
well, make sure you eat plenty of protein. one of the biggest problems with vegetarian diets is lack of protein and iron. well, malnutrition in general.

i honestly find the whole food thing a bit perplexing. call it lack of ethics or morality, or just apathy, but i just _don't_care_. i've hunted and slaughtered my own food. my dad used to think it great fun to throw trachea at my brother and i when we helped with butchering deer.

it's one of those bizarre, 1st world problems that frankly cracks me up, the whole BS of "real food" vs. extraterrestrial food,i guess; all the organic BS and localvores (which, i might add, actually dumps more CO2 into the environment than standard big-box grocery stores), etc. it's white, middle-class guilt mixed with 1st world problems.

i'm the top of the food chain. i have no guilt about this. a buffy quote seems apropos of this: "You came in and you killed them and you took their land. That's what conquering nations do. It's what Caesar did, and he's not goin' around saying, "I came, I conquered, I felt really bad about it.""
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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