My birthday is coming up and I have already received part of my present, Jonathan Safran Foer's book, Eating Animals. I had previously studied his book Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, in which the central character is a young vegan boy and am thrilled that Foer has lept into non fiction to bring us this study on the complexities of eating animals. I am only at the beginning but I am already completely engrossed and somewhat repulsed, for example when he is discussing KFC (vile) workers caught urinating on the slaughtered birds. Gee if that doesn't make you want to give it a miss, what will?
Foer is such an intelligent writer and I am moved by his motivation to write this book, that is the birth of his son. Like any good parent, he wanted to know about the food he would be feeding (or not feeding for that matter) his son. You can read his letter to the worlds largest meat processor, Tyson foods here.
Another reason that I admire Foer, is that I am envious of his bravery. I am not the bravest of people out there, sure I am strong, capable, blah blah blah, but I couldn't go to a factory farm, I couldn't visit an abattoir, I can barely watch many of the videos circulating including the current one of the horrid animal abuse at the Conklin Dairy Farm in Ohio, I have seen the first few seconds of it and had to stop the video, if you are braver than me, you can watch it here and then petition to have them shut down.
There is also a tremendous amount of bravery needed to raise your child as a vegetarian or vegan. So many people raise their eyebrows when you tell them your child will not be eating meat, the amount of times I have been told to give him a chop to gnaw on...I find myself constantly needing to assure people that he is getting all his nutritional requirements and then some. This I find ridiculous, after all I believe a plant based diet to be the healthiest one I can give my child and myself but here is the problem. I was raised in a meat eating family, I was brainwashed to believe that I would curl up and die from illness if I didn't consume dairy and meat and let's face it much of society still think this way. So I find myself thinking of how I can reassure my son that being veggie is normal and healthy and compassionate when he will be faced with so much judgment from people who just haven't done the research or simply do not want their own belief systems challenged.
Luckily he is being raised in a family with very strong beliefs on the food we consume and the way animals are treated. He will be supported every step of the way as he moves into new phases like schooling. I already have some lovely books for him on the topic of vegetarianism.
Check out 'That's why we don't eat animals,' by Ruby Roth. Also 'Herb the Vegetarian Dragon,' by Jules Bass and Debbie Harter. I would love to hear about any books you can recommend for children. It is a journey for the both of us, for him as he discovers new foods, meets animals and makes associations and for me as I lead him and learn from him. I am hoping he will thank me one day for not making him eat animals. He will be able to look in their eyes and know he has done them no harm.
He is also making it VERY easy for me, I gave him some yummy veggie tofu fingers yesterday for the first time and he absolutely devoured them, what a blessing, my darling little veggie boy.