Eid is coming. Today I woke up to the sound of a bleating goat, coming from a neighbour's garden. That's a noise that always make me wince, partly because it's such a piteous cry, but mostly because it reminds me of a moral failure; eating meat is one of the few conscious decisions I make to go directly against what I believe. I'm kind to animals. I try to shoo mosquitoes out of the window rather than gas them. But I also eat animals, ones which have bonds with their young and can feel pain, and by doing so condone horrible farming practices that are bad for the animals, the consumer and the environment.
I like to think I usually do what I know is right. But I eat meat, and if I do ever think about it, I try to block the thoughts. Not a good sign, when your conscience tells you something and the beast within drowns it out by banging its metaphorical steak knife on the table. Either I don't care enough, or I'm not strong enough, to resist meat. When there is so much other good food, and so many obvious examples of people ignoring their moral compass leading down a nasty path.
There's no difference, of course, between the little goat next door that will be slaughtered for a celebration and the cow that was killed for our beef stew tonight (yes, I am going to eat it after writing this. It smells delicious). In fact that goat has a few days of fresh air and being fed well, more than my poor cow probably ever experienced.
I hate my instinctive "Awww!" when I hear the bleating in the morning - what hypocrisy, when I then tuck into a bacon sandwich. It's not that I think people eating animals is wrong. What is wrong is practicing what your conscience tells you not to, and the fact is, when I saw the below illustration by Pawel Kuczynski, I looked away. Ugh. (By the way, if you feel like indulging in a bit of first world shame, go see Kuczynski's portfolio; he has a drawing for just about every modern example of callousness and vice.)