The “Family Factor” in Meat Eating

Of course, it is not easy to part with the habit of eating meat developed over the years. From the moment their children are very young, most parents systematically force them to eat meat., with a sincere belief that “If you don’t finish your patty or chicken, Johnny, you’ll never grow up big and strong.” Under the influence of such constant prodding, even children with an innate aversion to meat food are forced to yield in time, and with age their refined instincts are dulled. While they are growing, the propaganda that is in the service of the meat industry is doing its job. To top it all off, meat-eating doctors (who themselves can’t give up their bloody chops) are hammering the final nail into the vegetarian coffin by declaring, “Meat, fish, and poultry are the most important and indispensable sources of protein!” – The statement is blatantly false and untrue.

Many parents, who perceive the statements of these “doctors” as the Law of God, fall into a state of shock when their growing child at a family dinner suddenly pushes a plate of meat away from him and quietly says: “I don’t eat it anymore”. “And why is that?” the father asks, turning purple, trying to hide her irritation behind a condescending smirk, and the mother rolls her eyes to the sky, folding her hands in prayer. When Tom or Jane answers, more factually than tactfully: “Because my stomach is not a dumping ground for charred animal corpses”, – the front can be considered open. Some parents, more often mothers, are understanding and far-sighted enough to see in this the awakening in their children of a previously dormant feeling of pity for living beings, and sometimes even sympathize with them in this. But the vast majority of parents view it as a whim not to be indulged, a challenge to their authority, or an indirect denunciation of their own meat-eating (and often all three combined).

A response follows: “As long as you live in this house, you will eat what all normal people eat! If you want to destroy your health, that’s your own business, but we won’t let that happen within the walls of our home!” Psychologists who comfort parents with the following conclusion do not contribute to a way out of this situation: “Your child uses food as a tool to get out of the burden of your influence. Don’t give him an extra reason to assert himself.allowing you to make a tragedy out of your vegetarianism – everything will pass by itself.

Undoubtedly, for some teenagers, vegetarianism is really just an excuse to rebel or just another clever way to win concessions from their beleaguered parents. Be that as it may, but my own experience with young people indicates that in most cases their refusal to eat meat has a much deeper and nobler motive: an idealistic desire to practically resolve the eternal issue of pain and suffering – both their own and and others (whether humans or animals).

Refusal to eat the flesh of living beings is only the most obvious and primary step in this direction. Fortunately, not all parents perceive their children’s refusal of meat with hostility and wary fear. One mother told me: “Until our son was twenty, my father and I tried to teach him everything we ourselves knew. Now he teaches us. By his refusal of meat food, he made us realize the immorality of meat-eating, and we are so grateful to him for this!

No matter how hard it may cost us to break our established eating habits, we must make every possible effort to build a humane diet – for our own sake, for the benefit of all living beings. To one who has given up meat out of pity for living beings by the power of his own compassion, there is no need to explain how wonderful this new feeling is when you finally realize that no one has to be sacrificed in order to feed you. Indeed, to paraphrase Anatole France, we can say that until we give up eating animals, a part of our soul continues to remain in the power of darkness …

To give the body time to readjust to the new diet, it is better to give up red meat first, then poultry, and only then fish. Meat eventually “let go” of a person, and at some point it becomes difficult to even imagine how anyone can eat this rough flesh for food.

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