Wednesday evening, Helene heated up a pot of spicy pea soup that she had frozen in December. The soup base was from a stall at the Farmers Market. Hungry, we dug in immediately.
“Say, didn’t we use bison bones as the stock for this?” I asked.
We both stared at each other, in shock. Yep, this soup was made in December using the bones from organic, grass-fed bison, purchased at my favorite meat vendor at the Market.
This posed a very practical and immediate moral conundrum: should we eat it anyway, or throw it away?
If I were eating vegetarian for health reasons, I should throw it away, for sure. But my main motivation for experimenting with vegetarianism is an ethical one. Were I to have thrown away this soup right then, would it have made a difference? The bison had already been bred, raised, killed then butchered; the bones already boiled into stock. Still, should I have simply thrown it away to avoid being “guilty” by association? Ignore the act and simply clear my conscience?
Such is the moral minefield that can arise from being a vegetarian for ethical reasons.
In the end, we took the more pragmatic route: this soup was already made, and wasting it would have been a greater shame than consuming its protein content. And if being vegetarian is about respecting animal life, then certainly it was a better form of respect to eat it in full knowledge of the life that went into making it, rather than simply throwing it away.
We ate our soup. It was delicious.
First off: it’s awesome to have you here. 🙂
Second… I totally, totally agree with you. This was not apparent from this post alone, but this vegetarianism thing is really an experiment, not a decision. Here is where I talk more about it:
As you can see, I’m trying it out as an experiment, but I find myself in strong agreement with what you’re saying about moving away from mass-produced meat to local, small-scale, grass-fed beef.
hahaahah, you’re hilarious!
Going veggie for culinary reasons, to experiment with cooking and discovering new smells, tastes, flavours, textures, that I would understand. But for ethical reasons makes me wonder…
Don’t get me wrong, I do profoundly respect your choice – going veggie in general and eating the soup in particular. Some people around me are or were strict vegans for a decade, at least. I know the kind of self-discipline and caring it takes to live up to these standards.
But it’s been 8, 9 years now that I live off meat that comes cows and bulls raised no more than 10 miles from where I live.
And it’s not mass-produced plastic wrapped red-dyed proteins of unknown origins.
All Swiss cows have names. They’re cared for and, I’d dare to say, loved by their owners.
It’s pretty possible that, walking around the countryside, I crossed the path of one or two of them that ended their earthly passage in my plate, grilled and seasoned.
Honestly, eating them or not is not, to me, an ethical question.
Quite the contrary; avoiding industry-products built a bond, some kind of intimacy has grown between the cows, giving their lives, and me. And I would call it love. Carnal love.