Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hypocrite?

I wish I could recall where or when I heard this, but the idea was expressed by someone somewhere that people who eat meat but aren't willing to hunt and kill the animal themselves were hypocrites, enjoying their meat because it no longer had a face and they weren't responsible for putting it on the plate.

I have thought about that for a long time.  Which is why I no longer remember the opinion's origins.  I do apologize for that.  I eat meat.  I do not eat a lot of meat, because honestly, except for bacon and sausage I am not a huge fan of meat.  But I eat it, and occasionally, I am not ashamed to admit, I even like it.  Am I a hypocrite?

I would not be willing to hunt and kill an animal.  I thought about that for a long time.  So do I come to the conclusion that if I am unwilling to butcher the animal, and slice up the meat myself before cooking and eating it I am a hypocrite?

I don't want to be a hypocrite.  I started thinking of all the other things in this world that I support, and am glad that someone else does for me because I would not want nor be able to do myself. Take open heart surgery.  I am fully in support of open heart surgery for people who need it.  I would not however be able to slice into someone's chest to do the work myself.  Does that make me a hypocrite?

I would not ever want to be part of one of Mike Rowe's Dirty Jobs.  If you have ever watched the show you know there are a lot of unpleasant jobs out there.  I am grateful that someone does those jobs for me so that I don't have to.  Does that make me a hypocrite?

Do you remember Gary Paulsen's The Hatchet?  When I originally was thinking about this, I kept using the word "never". I would never be able to kill an animal. I would never be able to cut into someone's chest. I would never be able to crawl around in a sewer, or wherever.  Then I remembered The Hatchet.  If I were dropped into that book, Inkheart style, I would come to a point where it was a choice between starvation or killing an animal.  I'd do it then.  If I had my babies with me, and they were crying in hunger, I would come to that point even faster.  If one of them got a cut and then an infection in their leg that became gangrenous, I would find a way to amputate.

Does it make me a hypocrite that I am grateful to live in such luxury that I would only ever have to do these things in times of extreme need for survival?

Please note: I do not have anything against vegetarians, I just hope that they are making sure to get all of the nutrients they need.  Although, that is something that we all need to keep in mind.
Please note: I have nothing against people who do hunt and kill animals, I recently went to a "RoadKill Party" hosted by my neighbor, with animals that he had hunted.  Including beaver in a crockpot. Bet you've never seen that before.

6 comments:

  1. If you're a hypocrite, then most of us are hypocrites. (I think you're ok.)

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  2. I think hypocrite is the wrong label. Have we distanced ourselves, perhaps too much, from where our food comes from? I'd say the answer to that is yes. (I doubt many of us would purchase our beef at the store anymore if we saw the conditions those cows lived in at a CAFO.)

    I think hunting and dressing your own meat or killing your own chicken can give you a greater respect and appreciation for the life of the animal that you are eating. But I also think some people are capable of having that respect without having to personally do the killing. And, let's face it, not all of us would be amazing hunters.

    So, basically, I don't think anyone who eats meat but doesn't want to kill it themselves is necessarily a hypocrite. But I do think we should be looking for how we can place less distance between ourselves and our food and how we can show more respect for the animal that gave it's life for our meal.

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  4. I found two definitions of hypocrite from my favorite dictionary: 1. a person who puts on a false appearance of virtue or religion or 2. a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.

    So, obviously the first definition is completely inapplicable, and I think you're safe for the second definition as well.

    If you stated "I love killing animals," but you then marched in parades or acted out against hunters, then you would be a hypocrite. Or if you said "I could never kill an animal," and then you went hunting with your besties for the weekend, then you would be a hypocrite.

    But eating meat that someone else has killed for you and not being eager to kill the animal yourself is not hypocritical in my book.

    It is something of a . . . paradox though. (Is that the word I'm searching for?) Here's the thing though, Ames, if we had been raised in a culture where killing our own meat was the norm and necessary for survival, I'm pretty confident you would be able to do it. I don't think there were a whole lot of vegetarians back in the day. Partly because I don't think food storage was advanced enough for vegetarianism to be feasible throughout the whole year.

    So, no, I do not think you are a hypocrite, but I do think you are a product of your life experiences. And since we all are, to different extents, that's not such a bad thing to be. :)

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  5. This has caused me much pause:
    http://www.meat.org/

    Paul McCartney is the spokesperson. It is a VERY difficult thing to confront, and watch. But being ignorant of the atrocities in the way we produce our food will ensure that it never changes. This needs to change.

    Do not eat before, during, or after watching this for a while.

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