|“Now I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you anymore” Franz Kafka|
It was 1987 when I received the information I had requested from PETA. It was startling, full of graphic pictures of animals being slaughtered and descriptions of the horrible lives of "food animals".
I gave up beef and pork immediately, but kept eating chicken and fish. Chickens and fish aren't very cute compared to cows and pigs. For years, I held tight to my selective 'vegetarianism', even defending it when it was questioned. "Chickens don't count", I remember saying. The weird thing is that I truly believed it.
Emotions are easy to recognize on most mammals. I know exactly how my dog feels by looking at him. It made sense to me that pigs and cows were the same, but fish and chicken seemed emotionless and alien. And the only other option on the menu. ( a small city in Utah in the late '80's wasn't the most progressive place. It was hard to find a veggie meal!)
The information I received from PETA included stories about chickens, but I managed to skip them and agonized over the poor cows and pigs instead. Since then I've come to understand that every animal values its life, and doesn't deserve to be killed, whether it be furry or feathered. (or even a spider hanging out in your kitchen sink, but that's another blog post!) The more I watched them interact with each other, the more it was obvious that these little creatures loved their life!