I don’t eat anything with a face. Or anything that has an attachment to it’s mother. Or anything with a capacity to love. A more accurate (but less descriptive) way to say this would be: I don’t eat animals.
Often I get asked why, and in the same breath the inquisitor hunkers down for a pedestal speech, but mine is a simple answer.
I had a moment with a cow.
That’s pretty much it. It was 2008 at the Sonoma County Fair, and I was just walking along the rows of 4-H stalls and stables, minding my own business when a cow…
She looked sideways at me with one great big eye, and I was drawn in. We stood there making eye to eye contact for what seemed like (and could have been) 15 minutes. Have you ever looked into a cow’s eyes? They’re very, well, human, and her eyes told me a story.
Standing eye to eye with this baby cow in silent conversation affected me deeply. We connected, and my meat eating days were over. Just like that. Boom. Done.
There were attempts earlier in my life to cut out meat. To lose weight, that kind of thing. It would be good for me to cut it out, that was true, but this reason would work for about 6 hours before I’d order a quarter pounder. I tried to cut it out after reading a book about how if an animal was afraid when it was slaughtered, then I would be eating “scared food” and become fearful. Yet fear of fear didn’t do it either.
None of these reasons stuck. It was only my connection with this living, breathing, loving creature that transformed me, and not only did I stop eating these animals, I couldn’t even if I wanted to. I also developed a very real compassion for all living things, and their proper care.
In a moment. With a cow.
I wonder if this is why God wants us to connect with people. All people. To look into one another’s eyes and share our stories.
If we did, we might lose the desire to devour each other. Even if we could.
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