“Meat” is the language of objectification — an attempt to turn a “someone” into a “something.” By referring to an animal as “meat,” the meat industry seeks to create a moral vacuum in the minds of consumers, a complete disconnection between the animal’s identity and their flesh product. “Meat” is their packaged commodity, presented just like all the other products on the store shelves, divorced from the living individuals they once were — individuals whose lives were each shaped by a unique set of experiences, interests, emotions, thoughts, memories, likes, dislikes, desires, joys, fears, attachments, families, friends, losses and pains. We need to take back the language for the animal’s sake. Eating “meat” is eating an animal, an animal corpse.
What we leave behind—our legacy—is how we affected others. And for most of us, no other choice has a greater impact on the legacy of help— or harm— we leave behind, than our daily food choices. Day after day, and year after year, our lives can be seen as the culmination of thousands of instances in which, equally assured of nourishment and health, we had the opportunity to choose kindness and mercy toward other animals, or to choose violence and death for them.
For billions of people, the question of eating animals really comes down to this basic question: am I someone who, when able to freely choose, would rather harm animals, or help them?
When able to choose, do I choose kindness over violence, or violence over kindness? Our answer is our legacy.