Tuesday, December 22, 2009


It's relevant to this story that I'm vegetarian, and my policy with the kids is that when they truly understand the animal/meat connection, they can decide whether they want to eat meat. Until then, they're vegetarian by default. Sidamo has been working hard on understanding the animal/meat connection lately, and I try to engage him in the conversation without imposing any of my judgments on the issue, since I really and truly don't care whether other people eat meat. Honest. I want it to be a completely personal decision for the kids, and I don't plan to try to influence it in any way.

Today, walking home from school, Sidamo and I were talking (at length) about why dogs like to chase cats, how some dogs mistake cats for food, and how it's really not a nice idea for dogs to eat cats, since cats are people's pets, and people would be sad if their pets were eaten.

Sidamo: Yeah, but dogs can eat other kinds of meat, like people eat. People mostly eat cows, and also pigs, and also chickens, but mostly pigs. And also buffalo, like Daisy ate for dinner and also for breakfast. [ed's note: Very sweet that he remembers Daisy's last meals.]

Me: You're talking a lot about meat. Are you feeling curious about it?

Sidamo: Yeah, I'd like to try to eat meat.

Me: When do you think you'd like to try it?

Sidamo: Tomorrow. 

Me: Hmm. What kind of meat do you want to try?

Sidamo: Cat.

So if anyone knows of any cage-free, free-range, hormone-free cat farms, wouldja let me know?


lisa said...

Hmmm-I have wondered what your philosophy was-and I apologize in that my comment is deeper than Damo's interest in cats-or maybe not ; ) I've never really been able to get the animal/meat connection myself. It bothers me, but on my list of injustices in the world, it's pretty far down. And I am still not entirely convinced that there aren't some body types that need meat, based on some of the severe cravings and deficiencies friends have suffered, as well as my constant nutritional research (I can find convincing arguments both ways).
Our vegetarianism is much more rooted in food economics in relation to humanitarianism, and healthy sustainable lifestyle. As I reflect on this, I realize that a part of my core experience is that two of my grandmother's siblings died of starvation as toddlers. We were certainly never told to finish our plate in this context, but I have come to realize how much my grandmother's extreme childhood deprivation has shaped my family's values over the years.
So, we don't eat meat at home, but my kids eat what is served with friends and family, where we trust the preparation (we don't trust institutions that serve children cake for breakfast ; ). I hope this gives them a foundation for good choices in the future.

rebekah said...

Ok, first of all, I don't know Amy, but I love her comment. Secondly, Sidamo really needs to know that if and when a person starts eating meat, bacon, I repeat, bacon, is the place to start. Bacon, sidamo.

Anonymous said...

As my kids are exposed to a lot of hunting, I've often wondered when kids are old enough to understand the meat/animal connection. My 3 year old always asks what he's eating and we respond by telling him which animal (as it's usually antelope or deer or elk) ... but he also thinks that Daddy shot the plastic geese decoys in the garage, so I'm not sure he 100% gets it!

Anonymous said...

There's a free range cat in our alley. By which method would you prefer I skin him?

Christina said...

lol. ditto lisa as far as our reasons for having a vegetarian household, and great food for thought in the post and comments.