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“The Tortured Omnivore”

Food writer Elissa Altman‘s "The Tortured Omnivore" nails it when she writes:

I will freely admit to being sort of a Ted Haggard-like pathetic food-lover, the kind that can talk the talk but just can’t walk the walk – the kind that I myself denounce for not doing more to make that vital connection between what I love to eat and what I love to scratch behind the ears.

She mentions the Dalai Lama, who isn’t a strict vegetarian, as if somehow that makes it okay for her not to be one. Now, as a person with Buddhist-tendencies (i.e., if I had a gun to my head and someone asked me to choose a religion/cult to belong to, I’d probably pick Zen Buddhism), I’ve always found it bizarre that a way of life based on nonviolence and compassion could ever condone the slaughter of sentient beings for food. But as we’ve all be schooled by Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins, if you want to know the right way to behave, religion might be the last place to look for help.

Like many others, Altman tries to find a way to alleviate her cognitive dissonance and ends with the tired: "I’ll just give thanks for what some great beast provided me with, and prepare my meal with the utmost care and respect I can afford."

No great beast in the history of man ever "provided" man with flesh. There’s no reason to give thanks to the beast, as the beast didn’t give you anything, Ms. Altman. Your "adored bistecca alla Fiorentina" was not given to you, grass fed or not, by its owner. The "provider" was the middleman between you and the "great beast:" the person who slaughtered the great beast for you, for a fee. Thanks is not needed, as you paid your fee for the breeding, fattening, and slaughter of the "great beast."

Thanks are irrelevant and strike me as insulting. Apology and begging for forgiveness are more appropriate.

Here’s the comment I left after the post:

Whether the Dalai Lama eats meat or not (or what kind) should be irrelevant to you. Either you believe that killing without necessity is morally unjustifiable, or you don’t. And if you think killing without necessity is morally justifiable, that’s the origin of your self-"torture": On some level, you know that what you’re doing is wrong. Problem solved.

Leave one of your own.

One Comment Post a comment
  1. Well said. Regarding posting a comment on the article, I just did 😉

    May 28, 2007

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