What do we teach our kids while we raise them? In two words: double standards. We call them compromises, but in reality we are talking about double standards. The story of the book “Eating Animals” by Jonathan Safran Foer is a good example. I got the book as a gift for my birthday this year from my daughter (recommended by my wife). My daughter is ten years old and has been vegetarian for almost a year already. She got the idea of becoming a vegetarian after she saw a dead rabbit in a shop in a market in Barcelona. She had two rabbit pets at that time. She gave the idea some thought (around half a year) and then decided to become vegetarian. She stopped eating what she liked the most.
For us grown-ups it does not work like this. We tell to ourselves: “I don’t want to think about it. Don’t tell me these awful things about how animals are treated. I don’t want to hear!” And then we go on eating animals even we know what the animals go through before then end up in our plate. We do the same for every thing we do (“Oh don’t tell me about hungry kids in Africa! Let me eat my dinner in peace!”). We are a race of double standards. But not our kids (as long as they stay kids).
Back to the book. The good thing about this book is of course that it makes you think about what you eat, specially if what you eat involves animals with a feeling of pain (almost all animals and fish). Then the author asks the question: “When you know you can make the choice and stop eating animals, how does it make you feel when you don’t make that choice?” The book is mainly about factory farming practices in the USA. And these practices are spreading around the world and into huge emerging markets such as China and India. It is a sad book to read specially if you have some love for animals.
I am proud of my daughter and I hope I will not teach her double standards.
Did I become a vegetarian after having read this book? No. But I don’t think the author intended me to become vegetarian. I try to eat much less meat than I used to. I also have double standards.