I don’t know about you, but, every time someone “finds out” I’m a vegetarian, I am met with some sort of reaction. Either a high-five in solidarity, a congratulatory “good on you”, or more often than not a reaction of shame. Either projected shame that I “don’t appreciate real meat” or “inner shame” that they do. Many times, people will launch into an explanation as to why they eat meat, ending with a “but I intend to stop one day”, in hopes that I stop there.
And sure, I could go on to tell you about all of the horrible conditions in which animals are being treated, en mass, every single day. This knowledge is not new to most of us. I could explain what producing meat at the rate we are is doing to the environment, or how it may even influence your own health.
But quite frankly, when was the last time a photo of a tortured animal instilled meaningful change in someone? Further to this, when was the last time deterrent of any kind inspired sustainable motivation in anyone, for any reason?
In First Nation history, the belief surrounding meat consumption was one of gratitude and mindfulness. Before going out to hunt, individuals would perform ceremony, honouring the creator, the earth, and the animal to which they would seek. Through this ceremony, it was believed that an animal would willingly sacrifice itself in order to sustain the people. After hunting, the people would go on to use every part of the animal, and would not go out to hunt again until there was need.
It is with this that I approach the discussion surrounding meat consumption from one of abstinence to one of perception and awareness.
Regardless of your preference, we can be mindful of the animal we are consuming. Whether through conscious abstinence, or grateful consumption.
All my love,