As you read this, keep one thing in mind: I’m an ethical vegan. Yes, my diet is vegan (no meat, dairy, eggs, or honey) but being an ethical vegan goes a few steps further. Not only have I replaced all my animal-sourced clothing and personal care products with cruelty-free versions, but I have “made the connection.” I not only recognize where meat comes from but I also have deep, emotional feelings attached to the animals that are purposefully (and needlessly) bred and raised to be raped, tortured, and killed for food.
So, as you read this blog post, please keep this in mind.
I was at the grocery store this week when something caught my eye. In fact, I had this feeling I was being watched. There on the shelf, among other travel and food magazines, was the new issue of Edible Finger Lakes, the regional culinary and travel publication for the area where I live in New York State. Staring at me, with an undeniable sadness in its eyes was a sweet piglet. Captured at a moment in time that now acts as a memorial to its life. This young piglet (former front cover magazine model) is now, surely, dead.
For no good reason. None.
To make matters worse, this piglet stood under the magazine’s masthead: “Edible Finger Lakes.” As if its only food and not a sentient being. As if it’s not an animal with a mother and a family and friends and a spirit attached to a will to live.
And this young piglet, with the unforgettable look in its eyes, stood alongside the words “Good Meat,” presumably a lead-in to an article about how wonderfully these animals are raised, and fed, and treated so that the consumer (animal eaters) are guaranteed the highest quality pork anywhere. And of course, like all good meat, I’m sure this piglet was humanely killed. Humanely killed good meat.
Is that all it is? We won’t know its name? Or where it lived? Or anything else about its short life. Just the fact that it’s existence is considered good meat?
What struck me the most, though, as I was leaving the store was that this innocent and trusting beast was most likely killed by the time I saw the magazine in the rack. Throat slit, skinned, bled, butchered, packaged and sold. Its life never mattered to anyone who crossed its path. Or looked it in the eyes. Or, took its photograph and decided to put it on the cover of a magazine.
When did humankind become so callous and uncaring and cold?
Is this really what we’ve become?
When did an intelligent and social animal, like a pig, become the “mascot” for bacon? Pigs aren’t made of bacon.
Hipsters, in your flannel shirts and thick-glasses and shaggy beards, please find another food to worship. Please. And Edible Finger Lakes, please try to be more compassionate in the future when choosing a front cover image.