I read Lindy West’s F*ck Yes, I’ll Eat Some Horse Meat. Give It to Me. I Love It. on Jezebel with amusement and… shock? I’m not used to seeing things like this in mainstream media. It’s just so conscious, calling humans on our speciesism so clearly and bluntly and irreverently: Humans know that all animals are made of meat, she writes. (She doesn’t touch on the fact that humans are also animals, and also made of meat, but okay.) So if we eat cows, what business do we have being all upset when we accidentally eat a horse? Good point.
Back when I was 17 I went to Japan on a scholarship and resolved I would try to be really open, and would try any food that came my way. I was an enthusiastic omnivore then, comfortable with myself as an animal that had evolved to eat other animals (I, um, hadn’t read enough yet), and I was ready for anything. I ate a lot of flesh from members of species I never eaten before: octopi, eels, lots of unfamiliar fishes. No turtles. I had a ban on turtles and rabbits because I had had them as pets.
I had met a horse many times, a horse who was deeply loved by someone in my family, but I hadn’t ever gotten really close with horses. So on this trip, I ate horse. Raw, actually — there was a big plate of horse sushi at the reception the Japanese government folks held for us exchange students. I didn’t want to be rude, and I kind of wanted to show off how brave and culturally open I was, to defy some stereotypes about Americans. So I ate some. It tasted a lot like all the other sushi: Soft and chewy and kind of slimy. It was fine, but I didn’t enjoy it. And now, years later, when I’ve come to the realization that horses and cows and humans are all the same, I regret that I made the choice I did then. I have to live with that regret for the rest of my life. I wish that I had seen it then: If animals are all made of meat, what do we do? Eat all of them indiscriminately? (Why not humans then?) Or stop eating all of them, because we’ve realized that all the other meat is just as autonomous as we are?
For more on humanity’s apparently willful ignorance about our food choices, watch this clip from Real Time With Bill Maher, Episode 273 (wherein he says a number of insensitive things as he is wont to do, sorry):
It’s perhaps worth noting that despite his apparent grasp of the consent issues relating to animal exploitation, Bill Maher isn’t vegan.
I’m curious if human beings will always try to hold onto the idea that we’re somehow so special we should be allowed to treat every member of every other species on this planet like they’re property.