Photo Credit: Isaac Valle
“How,” I wondered, “is it possible that this lovely, sophisticated, smart summer student actually goes .. goes .. Fishing?” An expression of horror registered on my face, and said student asked about it.
“How can you kill a fish?” I stammered. She burst out laughing and replied, “It’s a fish, Nancy! A fish!”.
“Yes,” I replied, “but it was a live fish and when you’re done with it, it will be a dead fish.”
Colleagues chimed in with the obvious about What Did I Think I Was Eating When I Went Grocery Shopping, yada yada yada.
They had irrefutable points, but I guess in the back of my mind I’ve always subconsciously prided myself on being several steps removed from the ugliness of slaughtering the food I eat.
Until last Wednesday.
While it’s not gruesome, it is a very stark account of the corporatization of food.
1. For one thing, we’re not getting real food much anymore, folks. It looks like food, tastes like food and maybe smells like food, but really, it’s bordering on food substitute. Think of it: When food becomes a commodity, the corporate discussion centers around making the most food, the most cheaply, for the most profit. I’m guessing there’s not a lot of, “but, by altering food this way, what health impacts does it have on people?”
2. And if you don’t think there are health impacts from the food in the supermarkets, do a quick google search on diabetes 2.
3. Last, although the film avoided gratuitous violence, anyone with half a heart for animals will be disgusted by the conditions of the life and slaughter of livestock in the corporate supply chain. In my not humble opinion, we dehumanize ourselves by numbing ourselves to how livestock is treated.
Up here in Yellowknife, I have an opportunity to make meat choices that are better for me, and for the animals.
I’ve been converted. I think it would be healthy for me to learn to fish – to become intimate with the entire process of life, death, and consumption. The student has agreed to take me with her, and is prepared that I will probably cry at some point in the process. (I said, healthy, not easy)
I simply cannot bear the thought of hunting, but there are a lot of people who hunt here, and I plan to acquire the ability to eat game – cariboo, moose, bison.
After seeing how beef and pigs and chicken are treated, it is clear to me that hunting and fishing are so much more civilized and humane. The fish has had a good fish life – swimming in the good clean lakes up here, eating whatever fish eat. The bison have had a good bison life – eating grass, drinking fresh water, roaming freely. No antibiotics. No force-feeding of corn. No horror-show cramping into tiny spaces. And with any luck, a quick, merciful death.
Wish me luck, readers. I want to do this; I know it’s the right thing; but it’s hard to confront the brutal reality that I kill another living thing in order to sustain my own life.