Re-considering my place in the food chain. Meat is Murder? - Suburban Hazen Homestead
When I was about 14 I discovered the band The Smiths.  They were a relevation to me.  Before that, my tape collection was full of New Kids, Tiffany and Exposé.  I remember sitting on my bedroom floor listening to The Queen is Dead over and over.  This music, these lyrics, I thought, speak the words my heart would say if it had a voice.  Morrissey whispered in my ear, crawled into head, settled into my cells.  The music knew me.
Meat is Murder

This album, more than any other, changed my life. Each track was a heartbeat, every word a breath. I became a vegetarian from that day on.
Heifer whines could be human cries 
Closer comes the screaming knife 
This beautiful creature must die 
This beautiful creature must die 
A death for no reason 
                                                                                                                              And death for no reason is MURDER  

At first, I still ate chicken. For a long time, I went back and forth with chicken. Eventually, the words to that song overcame me.  I spent most of my teens and twenties meat-free.  It was a process.  Like most newbie veggies, I was overly righteous, more veggie-than-thou, a total pain in the ass.  
And the flesh you so fancifully fry 
Is not succulent, tasty or kind
It's death for no reason 
And death for no reason is MURDER

It wasn't the healthiest diet, at least not in the beginning.  I ate a lot of french fries and cheese (veganism is NOT for me).  It took me a long time (and a college nutrition class) to learn how to eat well without meat.   It really isn't hard, especially where I live.  You can't throw a block of tofu around here without hitting a Whole Foods or Trader Joe's.  Meat alternatives are easy to find.  I lived off bean burritos, "chicken" nuggets and peanut butter.  
And the calf that you carve with a smile 
And the turkey you festively slice 
Do you know how animals die? 

When I met my husband, I converted him.  He still ate meat occasionally when we ate out, but our home was meat free.  Even our pots, pans and dishes were "meat-free". Our wedding reception was meatless (though my dad threatened to buy some KFC and sell it outside the reception hall). When I had my daughter, Zoë, I was determined to raise her as a vegetarian.  I remember watching her with pride as she munched tofu cubes and veggie nuggets. I planned on living like this forever.  
Kitchen aromas aren't very homey 
It's not "comforting", cheery or kind 
It's sizzling blood and the unholy stench 

It didn't last forever.  As time went on, I became an ambivalent vegetarian.  It maintained the diet, even enjoyed to food, but I lost my self-righteousness, my sense of indignation, it all seemed a little pointless.  Why?  I don't know.  Chicken slipped back into my diet.  There was no conscious decision, no tortuous catharsis, just a long slow slide from vegetarian to carnivore.    
It's not "natural", "normal" or kind 
The flesh you so fancifully fry 
The meat in your mouth 
As you savour the flavour 

Not that started rolling around in rare steaks or anything.  I still don't eat pork (that is a whole other blog post).  I still find the meat industry to be cruel, wasteful, and poisonous.  Fact is, meat IS murder in that , but that's nature.  Something dies so that something else can live.  I'll be worm food eventually.  I die, they live.  They will feed the soil, that grows the grass that the cow eats, that is turned into steak, that is eaten by some guy at a barbecue. Circle of life baby- I am part of it.  I am not nonchalant about their sacrifice.  I honor it and them.  

No, No, No, IT'S MURDER 
No, No, No, IT'S MURDER 
Oh ... and who cares about an animals life?

That said, I could never eat an animal that I have looked in the eye.  But that has less to do with guilt than it does my tendency to instantly connect with every animal I meet.  I can't help it.  I love animals.  As such, I try to minimize the suffering of the animals who give their life for me by buying from smaller producers who treat their animals kindly and kill them humanly.  It's a bit of an oxymoron, I know.  

Morrissey would not be happy with me which makes me a little sad because I still LOVE him.  


Leave a Reply.