I'll admit - I'm a little chicken to post about this experience on this site. I had a somewhat hard time dealing with it myself. But it's part of life - so why hide it?
We went to visit my family in Chicagoland this summer. We had a family picnic - kind of a reunion-slash-birthday party. My dad turned 80, another uncle turned 85 and yet another is turning 70.
Let me pause just to reiterate that we were in the midwest.
Hopefully that's all the context you'll need.
My mom has wanted to have a pig roast for years. This was her opportunity. It takes a lot of people to eat a whole pig. So you need to have quite the party.
In the midwest, pig roasts are pretty common. They are a feature of many weddings even.
We don't eat much meat - especially from pigs. Given the common practices of feeding and treating pigs, I don't really want that stuff in my body. Nor my children's. But when in Rome...
As Kaelyn has grown, she's started to ask about where the food comes from. Last year for Thanksgiving she asked about the Turkey. I told her all about it and thought she'd never eat meat again. But she happily ate up the turkey dinner. Now this pig - that's another story. She asked if it was alive before? Why do they have to cook it dead? It was interesting to reflect on her unexposed brain trying to make sense of it. You can see from the photo below that she was quite horrified.
She did not partake in eating the pig. She was quite upset about it. She also didn't really make the connection from this roasted pig to the one in the petting zoo we visited 5 minutes after this photo.
And she did partake in eating bacon a few days later - even though we told her it came from a pig like the one at the park.
Overall, I'm glad for the opportunity to have the kids see where the meat comes from. The turkey at Thanksgiving comes without a head or feet. This pig came in all it's pighood glory. When I came back and told people in California, they were horrified that we would show this to children. They thought it was torture. But I actually think it's very important. It's reality. It's another example of how far we've come from our food. We don't see, touch, smell, or know what our food was before it was on our plate.
When the kids are a little older, old enough to keep the memory in their brain, we plan to spend a week on a farm - where we get to know the animals and the process of killing them. Personally, I think we should all experience the context of where our food comes from. My mom did. My dad did. They both butchered their own animals when they were young kids. And they still eat meat. But at least they are connected to the whole purpose of being a meat eater - and they are able to make a choice with all the information at hand.
On the flipside, here is quick, easy to watch, educational video on the downside of meat - specifically beef.