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Did Sarah Palin Turn Me Vegetarian?

Against my better judgment I watched the Sarah Palin turkey farm interview. I will not post a link on here because it is gruesome. If you want to watch it, feel free to find it on your own on Youtube.


Basically it consists of Palin doing her political duty by “pardoning” a Thanksgiving turkey from getting killed at a farm. She hurriedly reads a speech from a folded piece of paper about why this one turkey will be pardoned. I know the President does this, too, and I found this whole show ridiculous enough. Just wait, it gets worse.


I could feel myself starting to get annoyed at the whole thing from the beginning of the program. Not to mention wondering why is this woman still in the public spotlight? but just at the total hypocrisy of the situation. Then, after the speech was over, Palin agreed to do an interview outside. In the background of the interview, there are turkeys being slaughtered one by one, in plain view of the camera. A man carries them in, flapping and struggling, and places them in a funnel upside down where I imagine their heads are cut off, because the struggling stops. There’s a big trough of blood underneath the funnels. I don’t even know what Palin’s interview was about; I wasn’t listening. I was watching the scene in horror, trying not to be nauseas.


Did the camera guy not notice? How did Palin not hear the squawking behind her? Did they know? Was there some motive behind this? On Countdown at least, the image of the slaughter in the background was semi-blurred out to spare some gore, but I think the lack of clarity made me mentally visualize the worst, and I felt sick to my stomach.

“I don’t think I can eat meat anymore,” I told my friends that night, completely serious.

“Don’t let Sarah Palin ruin meat for you!” they said.

Did Sarah Palin ruin meat for me? I’m not sure, but I’m faced with a disgust for meat I’ve never felt as strongly before in my life. I’m trying to break it down piece by piece to be rational about this before I make an impulse decision to go vegetarian (and risk being a “poser” as my vegetarian sister warned). There are two separate issues here:


1) The awful facts of the process of the animals being killed (which I’ve conveniently avoided awareness of for all these years).

2) The Sarah Palin Ick-Factor

I want to make sure I’ve got this worked out in my head, because this is a big decision, and one I want to be fully aware of. At it stands, I think if I eat turkey on Thursday I will see Sarah Palin’s head on the bird. Thankfully the dinner I’m going to will not actually HAVE a turkey (Chinese Thanksgiving with the boyfriend’s family). But what about the rest of my diet?


Am I feeling this way because meat has now come to represent (in my mind) the conservative agenda? Do I really care about the animals? Or am I just being squeamish?

“Please, I grew up in a third world country,” said my decidedly meat-eating Chinese boyfriend. “When we wanted chicken, we brought it into our kitchen and killed it right there.” Yeah. I grew up on Long Island. We didn’t do that. If I was put in the situation, I don’t think I’d be able to kill an animal myself. Does that mean I shouldn’t be eating meat?

When I was a kid I saw the movie “Chicken Run” and I couldn’t eat chicken for a month (and that was just an animated movie. I mean it was claymation for crying out loud). My mom got sick of it and put a piece of chicken on my plate one night with a piece of paper attached to it that said, “Help me!” My mom has a sick sense of humor. I never ate pork growing up so “Babe” didn’t get to me, though I believe if we did eat pork in my house I would have had to give that up, too. I’m a sucker for anthropomorphising (not just because that’s a Scrabble winner).


Maybe someone needs to put a Beanie Baby turkey with duct tape over its mouth in my freezer for me to snap out of this. Or maybe it really is just time for me to fully commit to being a vegetarian. Regardless, this will be my first turkey-less Thanksgiving. The amount of sleep I’m going to lose over this: none.

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Arno from Holland

posted November 25, 2008 at 11:53 am

Meat-eating people will tell you:
“If you don’t eat the turkey, the animal has died for nothing.”
“If nobody should eat meat, there would be too many animals left.”
“It tastes so good….mmmmm..”
“You will die, because you are missing proteins.”
And I say: Don’t eat fear.
(I have been a vegetarian during my whole life, 53 years now.)

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Julia May Jonas

posted November 25, 2008 at 12:28 pm

I think the “if you can kill it you can eat it” point is moot. If I could physically bring myself to kill a person, does that mean it makes it okay? (That’s only a logical argument not a for or against meat eating argument – I just don’t think tolerance for blood means you’ve neccessarily earned your filet mignon).
Vegetarianism is one of the most confusing issues for me. I go off and on and have for my entire life since I was 12. I think it’s probably the best choice. It’s the simpler choice on the Buddhist path, for sure, and I think going in the direction of simplicity is generally a good way to go. That said, like almost every woman I’ve got some weird food issue things which vegetarianism can sometimes exacerbate. It also can bring up some conflicts between me and my family. Additionally, I kind of agree with the French that one should not have dietary preferences. Of course, perhaps one could have dinner-party familial stipulations and be a vegetarian when choice is possible. Or eat the mashed potatoes and keep your mouth firmly clamped shut.
Look at me ramble. What I try to do when I eat meat now (the “try” of that sentence being highly operative) is remember and meditate on what I’m eating while I’m eating it. Doing that significantly lowers my meat consumption in day to day life. It turns it into choice rather than habit.
Maybe at some point I’ll make that final leap over to vegetarianism, but right now it doesn’t feel like the best option for me.
Excuse? Probably.

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posted November 25, 2008 at 2:56 pm

I feel the same way, Julia May Jonas. Labels make the whole thing so much more difficult. I’m just a “semi-veggie” now… much easier to live with, and explain. And guaranteed hypocrisy-free!

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posted November 25, 2008 at 4:49 pm

If at all interested in having the rational side of your brain pulled in the vegetarian direction, Peter Singer presents a pretty air-tight case.
Even knowing it’s totally immoral and causes immeasurable amounts of unnecessary suffering (in the torture sense, not the abstract buddhist sense), I’ve been unable to kick my meat habit completely. It’s kind of a blow to take, to have all your justifications taken away, to know it’s wrong and still fail to live up to the ideal. But something to continually work on I suppose.

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Julia May Jonas

posted November 26, 2008 at 10:50 am

I feel the same Noah. And not to justify, but in that way it seems like a good reminder that we are human. That’s what I tell my otherwise rigidly disciplined roommate when he fails at quitting smoking yet again. Welcome to being human.

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katinka - spirituality

posted November 27, 2008 at 6:56 am

I’m a vegetarian, but I would advise against jumping into that dietary style without preparation. Go slow. Just cutting back on meat, and learning some non-meat recipes is a good start. More information:
Good luck.

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posted November 29, 2008 at 6:01 am

Well, I haven’t been much of a meat eater all my live. The funny thing was however that I really started to become vegeterian when I met my girlfriend, and started to eat even less and less meat. At an certain point, I found myself at the fridge in a supermarket and concluded to myself that I don’t feel any need for eating meat.
It was a very strange moment to be aware that eating meat was something not being you, while I did eat meat for most of my 10s and 20s. It was not a dislike, or a repulsion, it was just the notion that I didn’t see it as part of my diet.
Nowdays I am eating almost always vegeterian. I only make one exception, that is when an order at an restaurant goes wrong, or if a friend forgot that I am vegeterian when preparing a meal. In those cases, I feel that it would be a worse waste of resources and energy to throw away the meat because of some principle. Only in those cases I tend to eat meat.

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posted December 3, 2008 at 1:28 am

i think it’s great that you are asking yourself the questions that you are. because if it does turn out just to be meat=republican, your foray into vegetarianism probably won’t last very long.
i would suggest checking out a very interesting series by a chef/back to the land foodie: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
i love his name and i love his views on food. one show i would recommend is “the river cottage treatment.” he basically takes people who subsist on fast food and take them to the farm so they can see how food is created. he also takes them to the farms where their fast food is coming from. it’s very interesting. some become vegetarian, some just make better choices most of the time, and once or twice there’s a non-convert. it’s very interesting, and i think it would help you in your decision.
in another one of his series, “escape to river cottage”, he goes through the process of raising pigs, caring for them, then in the end has to deal with the slaughterhouse.
i really think you should try and check him out, even though it may be hard to find the series. it’s worth it. some wiki to whet your appetite:

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posted December 7, 2008 at 3:55 pm

Your conclusion is: I don’t want to eat meat anymore. This is a reaction to the fact that you saw (or imagined) the turkey being killed in the background.
That’s the problem with society nowadays. People don’t know how the world works anymore. They expect meat, milk, cheese, etc… to be something that a factory makes. The truth is that killing an animal is the way to obtain things like meat. That’s just the way it is. It’s not cruel, it’s nature.
We also project our fear of death onto the animal that is being killed for our meat-production. We are so scared of death, that seeing an animal being killed, is a quite shocking experience because in our western society, we try to cover up everything that has anything to do with death and pain. Seeing death could be shocking so we hide it.
That way we blame ourselves for the death of the animal as if it were a cruel murder, but we really shouldn’t. Agreed, it’s not a nice thing to see, but that’s the reason people hide these things. Blaming yourself and refusing to eat meat because of this, is the wrong reaction.
It’s like catching mom and dad having sex. That’s would be quite uncomfortable too, but that’s no reason to never have sex in your life.

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Arno from Holland

posted December 19, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Do you kill the animals that you eat by yourself (and with your bare hands and teeth)?
The last sentence of your story compares apples with pears.

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posted January 4, 2009 at 12:13 pm

Did you refine the sugar that you add to your coffee in the morning? Quite a bizarre thought, isn’t it? So is your question.
I’m sure that I would be able to kill an animal (with tools obviously, why make things harder than they are?) and I’m even sure YOU could if you were hungry enough.

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Vegetarisme is een utopie « Anticontra

posted January 11, 2009 at 3:21 pm

[…] FOUT. In onze maatschappij hebben bijzonder weinig mensen het lef om dit te doen (doden) en we zijn sowieso niet in staat vlees te verscheuren. Daarvoor hebben wij slachthuizen en allerlei hulpmiddelen om toch dierlijke producten te kunnen eten. Wie niet sterk is (de mens), moet slim zijn. Daarom gebruiken wij dus hulpmiddelen: omdat we slim zijn. We laten het ook doen door mensen die er wel het lef voor hebben. Deze hele lef-kwestie zou vlug veranderen, mocht er oorlog, armoede of eender welke andere negatieve wending voor de mens uitbreken. Dan zouden onze principes hierrond vlug weer overboord gegooid worden en zou ons natuurlijk killerinstinct weer boven komen, hoewel we ons dit nu misschien niet kunnen voorstellen. Ik ben er persoonlijk van overtuigd dat iedereen een dier zou kunnen doden, als er genoeg honger is. The argument that one should be prepared to kill one’s own meat is also flawed. As pointed out by Dr Zetie, killing meat is incredibly messy (disembowelling hares etc.) and doing something like killing a cow requires tools that most of us simply haven’t got, although a taser in combination with a large knife might work. […]

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posted April 20, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I Have been a vegetarian most of my life. It started with a huge piece of rare prime rib when I was ten years old. I couldn’t eat it and a field trib to a cattle farm when I was 8 didn’t help. As my knowledge grew I became more and more picky about eating animals until it was easier to just say no and I feel great, and I look great, and I’m doing to environment a favor by eating veggies!!

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posted November 15, 2009 at 9:17 pm

Your disgust at meat and the Sarah Palin interview is valid, but wait, it gets much worse, from their birth (or hatching) to their transportation to their eventual slaughter. Anyone who says otherwise is most definitely ignorant.
For a quick explanation:
The Washington Post found that 1 in 3 cows were “blinking, looking around and mooing” when they had their skin removed, their legs cut off and their bellies ripped open. About 1,100 cattle are slaughtered per hour in one slaughter house. Workers cut the throats of approximately 5 bulls a minute. Search Google for the article: “They Die Piece By Piece.”
Transporting animals to the slaughter in hideously cruel. Animals are not given any food or water the last three days of their lives because they are going to die anyway. I can’t find the US regulations for transporting livestock, but here is the Canadian regulations (they are similar to each other):
* Horses, pigs and poultry to be transported 36 hours without food, water or rest;
* Cattle, sheep, goats to be transported 52 hours within Canada without food, water or rest;
As if these facts aren’t gruesome enough,
Healthy cows usually live an average of 25 years. But milk cows raised on factory farms must be slaughtered at 6 years because they are too sick to walk to the milk machines. They are fed a diet of corn, dried blood, ground feathers and antibiotics, they are impregnated every year and have their new-born calves taken from them after only a few hours.
A cow must be kept pregnant and must give birth to give milk. Therefore, calves are considered a bi-product of the milk industry. Although female calves go on to become milk cows (and later meat), male calves go on to become veal. Veal: the buttery-soft white meat of a 6-month old calf. The male calves are put into crates so small that they cannot turn around or stand up to ensure they do not develop any muscles. Their diet is extremely restricted so that it induces anemia, producing veal’s famous white color. At 6-months, they must be dragged to slaughter because they are too weak to walk.
Cows, pigs and chickens all have similar lives. The conditions can only be summarized in Alec Baldwin’s 14-minute YouTube documentary “Meet Your Meat.” Nursing sows (pigs) are roped to the floor for 3 months to ensure their piglets can nurse. Piglets have their tails, teeth and testicles nonchalantly removed with scissors when only a few days old. Chickens have their legs and wings broken when loading them into transportation trucks to stop them from escaping the workers.
I believe you get the picture. Factory farming makes up 95% of the meat provided in America because small farms cannot compete with the AgriProcessors that contain 30,000 pigs per shed.
At this moment, the US treats animals as products. There are actually very few laws that regulate the treatment of slaughter animals. I highly encourage you to watch Alec Baldwin’s Meet Your Meat on YouTube.
Feel free to contact me if you like :).

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