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Do you feel guilty when you eat meat? Discussing the ethics of eating animals

What happens when farmers become friends with the animals they need to prepare for food?
Nina | Flickr | http://bit.ly/28NrntC
What happens when farmers become friends with the animals they need to prepare for food?

For many of us, our food arrives on a plate well-dressed and prepared for consumption. We rarely pause to think about what that plate of food was before we used it as nourishment. But for some local foodies and farmers, becoming friends with their food before they eat it is commonplace.

That poses a particular ethical quandary: how does one feel about eating animals they know? Drawing on varying national conversations about food ethics, vegetarianism and the like, St. Louis on the Air discussed the ethics of eating animals — those you know and those you don’t — on Wednesday’s program.

Joining the program for our monthly Sound Bites segment to discuss the subject were: Rosalie Truong, a local farmer who raises rabbits, alongside Heather Hughes, the managing editor for Sauce Magazine, and Meera Nagarajan, the art director for Sauce Magazine.

In this month’s Sauce Magazine, Hughes highlights her struggle to come to terms with eating rabbit after having raised baby rabbits of her own. She gets to the bottom of exactly how food producers, like Truong, go about the process of slaughtering animals for human consumption.

“I had pet rabbits growing up and then I got a pet rabbit in my twenties,” Hughes said. “I had this friend who loved French food who always used to tease, ‘I’m going to eat your rabbit,’ after a couple of glasses of wine. I’d always say ‘rabbits aren’t food, that’s disgusting, how horrible,’ and then I impulsively ordered a rabbit dish at this restaurant in Portland.”

Hughes said she couldn’t stop thinking about the experience.

“Beef had never bothered me, I eat chicken all the time … rabbit seemed like this strange, taboo, disgusting thing,” Hughes said. “They were pets, it was like eating a cat, but the more I thought about it, the more unreasonable that seemed. It was a purely emotional, childhood irrational attachment I had to not eating rabbit.”

Listen to Hughes, Truong and Nagarajan discuss their experiences coming to terms with the food they eat here:

This Sound Bites segment is produced as a part of a partnership between Sauce Magazine and St. Louis Public Radio.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.
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