The Life of Meat

Marisol - las vegas, New Mexico
Entered on April 28, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
  • Listen to This I Believe on RadioPublic

  • Podcasts

    Sign up for our free, weekly podcast of featured essays. You can download recent episodes individually, or subscribe to automatically receive each podcast. Learn more.

  • FAQ

    Frequently asked questions about the This I Believe project, educational opportunities and more...

  • Top Essays USB Drive

    This USB drive contains 100 of the top This I Believe audio broadcasts of the last ten years, plus some favorites from Edward R. Murrow's radio series of the 1950s. It's perfect for personal or classroom use! Click here to learn more.

Meat is one of my favorite foods. I eat it almost every day. The problem is I believe that animals think and feel. So now I can’t eat a slice of pepperoni pizza without thinking of how that animal was killed.

My mom was raised in a very small village in northern New Mexico. My mom used to tell me stories of when she was little. I would sit there on the couch dangling my feet side to side while she told me about the farms she grew up in. Her grandmother wouldn’t waste any part of the animal they killed. They would eat the brains, meat, and even make blood pudding. My mom’s grandfather would say the brains where eggs so she would eat them. I was amazed by how different it was from then and now. They treated their animals with respect. But now, factory farms don’t care about treating the animals with respect. They care about the money they get from the animals. I sat there letting her stories fill up my head with fear and wonder, letting them slowly consume me with the thought that animals have feelings too.

When I learned from my school about how animals are being treated, I started researching some for myself. We learned about factory farmers and how they cut the beaks of chickens, so the chicks won’t peck each other. But still, isn’t there other ways to stop the chickens from pecking themselves? They have feelings too. Some farmers put their chickens in small cages where they can’t even open their wings. Don’t you think animals have feelings? Just think, what if you were one of these chickens. You don’t know where you are. You don’t know how you got there. It’s painful and they’re hurting you for reasons you don’t understand.

What if I was that cow, sitting there in the corner while my friend is being slaughtered for reasons I don’t understand? As my body is filling up with fear and torment I would be wondering,” Why am I here? What are they doing? Why are they doing this?”

Animals have feelings too. Do you have pets? Can’t you remember your cat sitting quietly in the corner? And as you slowly pass by, you hear your cat yelp in agony and you think “Oh no, I am so sorry”, just when you realize you just stepped on her precious tail. Shouldn’t we be treating other animals the same? Shouldn’t we be thanking them? They give us a delicious meal and we give them torture.

I want to eat a meal with meat and not feel guilty for the animal that was killed.

I like meat, and I like to eat it. But why do we have the need to do this. I strongly believe animals can also think and feel. So if my belief is true then don’t you think we should be treating them more respectfully?