18 May, 2009

mind changing

those who know me, know well that i have a matching set of fairly strong, well-formulated opinions on a number of issues.

those who know me well, know that i am open to discussion and having my mind changed with well supported arguments. i am not an ass (most of the time).

still, it isn't all that often that i find my mind fundamentally changed by a book. twice now, i have read a book of essays that has subtly but permanently altered my worldview. i am now reading a third book that is pushing me in a new direction once again.

all three books* were written by the same author, one of my all time favourites: barbara kingsolver -  biologist, author, farmer, crusader and, apparently, enemy of the state.

although i love her fiction, it was her books of essays that have snagged my attention, spun me around, and changed my mind. her latest, animal, vegetable, miracle is doing it again.

the book, beautifully written and well thought out, talks about what and how we eat, and the answers, though heartbreaking, are hardly surprising, given the well documented obesity and diabetes epidemic that is sweeping the continent. so although i have been trying to be more diligent about eating locally (do i take the organic apples from chile, or the non-organic from washington state?) and supporting my local farmers, i will now try harder (goodbye, pineapple!)

but that's not the sea change i am talking about (or, to be more precise, the possibility of sea change). so what am i talking about? i am talking about meat. while ms. kingsolver is dead set against feedlot operations (anyone with a fully functioning head and heart ought to be), she is also fairly firm in condemning vegetarianism or veganism based on "loving the little animals" and she makes a very good point.

choosing to eat ethically raised and harvested meat is more honest, says the author, than eating vegetarian only and turning a blind eye to the wholesale habitat destruction and animal "collateral damage" that is part and parcel of the growing of soy and grain in north america. 

since i have never been a big fan of the school of thought that preaches that all killing is wrong (i doubt the preachers have let a mosquito nosh on their blood unpunished, or left a bacterial infection untreated), and have personally been nauseated by the fluffy rainbow mentality of "no kill" animal shelters, i guess it is no far stretch for me to have my mind changed by her superbly argued point of view.

does this mean i will start to eat meat? probably not: i don't like it that much. but i will most certainly start to purchase mister monkey's meat from the local farmers, and if i ever find myself in some small italian town and get offered grilled homemade rosemary garlic sausage, i might just have a bite.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

!!! wow i want to see this book that has turned you on to not being turned off by meat! in my opinion, love for the little animals is a great reason not to eat meat - not one i subscribe to, but a good one.
- j