Right now I am trying to figure out what I think about factory farming as it relates to my own and my family’s eating.
I have a problem with eating pigs that didn’t get to have tails. Or chickens that were never allowed to spread their wings. Or cows that ate, um, other cows (yuck!). I have not bought food with any of these things in quite some time and I have come to a point where I have a hard time eating said food in restaurants or at friends’ houses.
But I have another conflicting problem…people are very, very important to me and I don’t want to make it hard for people to relate to me. If I sit down at someone’s table and they put pepperoni pizza in front of me, what do I do? Is it more important to share in the meal and so advance our relationship by being ‘a part of’, or is it more important to stick to my value of eating in a thoughtful way?
People I really love don’t share my value regarding ethical treatment of animals. Is it important to share a meal with them, thereby affirming our friendship? Yes. Is it important to me to be able to eat food that I can identify all (or at least most) of the ingredients of and that was produced in a way that isn’t wasteful or cruel? Yes.
It is difficult to sort out what to do in this instance, but I often come up against the problem of how to think about it when my own actions don’t match up to what other people are used to. It’s not that I expect everyone else to conform to my way of doing things…most people are not going to use cloth diapers, make their own toothpaste, or grind their own flour. I’m fine with that. But when people hear that I do these things, sometimes they take it as a silent rebuke or they assume that I am out to spread the gospel of baking soda as a cleaning agent. Paul told the Romans that they should always be ready to give an answer about themselves to anyone who asked. I guess I’ll start there.