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Journeying towards ethical eating while getting along with others - Page 2

post #21 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

I did not ask for the name, I asked about what type of group/activity it is- food related? where topics like this come up

 

It's not a group specifically about food, but I think it's a group in which food, the environment, and other lifestyle related topics will sometimes come up.

 

I do think it's good for children to learn to converse respectfully with people who have differing opinions, provided that those people, especially adults, are able to converse respectfully with the child.

 

This was just a short interaction, and I've never met any of these people before, so time will tell whether the group is a good fit for us and whether we are a good fit for it.

post #22 of 91

Clearly respect goes both way.

 

regardless of the subject, it's important to prepare the best on can for the possibility that she will face many that may not understand or agree with her

post #23 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

Clearly respect goes both way.

 

Of course it does, and I must say I'm really proud of how assertively and respectfully dd communicated her views with this woman. I also agree that, in our diverse world, we should all be prepared for the fact that others are bound to have different opinions than we do about many things.

post #24 of 91
Thread Starter 

I am realzing that there are so many layers to this issue. For example, on the one hand, I feel that my daughter's statement to the woman that "You treat chickens humanely because they have a consciousness," didn't really call for a response of "Are you vegan?" because, to my way of thinking, dd wasn't saying that no one should eat chickens -- she was just objecting to the woman's statement that you don't treat chickens humanely because they're chickens.

 

But it all comes down to how we define "humane." Is there such a thing as humane killing? There are so many different opinions about this. Maybe this woman feels that there is no such thing as humane treatment of an animal that you are raising for food. To me, there is just such a huge gap between chickens being packed together in warehouses, and chickens going free range and being gently and lovingly cared for, and living a happy life, but eventually being eaten.

 

I honestly don't think this woman is warehousing chickens or being cruel to them, or advocating that sort of behavior -- but it's possible that, to her, there's no such thing as humanely raising an animal for food. In which case, she may very well believe that the only people who have the right to say that animals have a consciousness and should be treated humanely are vegans.

post #25 of 91

The woman talking to your daughter was a twit. A chicken-raising twit. orngtongue.gif I buy chicken from a woman who slaughters them without ethical qualms, eats them with gusto, and devotes a huge amount of time and energy to cultivating a local market for their meat, but if you suggested to her that it didn't matter how you treated chickens I think she'd slap you. They are living creatures. Their suffering matters. Their slaughtering is a serious business with profound ethical implications.

 

It sounds like your daughter handled this difficult encounter very gracefully, and you should be proud of her.

 

WRT to your family's diet, I never encourage anybody to go vegetarian or vegan because I think humans are natural omnivores. But you have really done an excellent job of identifying the ethically suspect choices in your current diet - industrial ranch dressing, industrial cheese, industrial milk and eggs. These are solveable problems no matter how tight your food budget, but it's not an overnight fix. You need to find a farmer that sells these kinds of products at a price you can afford. I do NOT live in a very progressive or high-income part of the country, and I can buy eggs, milk and cheese at my state farmer's market and through an online co-op. Try locallygrown.net and see what they offer in your area. 

 

The ranch dressing issue will only be solved by trial and error. Make dipping sauces at home with ingredients that you feel good about, and tweak the recipe until you produce an acceptable substitute. Don't be afraid to fail 100 times. You will get it right eventually, if you care enough to keep trying. 

post #26 of 91
Thread Starter 

Smithie, the thing is, I honestly don't think this woman was saying that it was okay to treat chickens cruelly -- I think the main issue may just be one of semantics, of her seeing "humane" treatment as something reserved for human beings. She said something about treating chickens "chickenly."

 

She'd been talking about a woman she knows who has a contraption that enables her to kill chickens without having them running around with their heads cut off. It didn't sound like there was any difference between the amount of pain they experienced being killed in this manner versus in the more old fashioned manner, it just sounds like the woman with the contraption felt like it allowed the chickens to die with more dignity, and the woman talking about it with us seemed to just feel like it was kind of ridiculous for her friend or acquaintance to feel this way.

 

I honestly don't feel like either method is necessarily wrong or ridiculous. I think there's room for everyone to have more respect for each other. I do believe chickens have a consciousness, and I'll admit that if were killing one, I'd prefer not to have it running around with its head cut off. But I imagine the chickens themselves live totally in the present and aren't even worrying about whether they are dying with dignity or jerking around involuntarity with kids laughing at them. How we treat them after death is more about how much respect we have for the life spirit that flows through both them and us. Different people may express this reverence in different ways.

post #27 of 91

I think it was fairly insensitive of the woman to launch (somewhat out of the blue) into a discussion on slaughtering chickens.  It is a sensitive topic for many people and she should have known better.  I don't know that slaughtering conversation will come up out of the blue too often, it might just be that this is a one-off and your daughter does not need further instruction on how to deal with things like this.  

 

I do think it is possible to eat in a way that is more in line with your beliefs inexpensively.  Post on the veg. forum if you need help - it will be fun to help you revamp some recipes!  I actually spend less eating a vegetarian diet than I did as a meat eater, fwiw.

 

I agree with the poster upthread who said it is possible to retrain your tastebuds.  I know - I have done it.  It does not happen overnight, but you can take baby steps towards it.


Edited by kathymuggle - 1/11/13 at 6:12am
post #28 of 91
Quote:

Smithie, the thing is, I honestly don't think this woman was saying that it was okay to treat chickens cruelly -- I think the main issue may just be one of semantics, of her seeing "humane" treatment as something reserved for human beings. She said something about treating chickens "chickenly."

 

She'd been talking about a woman she knows who has a contraption that enables her to kill chickens without having them running around with their heads cut off. It didn't sound like there was any difference between the amount of pain they experienced being killed in this manner versus in the more old fashioned manner, it just sounds like the woman with the contraption felt like it allowed the chickens to die with more dignity, and the woman talking about it with us seemed to just feel like it was kind of ridiculous for her friend or acquaintance to feel this way.

 

 

 

Quote:
  It is a sensitive topic for many people and she should have known better.  I don't know that slaughtering conversation will come up out of the blue too often, it might just be that this is a one-off and your daughter does not need further instruction on how to deal with things like this.  

 

Without knowing the full context or even the type of meeting, it seems really bizarre that this even comes up with a group of 12 year olds- is this an age appropriate group? IF so, no other parent found this conversation odd?

 

I really would wonder what else might just pop up/or out.

post #29 of 91

First, the woman handled the situation very badly. She told a graphic story about slaughtering chickens and when a child said they were offended she didn't apologize but got defensive and tried to tell the child they were wrong or had no right to feel the way they did. That wasn't very responsible, respectful or friendly. I would be wary of her as a leader of your child's group whether your family eats vegan or not. That was not cool behavior from a group leader IMO.

 

The second issue I see is helping your dd come to terms with the way other people feel about chickens and how they treat them. Because she loves chickens it must be hard for her to understand that others do not view them as beautiful, intelligent creatures or care about eating them. I'm not sure if your dd objects to all chickens being eaten, the way the chickens are cared for in life or the actual way they are killed. There are definitely people who will have the same point of view as your dd and there are people who will not simply because they are starting from an entirely different point of view. There are cultures who eat animals that we would never dream of eating... and it is a bit hard to understand or feel that it is okay for people to make such different choices simply because it is their tradition or culture or they think animals are stupid when it is an animal you love. It can be an emotionally charged issue from all sides though.

I suppose I would tell your dd that she has a right to her feelings and opinions and there are people... lots of people who feel the same as her. I would tell her that not everyone does and it is a hard issue to argue... that sometimes she can help others change their views by her example and where she chooses to spend her money or organizations she supports rather than engaging people one-on-one. It isn't wrong to speak up but you aren't going to change everyone's mind so don't let it depress you if the person continues to disagree.

post #30 of 91
Thread Starter 

I don't know the woman well enough to know if something like this is likely to pop out of her mouth again. She seemed to feel badly when dd and I headed out the door without her having had a chance to smooth things over with her. She'd been trying to explain how if you're not vegan, you need to be aware of all these things. I did watch the movie "Edible City" and it sounds like maybe she's seen it, too, because that's something they talk about in there as part of being a responsible meat eater -- really being in touch with where your food is coming from. And I really agree with that idea just not with how this woman approached it with dd.

 

I did get the impression throughout the evening that she seemed a little out of touch with how other people might receive certain comments. When I got there, she was chatting about the European vacation her family was planning -- not that that in itself was insensitive, and it may be kind of self-centered on my part to even think anything about it, but it kind of made me feel, right off, like we lived in totally different worlds. Of course, there's nothing wrong with anyone going to Europe. I did it myself more than twenty years ago.

 

I don't think I would have thought so much about the European thing, if she hadn't later told us all (all of us, not just me) that "our assignment" was to complete the registration process and pay for our memberships so we could get started on the actual stuff next time. She did say that she needed to do it , too, so she was talking to herself, too. I said that we would not be able to officially join until February, and she said she understood and that's what she uses credit cards for.

 

Of course, I didn't say anything more or go into our reality, in which we're feeling a bit overwhelmed by the credit card debt we've accumulated during those times when we haven't had money on hand to buy food or take care of necessary car repairs. We're just hoping, after getting our tax return and paying down our debts as much as we can, to have enough left over to pay for our girls' activities. And they're not extremely expensive activities either. It's just not something we want to add to our credit card debt.

 

All in all, I think dd will have to learn to deal with people like this, who seem like they aren't all that aware of or sensitive to others' realities and others' perspectives. I am really proud of how she handled this situation, and we'll just see how things go next time.

post #31 of 91

aaaaah there are so many layers in this thread. 

 

first mm - i get how difficult it is to be a vegan on a limited budget. first of all just trying to change is so tough. the only way i can pull it off is because i work-trade at a farm and get my weeks supply of veggies. also you want your children to make the decision to change - not you thrust your idea upon them. we are evolving in that manner ourselves. and both dd and i are struggling to change. they say it takes 2 years in average to completely change. 

 

i am not a vegan for ethical reasons. i just feel with food being easily available there is no need to eat animal stuff. so i dont really call myself vegan - but a rare meateater. i have been at an extremely poor person's house and accepted their meaty stew because that is all they had. 

 

i think food choices are a v. emotional issue. however to be v. honest with you i didnt find this woman's talk inappropriate because really i dont find a 12 year old a child. esp. when that child has seen movies like food inc. parts of it was v. graphic. 

 

i think this lady has a lot to offer - esp. your dd. i can see your dd has entered the new phase in her development where she sees things only in black and white. perhaps the words the lady used were not well chosen. but i can see where she is coming from. i am glad she later realised and was trying to communicate with you guys. 

 

i think your dd is a winner. i am glad she stood up and voiced her opinion. it will help the lady realise that there are other points of view. 

 

its also a huge life lesson for your dd to learn that there are going to be people like her in the world. and that sometimes its appropriate for dd to stand up and say something and sometimes when everybody is interested its appropriate to silently leave the room. 

 

i think you as a parent - your role is to make sure your dd sees both sides of the coin. right now as she goes through this phase it will be hard as life is always in black and white - but say a few words so she always has this reminder at the back of her mind. 

 

mm when you are poor, really poor, yes you do live in a completely different world. i have seen my world change drastically when i became poor. where sometimes even one dollar is huge for me. 

 

was she talking about her european vacation to the whole group or as a side conversation? even so i dont really find her conversation taht inappropriate. 

 

i do think mm that you are asking a lot when you ask her to be sensitive to others point of view. esp. the poor. esp. if this is her first group thing she is involved in. i tell you until i became poor, i had no idea, no idea what poverty was. what being poor actually means. so i never demand this of others. or expect them to understand. i dont think most people do - even on this board. i think its unfair to ask others to understand when its impossible to have that concept without living it. not saying you are being unfair. just that i think its unfair to ask others to be sensitive to others - if they havent come across that before. i have noticed people need to be taught about the poor. if they havent come across one they really have no clue that you dont buy a starbucks everyday. i live this reality because dd goes to a public school full of rich kids. and she is the only kid in her class who gets a scholarship to go to certain field trips. 

 

however with you guys there she will learn. it took dd's activity teachers some time to learn and be sympathetic. 

 

i think this is a great opportunity for everyone one of you with lots of life lessons to learn. 

post #32 of 91
Thread Starter 

meemee, I didn't mean to sound like I thought it was inappropriate for her to talk about her European vacation. I actually didn't hear too much about it. It took us a moment to park and we were a few minutes late coming in. Since it was our first time there, I asked if we were in the right meeting, and someone -- I think it was her -- jokingly (although I didn't realize it was a joke at first) said that it was the European vacation planning meeting, and she or someone else quickly clarified that it was just her trip they were talking about. They'd been kind of waiting for everyone to get a chance to get there, so they hadn't officially started the meeting yet. And her story about the chickens was kind of at the end. It was really a very casual meeting.

 

It honestly wasn't something I thought about at the moment; it came back to me, though, when I said we needed to wait till February to join and she said something along the lines of "That's what credit cards are for" -- at her house, at least. She may not even have been implying that we should just use a credit card in order to be able to join by next week; it may have even been her way of expressing empathy by letting me know that she doesn't always have the cash on hand to do everything she wants to do exactly when she wants to do it.

 

About poverty being a world of its own -- that is another layer that we are dealing with right now with dd. She is starting to become a lot more aware of differences between families and to say things like "We're the charity case." A couple of years ago, we joined a liberal church that we're very happy with overall. One difficulty (but also blessing, of course) is that there are a lot of wealthy people in this church who are always looking for ways to help those who are struggling, and we currently seem to be the family in this church that is struggling the most. One of my good friends is on the social committee, and anytime they have some new funds come in, she and her helpers like to buy us a lot of groceries. These groceries often seem to come just at the moment when we're out of food stamps and money, and won't have my next paycheck for a few days or a week, so we always accept gratefully.

 

I've never asked for this help, but early on, the children's director chatted with me and asked me about what dh and I did for a living, and she learned that dh hasn't been able to work for a while due to health issues but also hasn't been able to get approved for disability, and that I work from home giving telephone English lessons. And it seems like we're the first family she thinks of when someone comes to her wanting to (usually anonymously) provide something to help out a family in need, such as non-perishable food, a gift card to buy clothes for the girls, or, most recently, adopting our family for Christmas.

 

When I was approached about being adopted for Christmas, I initially felt kind of hesitant because it seemed like such a big thing, and I explained that we do always manage to provide gifts for our girls, and I wouldn't want to take this help away from a family that needed it. And my friend who acted as a go-between explained that these are people who grew up very poor, and now that they are doing well financially, they've started a Christmas tradition of adopting one family within the church and giving them a really lavish Christmas. Since they specifically wanted to focus on a family within the church, and my friend said she honestly couldn't think of anyone in the church who was struggling like we were, I went ahead and gratefully accepted, not feeling like I had the right to refuse anything that was likely to bring so much pleasure to my girls.

 

Both girls were really excited about this and really enjoyed all the lavish and really useful gifts. It took us all about two hours to open all the wonderful gifts we were given, whereas a normal Christmas for the girls is getting about two or three gifts a piece. Which I also don't see as any hardship.

 

Dd1 is now in the place of still enjoying the generosity of others -- but not liking to feel like the charity case or the poorest kid in her circle. I've talked about how we're receiving a lot of help right now, and I look forward to the day when we'll be in a position to pass that on to others who need it -- such as by adopting a family for Christmas ourselves. Dd tends to feel like this will never happen for us. I think she's largely influenced by dh's current feelings of extreme negativity. He feels really bad right now about our situation and keeps saying that he's not contributing anything to the family, even though I keep pointing out all the ways that he really is contributing.

 

All this seems rather off-topic, since it's not about ethical eating -- but it is part of what we are dealing with in our relationships with others at this time. About dealing with others' sometimes not very aware comments, we did have a situation a few months back where dd learned to get past a comment made by one of her church friends. He was telling her about the recent discovery that the plastic coating in the packaging for frozen vegetables, and also in the lining of cans, is actually getting into the vegetables and can be harmful. And he unthinkingly made the remark, "Of course, your family probably can't even afford fresh produce." Upon seeing the look on her face, he immediately felt horrible about it and kept apologizing, and I felt bad for him, too, and tried to explain to dd that sometimes we say things we don't mean to say. After about a week or so, dd did let her anger go and start being friendly towards him again.

 

I felt bad for dd, too. On the one hand, I feel like it's just horrible for her to have to go through these feelings. She probably would never feel this way if we just associated with the people we know who are struggling a lot more, such as the family of one of dd's good friends whom we met at our neighborhood park, and who has actually lived in a homeless shelter for a while; her family has never had their own home, at least during the few years that we have known them, but have always been living with friends or family members. Yet my main reason for getting out there and joining church and various activities was to address the strong need dd1 was expressing for a more interesting life with more different things to do, and a wider social circle. It seems impossible to really get out there without meeting some folks who are doing a lot better than we are, so maybe it's a positive thing that she is learning at such an early age to come to grips with it.

post #33 of 91
Quote:
About dealing with others' sometimes not very aware comments, we did have a situation a few months back where dd learned to get past a comment made by one of her church friends. He was telling her about the recent discovery that the plastic coating in the packaging for frozen vegetables, and also in the lining of cans, is actually getting into the vegetables and can be harmful. And he unthinkingly made the remark, "Of course, your family probably can't even afford fresh produce." Upon seeing the look on her face, he immediately felt horrible about it and kept apologizing, and I felt bad for him, too, and tried to explain to dd that sometimes we say things we don't mean to say. After about a week or so, dd did let her anger go and start being friendly towards him again.

 

 

sounds like they are aware, on their level and in the church case remark-RUDE

it's can be a help for others to know, but it does open it up to comments that child must have heard at home, it's unfortunate but he must have heard some type of talk or how would he have known?- so people are taking about your family- it opens up (sadly) for talk behind your back and often that does filter out

 

in the case with the meeting- it's really fare game what comes up depending on what type of program it is, given what you were there for and not saying (which is fine but it makes it's come off as bizarre), it's hard to say how out of the ordinary the slandering subject is in regards to 12 year olds, you didn't say if others were up-set by this or that you have spoken to anyone else who attended and if they found it appropriate or not 

 

certain areas it's not strange at all to talk about other subjects- but it is so hard to know in your case

 

perhaps the woman was just thinks you are not coming back and since you left without her having a chance to talk to with you privately, you may never know her side of it or if she was just as taken back and things came out of her mouth like the boy at church


Edited by serenbat - 1/11/13 at 9:21am
post #34 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by serenbat View Post

 

 

sounds like they are aware, on their level and in the church case remark-RUDE

 

He is a 12 year old kid, just like my dd. While I definitely felt sad that she was the recipient of a comment like that, I was also able to remember some of the blundering comments that I myself have made throughout my life, and many that I have even made as an adult. So while I was naturally concerned for my dd's feelings, I also tried to help her understand that we all get "foot in mouth" disease sometimes. She did eventually let it go.

 

As far as people at church talking about us, the boy's mom is the good friend who periodically gets groceries for us with the church funds allocated for this purpose. I should mention that the ladies who do this take a lot of pleasure in providing us with organic produce whenever possible, too. It seems likely that their family was discussing the thing about the plastic, and talking about how the only way to be safe is to buy fresh, organic produce, and my friend may have said something like, "We have that option, but some families, such as ____'s family, can't always afford to do that."

 

I don't get the feeling that we are being talked about badly by anyone.

 

As far as the meeting, I'm not really upset that this issue came up, and I don't really feel like I need to shield my children from hearing about things like chicken slaughtering. I think the ability to respectfully converse with diverse people is a very important skill to learn.

 

Also, although I regret being in a position where my child feels like we're an impoverished family, I don't personally see our situation as all that bad. We're making our house payments. We each have a computer and we have a TV that we enjoy watching together; we have games and books and art supplies. We may not always have the exact food items we want but we are never hungry. But I do realize that our economic situation is not nearly as nice as what I enjoyed as a child.

 

I was always pretty comfortable with what I had, other then wishing I could eat more junk food, and I honestly still feel comfortable with what I have. I've never really felt a need for more (except for more junk food, as already mentioned) which was sometimes frustrating for my mom, who wanted me to be more motivated to do things like get a part time job in high school in order to have spending money. But there just wasn't really anything I wanted to buy (dd, in contrast, has been eager to find a way to earn her own money for a few years now, and she's only 12). I still don't really feel like I need spending money, which is actually a good thing at the moment, LOL I think most of the world is making do with a lot less than what my family has -- but, of course, they are surrounded by lots of other people in the same boat, whereas my poor dd is becoming newly aware of all the people we are surrounded by who seem to be gliding around in yachts, and it's really only natural for her to have some difficult emotions to work through.

 

This is where the issue of accepting help from others when they offer it comes in, and has me wondering about how to best proceed from here, now that dd is becoming so much more aware of economic inequalities. On the one hand, I feel okay just dealing with things on our own. For example, my personal preference would have been to just say no thanks to being adopted for Christmas because it involved so much time and energy communicating about our wants and needs, plus such a lot of clothing to wash and put away, and other things to reorganize and find a place for (I think I'm probably exagerrating a bit here, since it really wasn't all that much time and energy). Don't get me wrong, I'm very grateful and everything was a wonderful help for us. I'm just saying that from my personal vantage point, I kind of like being lazy and not having to deal with a lot of possessions or having to be so concerned about whether I'm showing enough gratitude to each and every person. But on the other hand, I feel like I'm being selfish to refuse things for my family, especially for my girls. So I'm trying to figure this out, too.


Edited by mammal_mama - 1/12/13 at 3:36am
post #35 of 91
Thread Starter 

Not even relevant, sorry.


Edited by mammal_mama - 1/12/13 at 3:34am
post #36 of 91
Thread Starter 

Sorry, way too much information.


Edited by mammal_mama - 1/12/13 at 3:33am
post #37 of 91
We belong to meat CSA. All organic (though not certified, which i am fine with, pastured, ethically raised animals. We've been to the farm, it's great. We pay up front, and it is more than buying meat from the supermarket, BUT it's much less than buying meat from whole foods or a boutique butcher. We don't buy meat from the store really, which is nice. It takes worrying about ethical meat eating (I obviously think that eating meat is not unethical in and of itself!) out of the equation and we don't eat huge portions of meat, which is better for us anyway.

Another thing that we do is buy 4h auction livestock. It's not typically organic, but most of the livestock is basically raised by a kid in his (albeit large) backyard for fair. You can talk to the kids (and often their parents) before the auction to learn about what they feed them and how they keep them. These animals are being raised way more humanely than any animal in a factory farm. And it's not bad pricing either. I split a pig with a friend for 2.45 a pound on the hoof. The processing fee was about $175 for each of us. We were also able to pick our own meat processor and go tour the facility. I felt totally comfortable with the way the animals would be treated and slaughtered after seeing EVERYTHING and talking at length with the owner. The meat ended up being $3 something a pound when all was said and done,which is more than a supermarket again, but really reasonable when compared to what it would cost to buy ethically raised meat at the store. We did the same with a cow and it was even less per pound on the hoof.

I hope sharing my experience has helped smile.gif
post #38 of 91
Annoying triple post smile.gif
Edited by Banana731 - 1/11/13 at 3:03pm
post #39 of 91
Annoying double post smile.gif
Edited by Banana731 - 1/11/13 at 3:02pm
post #40 of 91
Thread Starter 

Meat CSA sounds awesome, I just looked up the one in my city. So does 4h. I've also often thought about joining some kind of co-op where we could regularly get organic produce and raw milk. It may be a while before we can join a co-op, but maybe we can start with Meat CSA as a beginning, at some point in the near future.

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