“Is it mean to kill turkeys and eat them?” was the question posed to me by my seven year-old meat-eating son. I describe him as a “meat eater” because I am not. I’m really not against the act of killing animals for food, I just believe that eating animals today (because of the way they are bred, fed and chemically enhanced) will kill you. Now, before you get upset because you are an animal lover and believe we should treat all animals with respect or because you are a proud omnivore who believes you are on the top on the food chain and can eat whatever you please, stop and take a deep breath, I’m talking to a curious first grader with a valid question about food.
One of the most common food complaints from parents is that their kids don’t eat their vegetables. I never worried about Azul not eating his veggies because he always has, and that is because I always have, there was never an option not to. We eat a lot of vegetables, I cook them and we eat them. He loves broccoli (a.k.a. little trees) and beets because they make him pee and poop red. Beets are the best. I’m telling you, red poop is hilarious!
He is very adamant that he is in fact a carnivore, and I’m okay with that because I do feed him meat. And I take as much care in my meat selections as I do with my vegetable choices. I always do giggle when he proclaims his manliness in being a meat eater, but then eats his veggies first, because we all know, real men eat veggies. There is nothing more emasculating than watching a man cower at the sight of lightly steamed cauliflower and gag as it goes down. Really!?!
So, back to the original inquiry: Is it mean to kill turkeys and eat them? My answer, like many of my answers to my son was formed as a question and sent right back to him.
“It depends on how you feel about turkeys, I guess?” I know, deep. I exude nothing but parental confidence. “If you really like turkeys and feel strongly that you shouldn’t eat them, then it could be seen as mean to kill them. Or if you’re hungry and like turkey, then it wouldn’t be mean at all, it’s food and you treat it that way. So, what do you think?”
“I think if your best friend was a pig you wouldn’t want to eat him.” Was how he replied to my so-so answer.
“Probably not.” I said. We do read a lot of Mo Willems’ books and love the Piggie stories. With me trotting around a definitive answer, luckily our conversation moved on to a Thanksgiving song he learned at school that day called “Albuquerque Turkey.”
“Albuquerque has a turkey …”