27 February 2008

If so, Rage! [an anagram]

Article recently read: celebrates the delicacy of eating the fattened livers of force-fed ducks. Dismisses the opinions of folks protesting the manufacture of these duck livers as uninformed if not uninspired. Complains that said protesters should busy themselves griping in front of big poultry farms pushing dead abused chicken into the American market rather than bother with a few thousand innocent force-fed and killed ducks.

Blog commentors agree with this view by and large.

I go and throw up.

I used to eat meat. I particularly loved chicken livers. They were cheap and tasty with a bit of sage and I really didn't think twice about it. Then, basically on a dare, I became a strict vegetarian. And that -- with the exception of a plate of crabs at a pool-side feast one year -- was that. I never became a vegetarian with any political or social goals. I just figured it wasn't that hard to do and further, I'd save some money and get healthier.

Years pass.

Here I am reading this article and I get the same feeling that I got not long after I quit smoking years ago: it's all marketing. I smoked for years. Despite the fact that family members died of lung cancer. Despite the fact that I kept getting sick. I smoked because I smoked. And that was that.

Until I went cold turkey.

And before long, I started to have these feelings of anxiety. But it wasn't just lack of nicotine. It was the feeling that for so long I'd been duped into buying smokes. I felt like I had been abused by marketing.

And I feel the same way about meat. I quit eating red meat around age seventeen and I cut everything else -- poultry, fish -- from the diet maybe three or so years ago. And reading this article brought back the same feelings that I had when I quit smoking -- I felt like through all those years eating meat, I had been a pawn in a marketing game.

Because we don't need to eat meat. It is, in fact, the ultimate created need. We are sold the idea that we need to eat meat. We are sold the idea that we need to eat the dead flesh of a bird for dinner. We are sold the idea that we have to use our superior intellect to fatten and kill lesser beings for the purpose of giving thanks or fulfilling our culinary curiosity.

Fact is: we pleasure in the death of innocent beings.

And I will not be a part of it anymore. I am made sick by this article I read today. My old leather jacket will become siding. My dress shoes memento mori.

Alas. I am no saint. Who knows how many animals suffer on my behalf. I do my best, but I'm a realist.

And I am not condemning sustenance. There are people who depend on meat in lieu of alternatives. I have no right to judge and I ask forgiveness from you my friends for being so egotistical.

But where someone makes the effort to order such a dish as foie gras, in light of what that represents -- nothing more than sheer luxury, a created need -- I can not hold back my criticism.

Food should be something enjoyed that nourishes the body and celebrates and sustains the diversity of our ecology. The fattened livers of force-fed birds don't qualify as such.

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