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Meat: Yes or No?


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I teach Design and Technology and Food Technology at a secondary school. One of the lessons i run for my year 8 (12 year old) students is about Ethical Meat and the welfare of the animals we consume.

 

At the end of the lesson after several activities, videos, discussions and looks at both sides of the arguments of why people do/don't eat meat and many interesting debates on whether or not we should feel guilty for eating meat we have one final question.

 

Would you rather kill all the meat you'll ever eat for the rest of your life, or be a vegetarian forever?

 

 

and while all my students know that i do kill and butcher my own game meat on a regular basis, i liaised with our ethics teacher (vegetarian Buddist) to make sure the lesson is presented from both sides. the arguments are presented as unbiased as is possible. i don't want them to be vegetarian or to be inveterate meat eaters, i just want them to be conscious of  and responsible for whichever choice they make.

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I believe it's best to always present both sides of an issue to students. If for no other reason then it's the right thing to do, it makes the students "think". There's no better a lesson for a teacher to share with a student than the ability to think for oneself. Awesome approach Sasha Distan!

 

As for meat or no meat, for me personally, I didn't climb to the top of the food chain to eat grass :) Mark me down for yes, for meat. ;)

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The real lesson here is that no conscious, moral act is easy. Life as a vegetarian is a challenge. So is slaughtering and butchering your own meat.

 

Of course, your lesson fails to examine the third option - to buy meat from a grocer's without regard.

 

Still, I admire your balanced approach. If I were in your class, you'd be my favorite teacher.

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Sly - i like your honesty, a lot of the kids said that too. i was surprised at the number who wanted to know a bit more of the ins and outs before they would make their decision, because being townie kids, they have basically no experience of life in the wild world. they all think i'm some strange sort of creature for living in the middle of nowhere.

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At the end of the lesson after several activities, videos, discussions and looks at both sides of the arguments of why people do/don't eat meat and many interesting debates on whether or not we should feel guilty for eating meat we have one final question.

 

Would you rather kill all the meat you'll ever eat for the rest of your life, or be a vegetarian forever?

 

Hmm, I'm a feeble hypocrite - I couldn't kill animals unless it was survival. But I don't feel guilty as I tuck into my rare steak and the warm blood squirts down my throat :lol: I think I rationalise this by telling myself that the animals were humanely killed at a regulated abattoir after being stunned and rendered unconscious. However I now learn this is wrong and a lot of meat we buy is not humanely killed at all - the animals aren't stunned but have their throats slit while they're fully conscious. Now I'm conflicted :(

 

So I'll wriggle off your moral hooks and stick to fishing. Fish are very tasty and I don't mind bashing their brains out on a rock :)

Edited by Zombie
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I eat meat.  However, I haven't hunted in more than forty years.   Somehow after my tour in the military, hunting lost it's appeal.  I don't have any qualms about eating meat slaughtered by others.  Life is messy and you must learn to live with ambiguity.  If this is the most morally pressing question, anyone faces, then they have had it easy.

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I haven´t eaten meat since 1982. Can´t remember why I stopped eating it, probably just didn´t want to eat animals anymore. If they had had organic meat back then, I might have chosen that...

 

My cats eat meat, of course and very occasionally I buy some kind of meat if I have quests who I know prefer it. But then it´s something ready made. Being vegetarian is my choice and I don´t preach about it or try to convert other people. 

 

Being vegetarian means also that I need to read most labels at the grocery shop because especially gelatine can be found even in sweets and yogurts. 

 

Not sure if I should refer myself as a vegetarian since I do eat fish. As for killing for meat, I couldn´t do it. 

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Hmm, I'm a feeble hypocrite - I couldn't kill animals unless it was survival. But I don't feel guilty as I tuck into my rare steak and the warm blood squirts down my throat :lol: I think I rationalise this by telling myself that the animals were humanely killed at a regulated abattoir after being stunned and rendered unconscious. However I now learn this is wrong and a lot of meat we buy is not humanely killed at all - the animals aren't stunned but have their throats slit while they're fully conscious. Now I'm conflicted :(

 

So I'll wriggle off your moral hooks and stick to fishing. Fish are very tasty and I don't mind bashing their brains out on a rock :)

 

Urgh - the advent of Halal meat. Probably one of the cruelest things out there. it's all about knowing where your meat is from.

 

as for fish, that is not a humane way to die, and fish feel pain (hook through the throat, ouchie) on the other hand, fishy are yummy. i have big issues buying fish, because so much is trawl caught and destroys the ocean floor and so much natural habitat.

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I don't like the idea of any animals dying, so I chose to be a vegetarian and I don't eat much dairy or eggs... I don't really like the taste of meat or fish or chicken.

 

I don't understand why some people can kill animals for fun and then eat them, I wouldn't want something coming up and shooting me and then eating me, so why should animals have to go through that.

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I did eat meat and now I don't. And it's: Would you rather kill all the animals you'll ever eat for the rest of your life, or be a vegetarian forever. Meat is already dead.

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I am squeamish as all hell.  Let's just get that out of the way.  So I guess I have to go down the veggie route.  ...unless I found someone who would do all the... :puke: bloody stuff for me.  When I have the choice (that is when I'm not living in a developing country) I chose to buy meat that has been labeled kosher.  Shechita is something very important to a lot of people and it has a lot of rules and regulations.  Maybe it shouldn't, but it does make me feel a little better.  It's worth spending the extra money to know that they have been slaughtered as humanely as possible as set by the Shechita.  But then again, I'm not the one doing the hacking and slicing...so I guess I don't really know.

 

Btw, Zombie, I loved the LOTR reference about Gollum and the fish.

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I grew up on a farm, so I have always been a meat and potato man. 

 

It was kind of ironic that they built a housing development across from a rather large farm near where I lived at the time.  Over the years, you'd be surprised how many of those people complained that he was hanging a cow, pig or deer up to drain, so he could butcher it.  What did they expect moving in across from a farm in the first place.  I think that goes to show that people don't mind eating meat, as long as they don't have to see or be reminded of how they came by it. 

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I don't like the idea of any animals dying, so I chose to be a vegetarian and I don't eat much dairy or eggs... I don't really like the taste of meat or fish or chicken.

 

I don't understand why some people can kill animals for fun and then eat them, I wouldn't want something coming up and shooting me and then eating me, so why should animals have to go through that.

 

Bee - killing an animal for fun and killing an animal for meat are totally separate things. i would argue that they are mutually exclusive. Anyone who shoots a deer to make it a trophy or kills a wolf just to pose with a carcass can go to hell and i'll happily send them there myself. Killing for fun is wrong.

But killing for meat is different. There is no fun. You wait, you are patient. You only make the shot if you know, and are certain, that you will kill and not cause suffering. Afterwards you are glad of a job well done, of food moving through the natural cycle of life. we eat liver, kidneys, meat. we keep the skins to make winter booties, some of the bones are turned into jewellery by my friend. The guts and pieces we can't use are recycled by the wilderness, crows and foxes, stouts and the like.

I do not kill any animal for fun. a life is a life, and a death is a death, and it should be handled as such. Respect and care are our  watch words.

 

I did eat meat and now I don't. And it's: Would you rather kill all the animals you'll ever eat for the rest of your life, or be a vegetarian forever. Meat is already dead.

Addy - i try and merge the boundaries between "animals" and "meat" and often i will deliberately use the words interchangeably in class. The kids need to know that meat is animals and animal becomes meat. then they can make a decision about whether or not they are happy eating them. 

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Addy - i try and merge the boundaries between "animals" and "meat" and often i will deliberately use the words interchangeably in class. The kids need to know that meat is animals and animal becomes meat. then they can make a decision about whether or not they are happy eating them. 

That's it: animals become meat, animals aren't meat, that's plain wrong and disrespectful. I am well aware that you merge the boundaries, I wouldn't call this unbiased though.

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That's it: animals become meat, animals aren't meat, that's plain wrong and disrespectful. I am well aware that you merge the boundaries, I wouldn't call this unbiased though.

 

Ah, the unbiased bit is that i will tell them very plain and clear The Truth about what happens to animals when they become meat and where their meat comes from. After all, that 'meat' had a life, often a pretty poor one if it was bought in a supermarket. i find especially with the town-kids, that you need to really spell it out for them - they seem to think that meat is this magical thing that doesn't have a life before it gets on the shelf.

To be personally, out of the classroom, an animal is an animal, until it is killed to feed people. then it's meat.i think i usually make the split somewhere between it's death and the gutting process.

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Nothing against telling kids the truth, if it is needed. I'm all for it and I do it myself in class. However I usually tell them the same in and out of the classroom. I call it animal when it's alive and meat when it's dead and gutted as you put it. My kids understand that perfectly well. By the way I don't judge carnivores for their eating habit, it's their decision, as it's mine not eating meat. Sadly the not-judging is often a one-sided thing.

Edited by aditus
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My kids see it up close and that's a good thing. They had bows and guns in their hands from pre-school age on. They have safety rules and other lessons frequently. They see us hunt, they see us butcher, they see us eat the meat. The last few times we've gotten deer we've had them help with the skinning and butchering that didn't require knives. I won't go into detail. When they grow up they can decide to become vegetarians if they want. For now, they eat what I decide.

 

I grew up in a farming community. I believe that animals exist to eat. My opinion isn't universally held, but I'm okay with people disagreeing since I'm not eating their diet and they're not eating mine. I do find the 'it's a living thing' argument to be a tad vague though. Plants are alive... so does something have to have a brain before it's bad to eat? *shrugs* There's no easy answer, but I'm happy to make the choice for myself and leave it at that.

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