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What bothers me the most about eating meat – the hypocrisy

I am by no means a 100% vegetarian or a vegan, but what bothers me the most about people who eat meat, are the ones who say things like:

“YUCK! I can’t stand seeing that animal killed! “

…or my perennial favourite…

“That’s gross! You can see its head and its eyes!”

[said by many an ignorant child AND ADULT at a fish market or in Chinatown]

I was out for dinner about a year ago at a steakhouse, and we all ordered a steak each.

A guy at the table recounted how he wanted to have lobster one night because he loved it so much, went to the store and tried to buy a few, but ultimately when he got home, he couldn’t bear to kill them to eat them.

…then he ordered a huge 32 ounce steak and prepared to dig in with gusto.


So if it comes prepared and totally cut up beyond a recognizable animal before you eat it, it’s okay?

Another girl at the table said that she couldn’t imagine animals being killed, and I stared at her in disbelief that she would say such a thing.

I told her in a blunt but not too unkindly way:

“Your steak came from a part of a cow that was killed so you could eat it.

If you can’t imagine an animal being killed to be eaten, you have no business eating your steak.”

She was shocked and went a bit silent, but .. hey, I’m not a sugar coater, but if it helps, I didn’t go into detail before the steaks arrived, although she didn’t seem to enjoy it as much as she did ordering it, I’ll tell you that much.

Even when animals are butchered, I want them to be butchered so that it’s a fast, and efficient kill by a skilled butcher, and they don’t feel any pain or are tortured on their way to death.

This culture of ours in North America that tries to de-sensitize what we’re eating by putting it into styrofoam packages and neatly packaged, lifeless, bloodless packs of meat, is really hypocritical.

Frankly, if you can’t imagine a head, a body, legs, and a life to the meat that you’re eating, you shouldn’t be damn well eating it.


I am a bona fide occasional meat eater. Like I said, I’m not a vegetarian or a vegan 100% of the time, but it’s now 80% – 90% of my diet. I do eat meat on occasion.

No, I don’t kill my own animals, and I don’t butcher them, but I KNOW where my food comes from.

For instance I grew up eating fish with its head and tail on, and when I heard this woman say to a friend:

“I went on a trip and had fish, but they served it to me whole, with its eyes and everything!!

I had to ask the chef to bring out a towel or something to cover its face and the tail so I could eat the fish.”

…I get really annoyed.

(Yes I eavesdrop a lot. I look like I am not listening, but I AM because I am nosy.)

It’s ridiculous and hypocritical to feel outraged at a death of an animal when you yourself are munching on a huge piece of meat that came from an animal.

It is just as hypocritical for us to feel bad for those who died in Bangladesh being crammed together in a sweatshop that was crumbling due to bad building maintenance, and then go out to shop at Joe Fresh (that used that factory), or H&M where they also manufacture a lot of items in that country.

(As a side note, here’s some refreshing news about Disney leaving those countries with little to no work standards, and quietly voting with their business.)


I didn’t grow up on a farm by any means, but I have enough knowledge and respect to understand where my food comes from.

I wouldn’t be adverse to living on a farm and learning how it’s done to raise a calf to a cow and then to watch it (or learn how) it is butchered in the same way that I would not shy away from learning from someone how to garden and grow vegetables.

It’s the same thing to me.

This is where food comes from, and if you can’t handle the idea of killing animals to eat them, or hunting, you should consider becoming a vegetarian.

Me, I’m sticking to eating meat, poultry and fish on occasion, but at least I am at peace and I know what I’m eating.

I’m also starting to see that meat-eating people who have pets and are horrified when animals are abused (cats, dogs, and other “cute” animals), are also hypocritical.

They don’t take into account that the pork chop that they’re eating came from a pig that was crammed into a huge industrial room with other pigs without any space to move or act like animals before being slaughtered and sold.

Too harsh for you?

Read this.

Almost all industrial meat comes from animals that are abused on a daily basis for our consumption.

Why is your dog or cat exempt from such abuse but the pig from which your pork chop came from, is not?

This is why I buy from small farms where I know how the animals are raised, and that they live an actual life of a happy animal before they’re killed for my consumption.

(Not that I eat much meat to begin with these days, but… it’s something to I always consider when I buy meat.)


  • Derwyn

    A lot of the comments here are full of hypocrisy and contradiction here as well…ironic

  • Don

    There is no such thing as humane slaughter. Murder is murder, rape is rape. If you aren’t Vegan, you are in some way hypocrytical, ignorant, and desensitize facts to try make your choices seem more justifiable. Knowing the facts and doing nothing is worse than not knowing.

    • save. spend. splurge.

      I don’t disagree with you completely, but I think taking such a black and white stance is tough, at least for me.

      Curious — would insects and bugs fit in the list somehow? People kill spiders and cockroaches all the time. Is it just because they’re not as cute, and therefore fine to murder?

      What about vegetables? Isn’t eating them killing them too? Ending their life in the ground?

  • Diane

    I don’t eat ANY meat or fish or fowl.. And in a LOT of countries today, they are eating DOGS and CATS. A lot of them are even STOLEN PETS! To those that consume them, it is normal.. To those that don’t, it is EVIL and DISGUSTING.. Much the way Vegans/Vegetarians view Meat Eaters.. However, those that eat the dogs and cats TORTURE them before they cook them. The animals are. crammed into tiny cages, usually 20-30 per cage, packed in with no space to move. Then left in cages without water/food in the hot sun. If they’re lucky, they die before the torture begins. They are beaten with sticks, skinned ALIVE, boiled ALIVE, feet cut off for “souvenirs” by the torturers. They are burned ALIVE, and other atrocities of torture.. This is STILL going on in these countries. You can Google DOG MEAT FESTIVAL to see for yourselves. If people weren’t so selfish and greedy and cruel.. I believe there would actually be hope for this EVIL world..


      Well how is that any different from eating chickens crammed into huge factory cages with their beaks cut off, pigs crammed into tight spots so much that they go around biting each other’s tails, snouts and biting ears?

      What is the difference between industrial meat and what you are describing?

    • Technus

      You’re a hypocrite. A pig can make a great pet too. And who the hell cares if it was someone’s pet anyway, or how much it was loved. At least the pet got to have a decent life before it was murdered, unlike pigs, cows and chickens. They do this shit to these animals too. Get a clue! Stop crying over dogs, you speciest.

  • Anne @ Unique Gifter

    Once, when my spouse and I were at Walmart buying some hunting stuff, the cashier at the checkout said “Oh, they have the murdering clothes out already?”
    We were both too shocked to react, but in the parking lot we couldn’t get over it. Obviously the response I wish I’d given was, “oh, so you’re a vegetarian?” *ifonly*
    Whenever my spouse tells the story, it includes the line, “I thought Walmart flogged its employees for statements like that.”
    Ridiculous ignorance upsets me. Good work pointing it out to your friend.

  • Helen


    I’m in the same boat as you. After reading The Omnivore’s Dilemma and other books, I decided that if I was going to buy meat to cook and eat, it would come from animals that lived comfortably.

    Given that humanely-raised meat is more expensive, I only cook it a few times a month. The rest of the time, we eat like vegetarians, which includes sustainable fish, cage-free eggs, and organic dairy. This way of eating also encourages creativity when cooking, which I quite enjoy.

    Have you read The China Study? It’s a comprehensive examination of the relationship between diet and incidences of chronic disease, comparing the animal protein-heavy American diet with the plant-heavy rural Chinese diet. Reading it definitely strengthened my position on eating less meat.

    As for squeamishness when facing the dead animal behind the meat, I say get over it. Meat does not come from the supermarket all neatly packaged and shrink wrapped, and one should not be allowed to eat meat if one cannot look the dead animal in the eye.

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Oh my goodness that China Study was featured in the documentary “Forks Over Knives”, which you simply must watch if you haven’t already.

      It also notes quite clearly that Chinese people are of the same ‘stock’, so to speak, and to see such high variations between their diet at 400X more of cancers in some meat-eating areas versus others, is shocking to me.


      I agree that people should either learn where their meat comes from and get over it, or stop eating it if it makes them sick to think about it.

      Especially if they think about all the baby male chicks that get ground up live in factories because they can’t produce eggs for sale.

      I’m basically turning vegetarian, with some leanings towards just eating seafood/fish now, which isn’t a huge loss for me as the meat here doesn’t taste good anyway.

  • Toni

    My mom always expressed respect and honor for the animals she ate; she didn’t shy away from the reality of what she was consuming when I was a kid. I liked that and tried to do the same, but I was also disgusted by raw meat and basically never cooked with it (and felt sad about eating animals). When I finally realized vegetarianism was an option (in college), it suited me much more. I’m so glad I can just opt out all things associated with meat-eating, even the little details like washing bloody cutting boards, ew. I only get to skip the unpleasant parts of meat-eating because I don’t participate at all. Otherwise I’d be doing my best to make peace with the reality of it. Like you, I get really annoyed by people who don’t want to acknowledge where their food comes from.

    The whole pet vs. livestock thing really gets to me. I know people who value the lives of dogs SO much, and who cry out for the stiffest possible punishments for people who harm or kill them. And I get that, my dog is the love of my life. And I can understand (though I don’t necessarily agree with) having some distinction between pets and livestock. But what I don’t get is how people can feel SO strongly about pet welfare and not also acknowledge that as meat-eaters (most of whom aren’t just limiting themselves to the humane, local, free-range, whatever, options) they do perpetuate systems of torture and mass killing of animals.

    What does it for me is pigs. Pigs are soo intelligent, have so much personality, and are so adorable. Pigs are probably smarter than my beloved dog. I just can’t fathom why I’d want a pig to die because I think it tastes good, when I would practically die for my dog. If I had to eat meat to survive, I would, but simply as a matter of taste? I just don’t get it.

    Sigh, end rant. I know there are sophisticated arguments on both sides, but this is what resonates with me.

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I’m starting to grow onto the side of vegetarianism/veganism but I can say that I will never be 100%. Perhaps 99%.

      I still eat meat and fish on occasion, but compared to the way I ate it 3X a day, 7 days a week, this has dropped to barely once a week, if that (usually if I go out to see friends, and even then, it’s fish, not meat).

      I am not a pet owner nor do I want to become one (serious allergies, they start up even if I am near someone who has a dog but doesn’t clean the house like 3X a week), so I can’t really say anything not being a pet-owner, but I’ve observed that it makes no sense to love your dog and do anything for him/her, but to eat animals or at least, ones that have been raised in a factory never seeing a field or sunshine for their entire lives.

      It’s really gross, and a sick torture for these animals if you think about it.

  • Bridget

    hahaha I had Stecklefish in Germany and it freaked me out to look at but was literally SO GOOD to eat.

    I am not particularly bothered by seeing my meal with it’s head still attached… I hate seeing animal feet by themselves though, not sure why. Just chicken legs and pig feet look so gross to me.. ugh.

    I’m not a big meat eater. I actually don’t buy meat at all at the grocery store, but I do love to have meat when I dine out, particularly lamb. I have no qualms about how it looks alive or dead, head and limbs attached or not. I don’t think I’d even be that upset seeing it killed for the purpose of eating it. It’s like you said, the abuse at factory farms is much worse.

    I feel like killing animals for food is part of our human heritage. We’ve been doing it for tens of thousands of years. If it’s done as humanely as possible (and yes there are humane ways) I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it and it doesn’t bother me at all.

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I don’t like the texture of either chicken or pig feet but BF loves it. I used to be grossed out by eating tongue but now I love it.

      Just takes some getting used to. During a war however, I’d eat anything to survive.

  • Tania

    It’s cultural too right? I know my family (Japanese) and Chinese families here do the whole steamed fish and it’s considered something special (my ex-husband and I made sure we played around with our wedding budget so that we could serve whole steamed fish as we knew the aunties/uncles would appreciate it). My father also used to make pigs feet soup, which is an Okinawan thing but my friends used to get grossed out by.

    Slow Food Maui actually has a program called Taste Education which is a series that includes classes on raising poultry and butchering it. I haven’t attended but thought it was interesting as it presents a more complete picture of the local farming industry (as opposed to just focusing on fruits and vegetables). My parents used to buy 1/2 a cow from upcountry farmers here when we were growing up. The local cattle farmers here have also been making the effort to provide education on the industry.

    I don’t eat as much meat now but I do eat eggs, sushi and poke (sashimi cut in cubes and marinated in a sauce made either of shoyu/oil or pepper/mayo). I also eat cheese. I could easily go without beef and pork but would have a harder time not eating fish and eggs. But it is much less than I used to. Except for breakfast, the veggies are usually the maint “feature” of my meals now.

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I remember people getting disgusted with my eating sushi when I was a kid!!!!!

      Can you believe that now, it is considered normal to eat sushi? I was teased and bullied for my weird food habits by the same kids who now love it as adults. Ironic.

  • Troy

    So true! I think the cause of this hypocrisy is that people nowadays are just getting too “soft”.
    Think of it this way – travel back in time 200 years when everyone pretty much lived on their own farm – was this ever an issue? Of course not! You had to do the killing yourself if you wanted to eat meat, which pretty much meant that people saw death on a daily basis.
    Nowadays, we’re so far removed from the reality of what meat really is, that (like you said) people get grossed out by the sight of killing animals.

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      For me, as long as the animal is not tortured and is butchered with as little pain as possible, I’m fine with eating meat. Quick push of a knife down the lobster head rather than throwing it in, live into a boiling pot, is good for me.

      It is really disturbing when you pay attention to the way meat is mass produced in factories because they do nothing of that sort. No trace of this traditional butchering in a fast, kind way at all. The cows go up the ramp, scared witless and it is really not a pleasant thing.

  • Sheryl @ Cdn Dream at 45

    I try my best to obtain meat from animals that were well treated and (presumably) happy while they were growing.
    My grandfather hunted, as did my father (mainly birds and rabbits), and we also kept chickens and rabbits when I was young for food. We had a rule though, I was not allowed to name any of the animals that were destined for the table.

    Taking it to another light, I laugh at the vegetarians (the vegan don’t seem to do this as much, they usually go too far the other way), when people won’t eat meat because it is cruel to kill, yet have leather shoes or handbags.

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      I hear you.

      I think what is missing for me is a group of folks like me who wear and have leather, and eat vegetarian/vegan more for health rather than environmental or animal issues.

      I care more that animals harm my body on the inside (heart disease, cholesterol, etc) and the bonuses are the environmental benefits and killing less animals.

      It is purely selfish but it is what I think would drive more people to eat vegetables over meat. It worked for me, at least.

  • Melissa

    “This is why I buy from small farms where I know how the animals are raised, and that they live an actual life of a happy animal before they’re killed for my consumption.”

    YES THANK YOU! I’m a complete stranger on the internet and I could hug you for this haha… Factory farms are one of the worst things in existence. This is what I try to beat into people’s heads… Would you want Fluffy the Cat or Bruno the Dog stuffed in a tiny cage and tortured? No? Interesting. Ugh!

  • Pauline

    what a laugh about the fish towel! I was a waitress and had to teach a 40 year old guy how to eat the fish he had ordered because he had never had a whole fish.
    I have just had the same comment about meat from my friends because I have chickens and a whole lamb in my deep freezer, and they were grossed out. I would like to own my meat eating habit some day and kill my chickens, or go without. It seems normal if you breed them not to have someone do the dirty work. But so far I just empty the fish and that is about it. When the guys from the village bring me a whole lamb it is pretty graphic, with the heart, kidneys, etc and the meat is still warm, but it is fully organic and probably a quality that would be hard to find in North America. People forget that if the meat doesn’t look like meat (grounded, sausage…) it is because it is full of disgusting things like skin, intestines, brain and so on.

    • saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Amazing right? I almost burst out laughing at her ridiculousness.

      In contrast, people here think that Chinatown markets are “Gross” because they show the head, tail, face of the pig and so on. In Montreal, I saw some of it in the market (actual animal heads), and in France, the markets are full of whole animals, butchered and on display to show how fresh they are.

      Meat is pretty graphic, that’s true. It took me a long time from being a child watching my mother butcher a chicken to this point now where I learned that it is what the price is to eat meat.

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