“I don’t want someone needlessly dieing so that I can have a meal.”
Since we got our goats, I’ve been thinking a lot about my practice of eating meat. Our original intent was to raise the goats for both milk and meat, but it didn’t take long before we realized that this was going to be a lot easier in theory than in practice!!! Now that we’re interacting with and loving on them, I’m realizing that the idea of butchering one of these animals (or their offspring) is going to be very, very different than the actual practice of it. And I have to ask myself: can I do it? Should I do it?
Of course, my personal version of schizophrenia comes into play here, because I’m perfectly okay eating meat that someone else has raised, so long as I don’t have to love on or care for the animals myself. Isn’t it incredible, what autonomy can do? But, as a friend recently pointed out to me, what if I could walk alongside every animal I eat – be a part of the cows life from the time she is born, to the time that she dies and love her as intimately as I love my dog our cat – to know the cow or chicken or deer as intimately as God knows him? Would I eat him then? Should I eat him then?
And with that in mind, is it more right for me to eat someone else’s meat – meat taken from animals crowded into feedlots and poultry houses, subject to abuse by their handlers, fed massive quantities of foods they were never meant to eat – or to eat meat from an animal I have nurtured myself, an animal whom I have cared for and loved?
Some, including the above quoter, would say I shouldn’t eat either.
Here is what I think: I want to see the cow, the goat and the chicken, the way that God sees them. The person who wrote “I don’t want someone needlessly dying so that I can have a meal” falls short in his application of the word “someone.” By this word, they mean only certain types of “someones.” But what about a carrot, a tomato, or a pepper? These things, too, must die so that we may have a meal. And please, before we get into a debate regarding vegetarianism, understand my point:
In Gods eyes, is the carrot any less valued than the cow? I think it’s easy for us to use typical arguments like “carrots don’t feel pain” or “carrots don’t have emotions” to justify our consumption of them versus the cow, but in God’s eyes is there a difference? Is the carrot any less loved by God than the cow? If I could see the carrot the way God sees it, what would I see? Would I still hesitate more at butchering the cow, than at harvesting the carrot?
For reasons I can’t begin to understand, God has set us up in a world where living things must die so that other living things can live. Even humans are not exempt from this all-encompassing rule of nature. Every living thing, at some point, becomes food for another living thing. None of us can survive, otherwise. In light of this, my consumption of beef should make me value the carrot more, not less. It should make me more willing to raise my own animals for consumption, than to consume animals raised by others. In light of this, I believe I will not only be able to raise my own meats, vegetables, and fruits, but in doing so, I will be able to view all of God’s creation with just a little more awe, a little more humility, and a lot more love.