I love bacon. I love carnitas. I love peking duck. I love fried chicken. I love pork soup dumplings. I hate Jonathan Safran Foer.
Okay, so I don’t really hate him, but his book Eating Animals changed/ruined my life. I read Eating Animals thinking that it would reinforce my already existing practice to only eat grass-fed, free range animals, wild caught sustainable seafood approved by the Monterrey Bay Aquarium, and lots of veggies. I live in the Bay Area, home to the slow foods movement, farm to table education, and happy meat, so I thought I was pretty safe from any argument to become a vegetarian. Not only do I live in the Bay Area, but I live in Berkeley, where there are three farmers’ markets a week and it’s just as easy to buy grass-fed beef from the farmer that raised the cows as it is to buy factory farmed beef.
The thing I forgot about (aka conveniently failed to think about) is that these animals may lead happy lives roaming free in Petaluma, but at some point, someone needs to kill them so I can eat them and because of USDA abattoir (fancy name for a slaughterhouse) regulations, animals often need to be transported long distances to get to these facilities. These journeys often take hours in cramped, uncomfortable, and sometimes unsanitary conditions. What’s worse is that my favorite animal to eat, piggies, are really smart, probably as smart or smarter than my beloved dog, so they know exactly what is up – Farmer Brown, their beloved caregiver just sold them out, literally! For some reason, the image of little piggies freaking out, knowing they are about to be killed, knowing that their friends just got killed right before them, is more than my lefty liberal heart can stand. So, starting in March, I stopped eating mammals and poultry. I still eat seafood, but mostly I eat veggies, tofu, fake meat, and let’s be honest, an abundant amount of carbs and dairy. Clearly I’m not doing this for the nutritional benefits!
Now, let me be perfectly clear, I am not a gungho 110% committed vegetarian. I have an infrequent, but existing peking duck exception (exercised twice since March) that simultaneously racks me with guilt and delicious hoisin sauced pleasure. I am dreaming of the day when humane slaughterhouses are just down the road from where happy cows and pigs run free or when I am struck by amnesia and completely forget everything I read in Eating Animals, but until then, I am reluctantly refraining from eating meat.