Animals and children

This post provides a thoughtful reflection on how adults so often teach children to love and respect animals, yet to still accept animals as food. As a child and teenager, I ate meals that contained meat, fish, and seafood, as prepared by my family. I was always crazy about animals, even as a baby.  As I grew older, I remember experiencing increasing discomfort when I ate meat or fish; I couldn’t help but think of the cow, rabbit, lamb, etc., from which that food was derived.  I did not live in a culture that would have easily accepted any deviations from the dietary norms, and I was not informed enough about plant-based diets to venture into them.  The older I grew, the more uncomfortable I felt about what I was eating and the lives that had been lost. Once I was old enough to live on my own, I transitioned into vegetarianism, and eventually, into veganism.  I was fortunate to have the support of my parents, who had witnessed my love of animals over the years; while they might have been concerned at first about the health implications of a plant-based diet, they understood and accepted my decision as a natural extension of the bond I have always had with animals.  I would hope that in Canada, at least, parents and guardians of children would be open to discussing the relationship between animals and food, and to helping any child who is uncomfortable with this relationship, to explore a plant-based diet.

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