After reading the Nierenberg article, my negative feelings towards meat consumption arose again. Two years ago I saw the film Food Inc., and it changed the way I thought about meat forever. Growing up in a lower middle class family, we really did not have many options when it came to purchasing meat. We went to Kroger (a supermarket like Harris Teeter) and bought our meat there because it was cheap and generally non-processed looking. I never thought about where this meat was coming from. I never suspected that I was consuming an animal that was treated poorly and fed genetically modified corn to make it fatter. However, after seeing Food Inc., I was so distraught that I actually stopped eating meat for about a month. That does not seem like a long time for some, but for me that was a huge deal. Being best friends with a vegetarian, I did not think that I would get frustrated with meal options as fast as I did. Commons does an okay job with catering to the ever growing population of vegetarians and vegans, but it just was not enough. It is hard to quit cold turkey in an environment where you have limited control over what you can eat everyday, and that’s why I eventually switched back to eating meat. However, I started eating less meat that I had been eating in the past.
All of these thoughts came back to me after reading Nierenberg’s article Tuesday night. I still do not eat meat on a daily basis, but again I thought about going cold turkey because in my mind that is the only response one can have to reading or watching something that disturbing. Instead, I took a step back and realized that not eating meat was not really the answer. The answer is supporting farmers that do not treat their animals inhumanely. It’s looking for those farms that are allowing their animals to live decent lives before they are slaughtered for their meat. In just the two and a half years that I have been here, Davidson has made an effort to purchase meats from local farms that are doing just that. Knowing this makes me feel only a little bit better about biting into a hamburger in the Union.