Wednesday, August 12, 2009

On the source of food

Picking peas, strawberries, blackcurrants and other such fruits that were once only ice-cream flavours
Or packed in supermarket shelves at best is what I have been doing.
I am working on a farm in Ireland for some time.
It is amazing how we have been convinced that we can only survive with a supermarket.
And it feels incredible to go into a smelly hen house and collect fresh eggs. Even if for a short period, it gives a sense of perspective to be connected to the source of where our food comes from.
Children growing up in cities rarely have an understanding of where food comes from.
I spent last weekend with my cousins in England. While we were watching TV, an ad was telecast that showed a potato being dug up from the earth , all the brown mud bursting out.
My little cousin said ‘That’s disgusting’. Her parents tried to tell her that the potatoes she eats at home are harvested like that. She didn’t believe it.

Perhaps , that’s more so in the West. Meat is cut up and packaged in supermarkets. In India, no matter where you live, you are not spared the sight of the corpses of goats and cows hanging from hooks in small butcher shops.Two incidents convinced me that I could never eat meat again .

The first was when I was seven years old. It was Bakrid. A man brought three screaming goats and their screaming caught my attention.
I went to our garden to look at what was happening. He slaughtered those goats one by one, painfully and their blood flowed down the veranda creating a little stream of blood on the street.
That image stuck with me.Forever.

The second was much later. I was in college and passing through a narrow street in an auto
I suddenly saw a goat twitching his legs ever so slowly. He was barely moving and you wouldn’t notice it if you didn’t see carefully.
When I looked at his head, it was half off and a man was holding it with a vessel of blood that dripped slowly underneath.

I am not per se against the consumption of meat. It’s natural to eat meat and my vegetarianism is a personal choice. I still think that two things are important. One, that we kill animals in the most humane way possible. Factory farming is not just inhumane, large scale factory farming if ill managed can have terrible consequences.
When I was in Singapore many years ago, I was chatting with a taxi driver. He said that his son had been asked to draw a a chicken in school. He drew a packet of fried chicken being sold in a take away joint.


Prasoon said...

He drew a pack of fried chicken sold in supermarket?? My my.
Yes its important that the generation now knows from where food comes from. and those incidents that made you vegetarian - i wonder can there ever be a humane way of killing animals in India for consumption? I doubt.
Really nice post. Liked it.

Y? said...

Yeah it seems weird to talk about a humane way of killing. I am sure there is a least painless way?