DO you unnecessarily kill animals? Do you eat meat? We often consider these to be two different questions. I don’t believe they are.
Many upstanding citizens who would not hurt a fly eat deli meats or Big Macs quite comfortably. They would never kill a living thing but have no trouble enjoying a chunk of flesh that was killed to meet their demand.
Whether or not one should eat meat is a moral and ethical question that, for most humans, gets overlooked. If one just eats meat for pleasure, is that just?
I must dispel the myth that eating meat is a health requirement. I am a 190 cm, 200 pound vegetarian. When I announced my decision to become a vegetable eater only, people told me I would turn to skin and bone. Sorry doomsayers, that didn’t happen.
Today’s humans don’t eat chicken or beef. We eat nuggets and burgers. The majority of our produce comes packaged, and we never have to face our meat before it’s delivered to us.
When I was a camp counsellor in Canada in my teens, I would get my campers to catch, clean and cook fish because I believed it was an important experience to have. Meat-eating city kids find this experience rather shocking. Never before had they met their meat. Many of us in cities like Kuala Lumpur have not either.
In this collection of photographs, we see a side of Asia that is still in touch with its meat. The protagonists in these pictures are just providing for their families. For a city dweller, these pictures might likely be dubbed “gross” or “graphic”. For me, they are real. Modern factory meat production happens behind closed doors. In these photographs, the doors are wide open.
Do you need meat, and if you do, are you willing to get to know it? _________________________________________________________________________________________
Colin Boyd Shafer did enjoy the taste of meat but could no longer do so once he considered the choice from an ethical and environmental standpoint. All photos and captions are his.