Pot roast and pork chops and fried chicken aren’t so very comforting after you stare into the eyes of the animal. I didn’t need to visit the Farm Sanctuary to realize I had to stop eating animals; I gave up meat after reading a book. But being with the animals — touching them, smelling them, nuzzling into their fur — reinforced just why it is I can’t consider them food anymore.
The thing is, I think I’m grieving a little bit. Grieving the foods that used to bring me such pleasure and also grieving the animals that suffered for that pleasure. But their faces are so beautiful that I mostly just feel joy to live on this planet with so many different kinds of beings. Here are a few that I and my blogger friend Heather Clisby visited at the Farm Sanctuary in Orland, CA last month.
This is pot roast, an all-time favorite food since childhood. We used to call it “stringy meat” and always had it with roasted potatoes, carrots, and onions.
And this is Harrison, a super affectionate steer found in a field and rescued as a baby. I’m glad he’ll never be anyone’s pot roast.
Thanksgiving won’t be the same without turkey. Thank goodness.
But I never thought I’d actually pet one.
The roast ducks hanging in Chinatown shop windows always creeped me out, but the delicious flavor overcame the creepiness. Nowadays, I’m incurably creeped out.
Okay, so this guy is actually a goose, not a duck. I’ve never eaten goose. And apparently, I never will.
Buckets of KFC fried chicken used to be a guilty pleasure. I’ll never forget the night I smoked a joint (Yes, I inhaled. It was a long time ago.) and polished off almost the whole container myself.
Chickens understand the munchies. They like to wander around in the dirt and eat bugs. But being battered, fried, and eaten themselves is not up there on their list of priorities.
A little Vietnamese restaurant in Chinatown serves pork chops with lemongrass. I can’t decide if that was my favorite way to eat pork or whether my grandmother’s smothered pork chops with stuffing and cream of mushroom soup were better. These days, I no longer have a favorite way to eat a pig.
Meet Blossom, and consider this: Blossom is so pink, she has to wear sunscreen to keep from getting burned in the California sun.
I had to learn to like lamb. The slightly gamey flavor was offputting at first, but I kept at it until I enjoyed the taste. Ultimately, a pointless exercise.
The sheep at the Farm Sanctuary get to keep their flesh and their coats for themselves.
I’ve never eaten goat stew, or any other goat dish, but I understand the flavor is interesting. I’m glad I’ve never eaten it because it turns out that I’m a “goat person.”
I loved the way the goats pushed up against me as I leaned back against them. They are strong and sturdy and playful and curious. And they’re good at just hanging out. In a perfect world, I’d get paid to just hang out and eat anything and everything. Maybe I’d be a goat.
I mean seriously. Who can resist this face? Not me. The only way I want to eat this animal is metaphorically, as in “Ooh, you’re so cute I could just eat you up.” It’s weird, but I think you know what I mean.
Note: The 3 photos of me petting animals were taken by Heather. You can see more of our Farm Sanctuary photos on Flickr.