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Squaring the Circle, How We Normalized Eating Animals To Children

by | December 15, 2018

Our kids are watching.  Make no mistake about it, what we do, what we say; they mimic. When parents normalize eating animals, and keeping others as companions. Children grow up performing the same actions. 

Young minds are incredibly impressionable minds. What we experience as kids, the behaviors and the reactions that we see our adult role models employ, particularly those of our parents, go a long way to hard-wiring us as to the sort of person we become as adults.  Being a “chip off the old block” has more psychological mileage than one may initially think.

Adult behaviors, consciously and subconsciously watched, mimicked and ingrained in our children for their later life, can stem from “cognitive dissonance”  – where thoughts and beliefs held conflict with actions then undertaken. 

eating animals
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Imagine then a family having their Sunday lunch – parents, and primary school age kids.  The chatter around the table turns to how the local animal shelter does such a great job and how it really may now be the time to adopt a rescue dog. 

The kids are of course fully onboard with that as their excited reactions show.  And yes, parents may take some pride in both doing some good for a rescue dog and seeing thrilling the kids so much.

Yet center-piece to that kitchen table, is a large roasted chicken.  Like there is every Sunday lunch-time and has been the case for years.  Mom and dad will no doubt profess to be “animal lovers” – they want to adopt that dog – but of course they really aren’t.  Week in and week out, every Sunday, and pretty much every day in-between, certain animals are consumed at meal-times without a second thought.

Put another way, it is hard to claim to “love” something if you regularly buy bits of it, load it into the oven for two hours and then eat it all for a few fleeting minutes of taste.

On the flip-side of the coin, a vegan parenting role model is, of course, not going to be broadcasting such regular displays of cognitive dissonance of eating animals, while professing their love for animals. 

And that’s always going to be much better for all partied concerned.

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Have your say, did you grow up eating animals? Let me know in the comments. 

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Dave Hewitt

An Ohio-based British Masters post-graduate, and ever since I was a little kid growing up in 70s England, I’ve always hated animal cruelty and injustice, and vegan for six years. The sense of sticking up for the voiceless, the persecuted and the powerless remains as strong as ever. Married to Monica, my vegan life partner who works for NASA, we’ve been in Ohio since 2015, and have managed to drive on the other side of the road without incident thus far.

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