Do Visitors Think We’re Eating Our Pets?

This is a post I recently read on a topic I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. I get a lot of “I can’t believe you eat them!” attitudes from people I meet around here, and it feels tiring. I’m interested in what you think of this blog post, which the writer was so gracious as to let me repost:

ALHFAM

Lately I’ve heard of negative visitor reactions to historic (and sustainable but open to the public) farm sites in regards to the animals they keep. It seems not everyone is comfortable with animals on farms becoming food or with the processes that turn these animals into food. Admittedly, it’s easy to dismiss their reactions with: “Where do they think their burger comes from?” or some other retort. These people, though, are often engaged and vocal citizens who make their feelings known to large groups of like minded individuals who will take issue with your practices on a large-scale and very public level. They are also our visitors and we exist to educate them.

And educate them we must.

Here’s a story: a few years back when my son was young enough for “playdates” I was fixing him and his friend a snack. I asked his friend Josh (name changed to…

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2 thoughts on “Do Visitors Think We’re Eating Our Pets?

  1. Good article and a fair question. I agree that it can be hard to talk about that transition from baby care-taking to the dinner table. I do see that bucolic photos and baby animals are easy ways to pull people in, and can set people up for future disappointment. What I hope we can accomplish are continuing conversations and regular visits. Our neighbors see the lambs grow up, which is a distinct advantage over “attraction” farms where people only visit once to pet lambs and never see them again. We are definitely fighting the Shaun the Sheep and Chicken Run anthropomorphization, but we can’t go from A to L without helping people through the other letters along the way. It takes patience, and boy do I get farmers wearying of that. I find it pretty engaging, but then you know what my professional calling is! 🙂

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  2. Great blog post, thanks for sharing it. I agree with the writer that simply saying “Do you know where most of your food DOES come from?” is not an adequate answer, because it doesn’t address the person’s basic discomfort with animals becoming food. I think we have to reply by addressing the inevitability of life and death, something like, “It’s natural and normal for humans to want cute things to stay alive, but eventually everything must die.” If we can deliver this reminder with compassion, then it could broaden people’s thinking about meat eating, and perhaps their own mortality, too.

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