On Eating Animals: Part 4

Dani Allen

Staff Reporter

I’ve been a naughty little nugget. I’ve still been eating meat. Or at least I was until I read about how chicken in processed in this country. Without going into too much detail, I’ll mention some points that stuck out to me. When the machines in processing plants slice the chickens open, the intestines often tear and leak feces onto the meat. This feces, along with the chicken meat, is then dipped into a cold-water bath to chill. This bath, ironically, spreads the feces to the other chickens in the bath, contaminating them. Workers at these processing plants are known to refer to this mixture as fecal soup. Up to 11% of the weight of chicken sold to grocery stores can be this “fecal soup” that has been absorbed into the meat. Tasty. I’ve been re-inspired by this lovely bit of knowledge to once again (attempt to) take on the burden of vegetarianism.

———-Several days later———-

Today I was strong! I took up the sword of ethical vegetarianism and…ate a grilled cheese sandwich. Epic, I know. The point is I made a conscious decision to not eat meat. Shamefully, despite all my talk, this is only the second time I deliberately did not eat meat and only the first time that the choice was an actual struggle.

The case of the grilled cheese sandwich (that sounds dramatic) fills me with both optimism and pessimism. On the one hand, I know that there is at least an inkling of will power within me, even if it’s just an inkling. On the other hand, there are going to be so many more eat meat/don’t eat meat choices to make and I know it won’t be easy or even plausible to avoid meat each time.

———-The next day———-

Day two in this barren wasteland called vegetarianism: corn. For dinner. Nothing else. Curses be upon you Glar! Even though cutting meat out of my diet means I have far less food options on any given day, it’s actually not so bad. Now that I’m trying out this whole vegetarian business, it’s not so scary or impossible to carry out, even if it means plain corn for dinner.

I haven’t finished reading Eating Animals but I will! Just not before the final newspaper deadline. As this will be the last commentary in this series for the year, I believe some conclusions are in order. I’ve compiled a brief list of factors that weigh into my final decision about eating meat: (1) Glar’s lack of food options, (2) the opinion of Jonathan Safran Foer, my most favorite author, and (3) how strong/weak my ethics are in directing my behavior. After mulling over these three essential points for the past few weeks, and last couple days in particular, I say nay to eating meat. There it is, the final decision.

But the truth is, this decision isn’t necessarily final. At this point in my life, under current conditions, and for the already mentioned reasons, I have made a particular decision. But my life won’t always be the same. There will be different conditions and reasons and who is to say I won’t end up indifferent to the issue (although I hope I won’t). The point is that for now I’m going to try my hardest to not eat meat. Maybe me being a vegetarian won’t improve the factory farming situation in America or even help the world in any way, but it is proof to me that I’m capable of making decisions and living by them. And the process of reading a book and responding to it with both actions and words is something I find deeply satisfying, even more so than a hamburger.