Friday, 26 March 2010

vegetarians, stop reading right here...

Spring is sprung in ruralshire, and everywhere you look is new life: lambs gambolling in the meadows and - thanks to our local farm shop and their willingness to let small children rampage around the farm - piglets too.
Ah. The farm shop. The flipside of all this rural idyll stuff is the link you can't avoid in the countryside: the one between animals in the field and animals on the plate. When we were townies, meat came shrinkwrapped from the supermarket: now, you can buy it a few yards from where it was previously living. And even the boy has started to work it out.
It started with 'Where does chicken come from?' one teatime. Um, from chickens. Yes, like the ones outside the house down the road. 'Why don't the chickens need it any more?' Um, well, because it sort of IS the chickens. Ones that are sort of, um, er, dead. 'Why are they dead?' Weelll, they had a very long and happy life, and then when they got very very old, and had finished being chickens, well, um, er....
I have made a complete hash of it, obviously. I was expecting to tackle the big metaphysical questions sooner or later, obviously: but I was thinking expired pet goldfish, not dinner.
Yet I've been surprised on two counts. Firstly, the boy has taken it all rather matter of factly: small children aren't sentimental, possibly because the towering ego of your classic under-3 does not allow for empathy with chickens.
Secondly, I'm also less squeamish about this than I thought. Perhaps because I was brought up in the country myself, getting closer to the source of my Sunday roast hasn't put me off it.
But it has made me care more about where our meat came from, and what sort of life it had before: we now eat meatfree once a week and more fish too. It feels appropriate that meat should no longer be a daily thing. Unlike those lambs, whom we see every morning.


  1. I was brought up in the countryside so am very much of the view, us - look after them, eat them and them - food

    My poor Mr isn't - watching me wring the neck of one of our chickens nearly did for him!

    It does make you think about animal welfare a lot more when you see them as beings not just shrink wrapped

  2. I feared the first Sunday lunch of Roast Lamb last weekend since the fluffy things started springing up around here, but, thank goodness there were no problems. Its a godsend my kids like meat so much. No chance of veggies in this house.

    MD x