I EAT meat.
There. I said it. I’m waiting for the lightening bolt. Or the lentil bolt. Or whatever it is all those who take issue with my choice might throw at me.
I’ve always eaten meat. When I don’t, I actually crave it. I am one huge carnivore (because omnivore doesn’t sound quite so dramatic).
Does that mean I don’t care about animals? No. Does it make me less spiritual? I don’t believe so.
Why am I coming out now (and it does feel a bit like that)?
1) because I’m tired of people assuming I’m either vegetarian or vegan, just because I follow a spiritual path and like to meditate.
2) I’ve just had someone attempt to take me to task over double standards (at least I THINK that’s what was being suggested) because I said I would never kill a spider.
For me, there’s a massive difference between eating something raised for that purpose and killing something simply because you don’t like it or are afraid of it. If a cow wandered through my front door, I wouldn’t attempt to squash it, even if I did have a giant fly swat to hand, just as I choose not to kill spiders, flies, moths or any other creatures.
Killing through fear or dislike is, for me, an entirely different matter and can’t be fairly equated with eating meat. And thank goodness, or people would be killing dogs, snakes, cats, bank managers, politicians, Facebook trolls and any other beings people are commonly phobic of without a second thought!
In opting to eat meat, I take care to check where the animal has come from and how it has been treated as much as possible; I shop at my local organic butcher when I can, I won’t buy eggs that are not free range and, out of personal preference, I avoid dairy quite a lot. Why dairy? Let’s just say I’ve spent a fair bit of time behind the scenes when it comes to animal and dairy production and made some personal choices accordingly.
Do I start a moral crusade against anyone I meet who loves to guzzle double cream? No – each of us has free will and we all have to live in a way that works for us.
I’m not perfect, and I don’t claim to be so. My ideals might not meet your ideals and vice versa but, you know what, we all have to share this world, and we all have to live by our own internal compass. Equal doesn’t always mean ‘the same’, just as different doesn’t always mean ‘wrong’.
There’s a massive grey area when it comes to animal meat and by products, and there’s a massive trench of judgement out there. What’s more, many of us are full of dichotomies – me included!
I choose to eat meat. I choose to feel passionately about the welfare of animals bred for their meat, just as I feel passionately about conditions when it comes to wild game, and have pretty strong personal opinions about who, and who should not, be able to hunt those animals and birds, and the need to have some way to ensure that the marksman is a good shot, rather than anyone who happens to be able to afford a gun, a safe to keep it in and a license. I also struggle to understand people who derive pleasure from the taking of life, rather than seeing their chosen ‘sport’ as a job that needs to be done for the greater welfare of the beings in question.
I am totally opposed to the fur trade, yet I have no issue recycling old animal byproducts and rebirthing them as ceremonial/medicine items, where the spirit of that animal might be honoured, just as I have no issue using the skins of deer bred for meat for drums and rattles. It’s about being respectful as possible and, in the event of an animal being bred for its meat (or being culled as part of herd control in the wild), I believe as much of that animal’s remains should be used as possible, so that its life might not have been in vain.
Personally, the issues come when animals aren’t cared for properly, when their living conditions are cramped, unclean or simply cruel, or when care is not taken to ensure end of life is as stress and pain-free as possible. And, for those of us who DO eat meat, this is where we can make a difference, simply by choosing where to buy our meat and asking questions.
And you know what, we could go on and on and on about this. I could harp on about antelope medicine (anyone here read the Sams/Carson Medicine Cards book?) for starters. As an animist, I believe everything has an energy and is, therefore, alive in some way. I remember one of my shamanic teachers – also a meat eater – telling the circle I was working in at the time that we killed a carrot every time we bit into one. Where do we draw the line? Your line might be in a very different place to mine, and I respect that, just as I would hope you’d respect the positioning of mine.
Now, where’s that spider? I’ll just go and ask how she can live with herself for dining on all those flies…
Until next time,
Walk in truth and beauty,
PS: Do feel free to comment, but please let’s not turn this into an argument. I didn’t post this to start a debate, I posted it to answer questions and to point out that things aren’t always as black and white as we’d like them to be. Whether or not you eat meat, dairy or GMO food is really none of my concern; we must all make our own choices in this life and, so long as we’ve educated ourselves fully in making those choices, it’s up to us to live by them.