The thing is, I have and have always had a problem with our mainstream’s cultural entitlement to and spiritual disconnect from the creatures they eat.

When I was old enough to understand that what I was eating used to be a living creature, I became sad in what felt like a very normal reaction. Why wouldn't someone be sad who connects deeply with other creatures and then learns that they are eating some of these creatures? The responses I received — many of which ranged from oh it's not a big deal two what's wrong with you? — resulted in a sense of deep unease. Nourishment and caring about other creatures became two distinct and separate ideas for me. Our society’s wanton and greedy killing ways feel present to me when I’m sitting at the table and I can’t just set that aside like a dirty napkin.

I’ve been watching documentaries recently featuring Indigenous folks and others who are strongly, spiritually connected to their culture, where food animals are not over-consumed, and where deep respect for other beings is present. I feel a sense of healing watching these folks interact, physically and spiritually, with their animal and plant foods. If our society moved away from factory farming and other heartless, industrialized, cruel practices and reconnected with the "humanity" of food animals, I would likely change my eating style. I’m still deeply sensitive and feel profound connection to other creatures, but I also love the Buddhist practice of accepting whatever is given, especially at mealtime. In a kinder, more caring society I would probably become an occasional meat eater, or if this term exists, omnivore "lite."