My unconcious decided that it was time to ponder the situation, so I had this dream:
Long, endless conversation. So boring I cannot remember a smidge. I'm in a normal space, some anonymous room in someone's very normal, nondescript house.
A wild boar passes by, in the middle of our conversation.
Without realizing what I am doing, I pounce at once on the large, prickly animal. I beat on it with bare fists, feeling it crumple under me. With each blow it becomes smaller, less formidable, until I am man-handling a mere baby.
I wake up, feeling monstrous. It is definitely in my top ten list of worst (and weirdest) dreams.
It's not the killing of animals that bothers me. It's the way they are processed, like products instead of living, breathing animals.
Herds of cattle are prodded into curved tunnels, throats slit just around the corner, carcasses treated and pushed further down the line. Endless droves of chicks are dumped on conveyer belts, beaks burned, claws removed, doomed to spend years feeding on genetically and chemically treated grain. They are stuffed in cages, unable to move, to breed or to sleep. Functions that, like humans, they are entitled to perform as living creatures - as heirs of evolutionary history.
I understand that there are alternatives to the conventional meat industry. Companies like Whole Foods and Trader Joes provide the meat of "free range" and organically grown animals in their respective stores, but many of the products in these stores are many times the price of conventional meats, and at this point in my life, I am unable to afford these products.
So conventional products end up in my fridge, and I have to forget the suffering that went into my chicken breast.
Which brings me to the alternative: vegetarianism.
It wouldn't be too much of a switch. My family would raise a collective brow (Italians like their pork) and Western Maryland is not exactly conducive to the lifestyle, but something needs to change. I don't like feeling like a hypocrite (too much, anyway), and I will have to change my habits long before the conventional meat industry changes theirs.
With Vegetarianism, I'm still up in the air. With the meat industry, I am not. But, finals week is not the best time for a major life overhaul. Maybe next week I'll decide whether or not a diet without meat is the type of lifestyle that suits me best.