Came across this article in the Guardian by Alex Renton from back in 2010 whilst researching whether or not I should take kids along to watch a lamb/pig/chicken be slaughtered…. It demonstrates my quandary entirely.
I don’t tell my kids what to eat. When I’m cooking for them, they eat a vegan diet because that’s what I buy and that’s what I’m having. When they’re at school or friends houses and we’re out in a restaurant or café they can have whatever they like. I figure that, as parents, so long as I equip them with the necessary knowledge and information to make their own decisions in life then that’s my job done. But this is easier said than done. When it comes to eating meat, dairy and eggs – what is the ‘necessary knowledge and information?’. Should I take them for a tour of the local slaughterhouse on Saturday? Should I make them watch a day old calf being dragged away from it’s mother and shot so that we can have its milk. Should I sneak them a peek inside a stinking, rotten hellhole of a chicken shed stuffed full of 30,000 chickens? Should I invite them to watch the live baby male chick maceration process…?
Probably not something a 3 and 4 yr old wants to see. Probably not something any adult wants to see. But then if we shelter our children from these things; these everyday things that are absolutely integral to the meat and dairy industry then are we really doing our job? Are we not creating a generation of ignorant, naïve, misguided children who will go on merrily eating meat without understanding the effects their food choices have on the animals they choose to eat, take milk from or farm for eggs.
If, as the article above linked to demonstrates, the reality of eating meat is something we want to hide our children from, then does that not tell us all we need to know about whether or not meat should be on the menu at all…?
All thoughts warmly welcomed!