Last night I had dinner with four vegetarians. I’m a carnivore, and as my partner pointed out, “in the minority.”
If you met me a dozen years ago, however, you’d know that I was–for a brief period of time (about one year)–a pescatarian. Not quite a complete abstainer from meat, because I chose to eat fish and seafood. I wasn’t ready to give up meat, though an internal compass was telling me to make more conscientious choices in my diet.
I have never believed in the cruelty of slaughterhouses and our anonymous, industrialized food system. Recent documentaries like Food Inc. reminded me once again of my sympathies. Yet I’m also a realist, and know that a Filipino childhood, in which pork and red meat were staples, has influenced my choice of food and my palate.
So it’s sobering for me to view this video of Ariel Kaminer, city critic for the New York Times, making a trip to a Queens slaughterhouse. Where does that fat, glossy turkey on the Thanksgiving table come from? In this video Kaminer examines her own feelings about literally killing her own food and reports on new trends in being a conscientious carnivore.
I can’t say that the video makes me want to become a vegetarian again (though my partner’s already had an indelible influence on my diet) but I do believe it’s important to recognize that the hamburger I’m enjoying once had a face.