This week Facebook’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg is making headlines over his decision to eat only animals he kills himself.
His choice comes as part of an annual challenge he poses for himself. Last year’s challenge was to learn Mandarin. This year’s challenge is a little bit different.
“This year, my personal challenge is around being thankful for the food I have to eat. I think many people forget that a living being has to die for you to eat meat, so my goal revolves around not letting myself forget that and being thankful for what I have. This year I’ve basically become a vegetarian since the only meat I’m eating is from animals I’ve killed myself. So far, this has been a good experience. I’m eating a lot healthier foods and I’ve learned a lot about sustainable farming and raising of animals,” wrote Zuckerberg in a letter to Fortune.
He started off with a lobster, moved on to a chicken, then proceeded to kill a pig and a goat. He’s being walked through the process by Jesse Cool, owner of the Flea Street Café, who has been introducing Zuckerberg to farmers and educating him on slaughter methods, which for Zuckerberg, involves slitting throats. According to Cool, this is the most “kind” way to do it.
“I started thinking about this last year when I had a pig roast at my house. A bunch of people told me that even though they loved eating pork, they really didn’t want to think about the fact that the pig used to be alive. That just seemed irresponsible to me. I don’t have an issue with anything people choose to eat, but I do think they should take responsibility and be thankful for what they eat rather than trying to ignore where it came from,” he also stated in his letter.
Like Zuckerberg, many consumers are growing increasingly aware, and concerned with, where exactly their food is coming from and it’s becoming harder to ignore the intense suffering of innocent animals who are treated as mere commodities with dollar signs attached.
While the decision to eat meat or consume animal products is a personal choice, it has become a collective action with repercussions that can be seen around the world.
Each year, billions of cows, pigs, chickens, sheep and other innocent, sentient animals are caged, crowded, deprived, drugged, mutilated and manhandled in U.S. factory farms. They are then hauled to the slaughterhouse and killed under atrocious conditions. Millions never even make it to the slaughterhouse, dying from stress-induced diseases or injuries.
It’s becoming more difficult to ignore the level of violence, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity, pollution, misuse of antibiotics that are affecting human health, workers rights violations and animal abuse, among other problems the meat industry causes, yet somehow, there is a disconnect between packages that get neatly wrapped in cellophane and placed on store shelves and their origins.
The argument could easily be made to support Zuckerberg’s decision to take responsibility for what’s on his plate and do what many of us won’t or can’t. It’s hard to understand how people can be bothered by industrialized farming, or the fact that what they were eating used to have a life of it’s own, turn a blind eye and keep contributing to it on a regular basis, allowing agribusinesses to carry on simply because it’s profitable to do so.
Of course, there are also arguments against it. Killing an animal yourself and eating it doesn’t make you a vegetarian. Additionally, a living being doesn’t have to die just to satisfy human desire for meat.
The animals who are killed have just as much of an interest in their own lives as we do in ours. Doing it yourself and watching an animal choking on their own blood and gasping for their last breaths doesn’t make it any more ethically justifiable than having someone else do it and buying it in a store even if you’re “thankful.”
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/botheredbybees/