At one point in Zinnia’s life, Shane and I realized that Zinnia thought chicken (the animal) and chicken (the food) were two different things. Much like an ant or an aunt.
We laughed at this idea but felt relief in the fact that we had a bit more time before having to break the truth to her. Until now.
I’m not an in-your-face vegan activist, but something about being a mother and thinking of eating animals in the view of my child has lit a fire in me that most days I just keep to myself.
An omnivore friend of mine wow’d me with a simple and undeniable concept, why is feeding animals to our children the default move? (As her and her omnivore husband raise their son vegetarian, until he can make his own choice on what to do)
From early days we teach our babies about compassion, kindness, pets, animals and zoo’s. We tell them what a cow says, and encourage them to sing songs like Old Macdonald Has a Farm, and yet we feed them those same farm animals on a plate without giving them the chance to choose for themselves.
If you are a meat eater reading this then you are probably already annoyed or already defending your choice to feed your child meat, and please, from the bottom of my heart understand that this post isn’t about hurting anyone. It’s about giving children the voice they don’t yet have when it comes to what they eat.
Maybe your child loves chicken. Maybe your child will only eat chicken nuggets. Whatever your child’s relationship with meat may be, you must consider that initially, they too may think it’s something different than the animal who says “cluck, cluck, cluck”.
Unless your child understands that people kill animals and then process their carcass to be eaten by people, they are not being given a chance to make a very important choice.
Shouldn’t the default be no meat until a person can decide for themselves to participate in being a meat eater?
Tonight Zinnia wanted a real answer. She’s 3 years old and she’s heard things. Her cousins eat chicken nuggets, but is it really the animal they’re putting in their mouths? Yep. That’s the reality of life. Here I go, bursting a small part of her bubble.
In under 2 minutes, I break the news and answer her question. Her response is true to her heart, and solidified my feeling that unless informed, children should have a right to choose wether or not they want to eat animals.
Click below for the YouTube video of our discussion!