Mothering Forum banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
554 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
That's the question my friend's 3.5 year old dd asked at dinner the other night. All of a sudden, she started to think about the chickens she sees at the petting zoo and the one sitting on her plate. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/bag.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Bag">: My friend was so stunned that she didn't know how to answer her. Instead, she directed the conversation to another topic. This bought her some time, but her dd is very inquisitive and the topic will inevitably come up again. When she brought it up to me, I couldn't really think of a good way to go about explaining the concept of animals as food. My dd is almost 3 and hasn't thought about that yet.<br><br>
So, what would be a good way to explain about the chicken as a pet and the chicken as dinner?? Friend's daughter is pretty sensitive and she is concerned that if she doesn't go about this the right way, dd will reject any meat or poultry once she realizes where it comes from.<br><br>
p.s This thread is not intended to spawn a discussion on the merits of being vegan or vegetarian.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,913 Posts
Well, I was faced with this same issue when my dd was around that age. We had a long conversation about it. The fact is that pet animals and food animals ARE the same thing. My daughter chose to become a vegetarian, and we supported her decision even though the rest of the family is not veg. My dd is now 5, and has not had any meat (except fish which she chose to continue eating) since that day. I guess you can skirt around the question, but sooner or later they are going to realize it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
722 Posts
We talked about the eating habits of lots of other animals and about food chains. My kids know that some animals eat only plants, some eat only animals, and some eat both. We eat both.<br><br>
I would be suppotive of either of my kids being vegetarian if that were their choice. It is a VERY healthy choice. My DH and I just like meat.<br><br>
I don't see pet animals and food animals as the same, though. We don't eat dog and we don't have a pet cow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,913 Posts
well..................<br>
some people DO eat dog, and some people DO have pet cows. Anyway, what I mean was that all animals can feel pain, and need food, shelter and water.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
45,396 Posts
Dh's answer, and my first reaction, would be "the store". We have enough trouble getting our kids to eat anything remotely healthy, we don't need to add to it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,289 Posts
I totally sympathize with this family's predicament...DD and I are vegetarians but DH is not, and I know this will eventually come up someday when DD realizes what her dad is eating.<br><br>
While I have an opinion on what an ethical answer would be, I think realistically that many kids will do fine with either "It comes from the store" or "It comes from a chicken farm." They may not pursue the question further. My non-veg friend regularly reminds me that I may be worrying over nothing when I muse on what we'll do when it comes up in my house. Even adults, who can grasp how basically strange it is that we eat some furry animals and love and cuddle other furry animals, manage to stop thinking about it when it's time to eat something good. Kids may be even more likely to say "Oh, a farm like the one we visited at school? Cool!" and then keep eating. You never know.<br>
-
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
13 Posts
We have always been pretty upfront with this one. My 3 yr old daughter knows we eat other animals and also knows I choose to buy only organiclly raised animals to ensure they were living as good a life as possible. She has been to an organic farm where we order our meat and been to the chicken farm where we get our eggs. She has helped us catch and kill fish and crab and takes it all in stride. She also knows about how vegetables are grown and that people all over the world work hard to make our food for us.<br><br>
She has the best appetite and is so appreciative of her food - its cool. She really seems to 'get' that if we care for our planet it provides us with wonderful food. She is careful not to waste what she has and isn't at all squeamish.<br><br>
I was raised on a farm and was horrified when I moved to the city and realised how removed most people are from their food. It makes me sad that parents think they need to protect kids from the source of their food. It does take gentle, sensitive introduction - but imo no one should think that food just showed up in the grocery store as a ready made product. The real story is not difficult for kids too grasp and grasping it really helps us understand our impact and roll in the world.<br><br>
Start slow though. Find out where eggs and veggies come from first<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br>
Diane
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
135 Posts
Although my dd is not yet of that inquisitive age, I was surprised on her reaction while watching National Geographic. She's totally fund of cats, and when they showed a lion, or tiger, I told her that those are big cats. And she's also crazy about bunnies. But, put the two together, and you have a demonstration of the food chain. While I expected her to be distraught by the fact that the bunny was eaten, well, she looked simply interested, and her only comment was "miam miam miam" which simply meant to me that she realised that the lion was simply eating. The fact that it was the bunny didn't bother her that much. Maybe she didn't get it, but still...<br><br>
So my idea would be to take examples from the animal world, like some of the pp...<br><br>
Greetz,<br>
Fiikske
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,330 Posts
I think it's unethical to skirt around the issue. If you don't feel it's wrong to kill animals for food, then there shouldn't be a problem explaining that to your kids. You've gotten some great suggestions here!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,562 Posts
My dd sprung this on me last year after seeing a commerical on TV. I was totally honest with her. I told her that those were chicken legs and people were eating them. She looked shocked. She asked if it hurt the chickens and I said yes, it did. She said, "That's not nice to eat chicken legs. Poor chickens." She has since realized that cows, pigs, and turkeys are also meat animals.<br><br>
I have not gone into the details of slaughter houses or anything like that, but she needs to know the truth. We were watching a documentary on geese and she saw some hunters shooting them out of the sky before I could change the channel. I wouldn't have let her see that because it was too graphic. However she took it okay and it led to another conversation about what our family believes.<br><br>
She asked about eggs and I explained that there are eggs for eating and eggs that grow into baby chicks. She always makes sure that we have "eggs for eating" that we use for cooking. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
I just think think children deserve the truth. Life is sometimes not pretty and if they are old enough to ask, then they are old enough to get an honest answer.<br><br>
Darshani
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,049 Posts
When my kids asked "where did this meat come from?" I answered simply "a cow". They looked at me and then asked about the rest of the meat that we eat and I explained it all to them. They took it very well, even the sensitive ones, and my ds decided to become vegitarian. That lasted one dinner time and then he decided that he really likes meat along with his veggies so he changed his mind.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,867 Posts
I have always been upfront about it with my dd(now 5). It actually started when I was explaining to her about cows milk,and how we get that. In the stores she knows that in the meat section there are pieces and parts from dead cows,pigs,chickens,turkey,and so on. She knows that when we get a new home and get chickens some eggs will be eaten along with the hens. I too would be fine with the kids been vegan. I think kids should know exactly what they are eating and drinking. As far as when to discuss the issue-it just depends on the child.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,825 Posts
We've always been upfront about the reality of animal as food. I'm a vegetarian, DH is not. DS and DD have both chosen to eat meat. In fact, that's a pretty frequent conversation around my house...<br><br>
"mommy, I like roast beef. roast beef is cow. i like cows. but you don't eat animals. but i eat animals." 2 yo DD said that to me today.<br><br>
Be honest and upfront. If you think it is acceptable to eat animals, I don't know why you wouldn't want to tell your kids the truth. Even little ones are capable of understanding the concept of the food chain. Some animals are herbivores, some are carniovores and some are ominvores. We all need to eat to stay alive.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,844 Posts
This issue came up just the other day at our house and my son is still sorting it all out. He realized that the venison in his chili was the same thing as the deer having their dinner out on our front lawn. The next night he wanted to know where his chicken came from. "From a chicken, honey", I told him.<br><br>
"But not a chicken-chicken, right?"<br><br>
So we had a kid-level discussion about it. I'm not sure what he'll decide, but he's also working through the fish thing, the egg thing, and the pesto thing (I use spinach in my pesto - he feels betrayed). I feel like it's just the first of a series of food-related epiphanies he'll have which he can use to work out his own approach to food and eating as he grows.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,626 Posts
We've always been open and upfront about the issue of where meat comes from. Dd loves animals as pets, and is very interested in them from a child-scientific-investigative perspective, but she'll also occasionally remark on how tasty a given animal looks (usually re fish). Yes, we're carnivores.<br><br>
Failing to be open about this issue is gravely dishonest, IMO. Some children don't want to eat meat when they discover that it used to belong to a living, breathing, feeling and even cute animal. Can you imagine, for example, how you'd feel if you'd been eating something regularly for a long time, and then discovered that it was actually, say Soylent Green or something?
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top