After attending the 2nd Annual Northeast Florida Vegetarian festival this past weekend, it brought some issues to light for me. The focus there was compassionate eating.
I have been to other events where the focus was conscious eating.
Is there a difference?
Compassionate vs. Conscious?
Compassionate, according to the dictionary:
“the sympathetic consciousness of others’ distress together with a desire to alleviate it.”
When eating is added to this definition the only conclusion which can be made is to avoid eating those foods which cause pain and suffering. This is primarily directed towards eating animals and any products associated with them.
What is conscious eating?
It is awareness about what you are eating, where the foods you are purchasing and consuming are coming from. This can pertain to any food, but it is mostly associated with animal products.
The questions which are usually asked are:
- how was the animal treated?
- what was it fed?
- where did it live?
- how was it killed?
The trend in conscious eating seems to be if you are a little inquisitive and aware, you can feel justified in eating whatever you want.
Almost all animals are factory farmed today, meaning they live in intensive confinement, are fed a diet of corn and pumped full of antibiotics, all of which are unsuitable conditions for good health. Even the few animals that are not factory farmed live short lives and are eventually slaughtered.
A compassionate eater asks the same questions but comes up with different conclusions.
We are responsible for what we put on our plate, how we spend our money and the demand we create for animal foods when we purchase them. Therefore we do not partake in these activities.
What are we teaching our children?
Children tend to ask a lot of questions about pretty much everything. When your child asks where their chicken nugget comes from what do you say?
- I don’t know
- From a package
- From an animal put here to feed you
or the truth
- From an animal that lived a horrible existence and was then killed so we could have dinner?
Yes, we know most of us are animal lovers.
We are responsible pet owners: we feed and take care of our animal companions; they (hopefully), live inside our home, are taken to the vet on a fairly regular basis and are exercised and played with daily. This seems to only apply to our dogs and cats.
Do we really in this day and age have to dance around our compassion for all animals?