Recently, a silly little youtube video made the Facebook rounds. Unsuspecting shoppers tried and loved the sausage samples they got at the supermarket. Aiming to please the instant gratification wishes, the deli guy runs the world’s cutest piglet through a machine that spits out ready-made sausage instantly. Each shopper is horrified. One spits out her sausage, another bursts into tears, others stand there incredulously, a hand to the mouth in disbelief.
Its a pretty common malady: people have no idea where their food comes from. Shopping at the local warehouse club or grocery store shows rows and rows of tidy and value-priced blocks of meat that don’t usually bear much semblence to the animal from which they came.
They buy sausage links by the box, ground beef in a tube, and ‘chicken’ in already pre-made patties and ‘nuggets’. I doubt there is much connection between that and what went on to make it to the store. No doubt about it, industrial agriculture is a ruthless and calculated bitch. I read an article yesterday about a CEO making the observation that being profitable isn’t considered enough — but that each year there has to be more profit, at any expense to others. The industry that brings you food is a bit like that. That is why extenders like ‘pink slime’ are around and why floor-room-cuts find their way into food.
There is a real tendency for us to disassociate with the realities of foods and animals that become our foods because most of us are no longer intimately involved in that process.
We think of wild game as Bambi and Thumper and give animals human traits and personalities. Some of us even dress up our dogs like bunnies, because its pretty fucking cute. But. Some of those same people may have a problem with the reality of how said cute pig houses tasty bacon. Oh sure, bacon is fine as long as we don’t have to think about how it gets there, we just want to eat it.
Or maybe if we don’t want to it, yeah, we’ll stick to chickens instead. And fish. Those aren’t cute. We don’t dress them up for Halloween. Or do we?
With the reasons behind naming our food, dressing it up to distressing levels of cuteness and cartoonizing animals into our children’s bff, its no wonder we don’t have any real relation between responsibility to the food we take from animals and why the thought of doing so freaks so many people out.
So all together now, deep breaths. Meat comes from animals. Animals don’t wear bow ties and tutus (unless you put them on them) and they’ll be fine without them. If you want to eat meat, start by being involved in the process or working with people who are. And if you don’t want to eat meat, thats fine too. But save your coffee grounds and scraps for someone who is gardening to help them replenish the earth.