When I was 9, I had a baby sitter who didn’t want to hurt anything. She put it just like that when I asked her why she wasn’t having chicken with my older brother and me.
“Hurt anything?” I asked.
“You know that chicken is chicken, right?”
[...] Her intention might or might not have been to convert us, but being a kid herself, she lacked whatever restraint it is that so often prevents a full telling of this particular story. Without drama or rhetoric, skipping over or euphemizing, she shared what she knew.
My brother and I looked at each other, our mouths full of hurt chickens, and had simultaneous how-in-the-world-could-I-have-never-thought-of-that-before-and-why-on-earth-didn’t-someone-tell-me? moments. I put down my fork. [...]
What our baby sitter said made sense to me, not only because it seemed so self-evidently true, but also because it was the extension to food of everything my parents had taught me. We don’t hurt family members. We don’t hurt friends or strangers. We don’t even hurt upholstered furniture. My not having thought to include farmed animals in that list didn’t make them the exceptions to it. It just made me a child, ignorant of the world’s workings. Until I wasn’t. At which point I had to change my life.
Everyone’s doing it. Everyone’s telling their stories. Will you?