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To think children should know where meat comes from?

(56 Posts)
TheClacksAreDown Tue 28-Jul-15 11:00:21

Last weekend I went to a family BBQ at which I saw my cousin, I'll call Abi. She has 3 DCs (7, 4 and 1) and I have a nearly 4 year old. I was sitting chatting to Abi and her eldest two and we got talking about the food. In this I mentioned in passing that I really liked the sausages from a farm shop we sometimes go to and that they are from the pigs they breed on the farm. Suddenly Abi is glaring at me. I'm unclear what I've done but move the conversation on swiftly. When the children run off a few minutes later, Abi looks annoyed and says to me "the children don't know where meat comes from and I don't appreciate you bring it up". I was really surprised and said "oh, sorry" and she stalked off. Had I known her views, I would have respected them.

Now I'm the first to admit that Abi and I are quite different in many respects, which is of course fine. Of particular relevance here, she is vegetarian (I am not but no problem with her being one) and she is quite girly (I'm not) and she is not brilliant at coping with tough messaging so on one level I can see why she finds skipping the topic appealing. But I was still quite surprised at the approach and couldn't help but feel it would lead to problems. Her eldest is hardly a baby any more and isn't it going to come to a nasty shock when she finds out where her food comes from? The children do eat meat but it mainly seems to be things like ham, nuggets and sausages etc which obviously don't immediatley resemble the animals they come from so I could see why the children wouldn't have made the link themselves yet.

Don't get me wrong, I've not been subjecting my DC to gruesome details of slaughterhouse practice or reiterated at dinner time "Milly the Moo Cow died to give you this beef casserole, now eat up", but DC does seem to get that sausage come from pigs, steak comes from cows, chicken breasts comes from chickens etc and sees meat being chopped up at the butchers. We visit farms to see the animals and with fish we look at fish in the aquarium/lakes etc but DC also enjoys going to the fish counter and taking home a fish to cook.

So, AIBU to think that if children and going to eat meat then they should gently have the idea of where meat comes from raised with them in age appropriate ways? Or is Abi's approach normal and I'm out of step with what is appropriate?

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Tue 28-Jul-15 11:04:03

My children have always known, not an issue, so kids are repulsed at the idea, maybe thats what abi is hoping for. I dont like the idea of kids looking stupid in school, so they may as well get used to the idea.

User100 Tue 28-Jul-15 11:07:29

Of course DCs should know where meat comes from. I'm vegetarian, so is DW and three DCs. Eldest DC (6) has know for a year or two and says the most adorable things ("some people who like animals eat meat and I don't think they know meat is animals").

Asuperwittyquip Tue 28-Jul-15 11:07:47

Of course children should know, mine do. I have never seen a need to hide this information, they also know that their auntie doesn't think killing animals to eat is right and that if they would rather not eat meat then that is their choice.

exexpat Tue 28-Jul-15 11:09:14

Weird. She's a vegetarian who feeds her children meat but doesn't want them to know it's from animals? I'd say she's being unreasonable about a number of things but definitely expecting other people to hide the facts of life/meat-eating from her children (without any warning from her) is unreasonable. You would think she'd want them to know so that they would decide to be vegetarian too.

(I say that as a vegetarian bringing my children up pescetarian - they have always known what meat and fish etc are).

User100 Tue 28-Jul-15 11:10:39

Surely with some meat (lamb, chicken nuggets etc) it's clear where it comes from - even if the kids don't eat it they presumably have heard of it and the name is far from subtle in some cases.

Snozberry Tue 28-Jul-15 11:13:33

Of course children should know what they are eating, as long as it's taught in an age appropriate way. I don't think her being a vegetarian makes a difference, I am vegetarian but teach DD where her food comes from.

00100001 Tue 28-Jul-15 11:14:13

Of course they should know!

It's like not knowing that potatoes grow in the ground or that orange juice is made from Oranges that grow on trees!

WizardOfToss Tue 28-Jul-15 11:18:36

YANBU. Of course children should know, in an appropriate way. As she is a vegetarian, I find her attitude especially odd.

Hard to believe also that the 7 year old hasn't stumbled on the truth before now at school or through friends.

She's being ridiculous!

TheClacksAreDown Tue 28-Jul-15 11:23:33

If I were being unkind I'd suggest that she wants the children to find out at an age when they are old enough to be repulsed and horrified so that they immediately join her in vegetarianism. To be clear, I have no issue with people choosing to be vegetarian nor with people bringing their children up as vegetarian.

Is it obvious? Well I'm not wholly sure it is to these children, at home at least. If you get told you're having "nuggets" or "sausages" or "pasta" it isn't necessarily obvious what the original source is. I don't know whether they have school meals or not. Also, the eldest two are very sweet and lovely children but, erm, aren't exactly what I'd call deep original thinkers, so probably haven't subjected their parents to the level of questioning some other children those ages I know would have.

TheClacksAreDown Tue 28-Jul-15 11:26:27

exexpat - she seemed clear in her view that I was the one in the wrong - but how was I to know? Hence wanting to see if I was out of step here.

Pixi2 Tue 28-Jul-15 11:28:36

It's a basic fact of life. Meat comes from animals. Knowing what meat comes from what animal helps when you're doing your own shopping too! It's like the child that answered 'the corner shop' when asked where milk comes from. Well, yes it does, but how does the corner shop get it? 'A lorry delivers it'. Where does the lorry get it from? 'The factory. (ok, getting somewhere, maybe the child has a full working knowledge of the process) so- how does the factory get milk? 'It makes it from water and something white'.

00100001 Tue 28-Jul-15 11:29:16

It's OK, she's the weirdo, not you. The kids will soon work out that a chicken nugget comes forma chicken!

User100 Tue 28-Jul-15 11:30:29

Out of interest if she is vegetarian why are DCs not? Is her DH not vegetarian and doesn't want them to be, is there something going on we don't know about and them not knowing is some kind of messy compromise?

vestandknickers Tue 28-Jul-15 11:31:15

Of course they should know! They'll get ridiculed at school if they don't. As others have said, it is basic general knowledge - just like knowing that apples grow on trees.
Mine briefly said they didn't want to eat meat when they realised they were eating pigs and cows. I told them not to be rediculous and they carried on happily eating their sausages and stews!
Now mine are older I encourage them to take an interest in where their food comes from and farm shops are a lovely way to shop and see the chickens etc in a natural environment.

Theycallmemellowjello Tue 28-Jul-15 11:32:48

Yes, I think it's a good idea to tell kids this. But she knows her own kids and fair enough she thought it was a conversation she wanted to glide over. She's U to be pissed off at you as you weren't to know, but not U to want to raise this in her own way with her kids. And frankly you are much more U to (1) judge her parenting choices and (2) call her 'girly' like it's a bad thing and like it's somehow relevant.

Etak15 Tue 28-Jul-15 11:33:17

Yanbu of course kids need to know where meat comes from I think my dc's come shopping with me and they have always been interested ( sometimes in an 'urrgh what's that way')in the meat on display in the butchers and I have explained what animal whatever they point at comes from and what part of the animal it is, same with fish in the supermarket, I have also explained about things that we occasionally have that are not 'real meat' but are sometimes yummy to have even though they have lots of rubbish in and are not good for us - like processed meat.

Asuperwittyquip Tue 28-Jul-15 11:33:42

Not sure it is "ridiculous" to not want to eat animals vestandknickers free choice surely however old you are and however long those feelings last.

vestandknickers Tue 28-Jul-15 11:38:00

Just to clarify - I don't think vegetarianism is a rediculous choice for an older child or an adult. It is though for a five year old who just thinks piggies are too cute to eat!

ihave2naughtydogs Tue 28-Jul-15 11:46:29

I am a vegetarian . My children were under the impresson that when a cow ,pig etc died naturally , the animal was then used for meat. The teacher explained in great detail what really happened and my 9 year Dd has refused to eat meat since.
I have always been of the opinion that my kids should decide for themselves if they want eat meat or not but was hoping that it would not happen at 9. My teenage daughter is also vegetarian.
So I would be annoyed with OP too.

TreadSoftlyOnMyDreams Tue 28-Jul-15 11:53:47

We've been very open from day one that meat comes from animals. X on your plate is Roast Chicken etc. We regularly eat fish that looks like fish iykwim.

DD [5] asked at the weekend if sausages came out of pigs nipples or their bottoms......

Epic fail.

Not entirely sure where to go with this as she is a sensitive little soul who sobs her heart out if a snail gets squashed.

TheClacksAreDown Tue 28-Jul-15 12:01:36

The point around "girly" and not good with tough messaging is not that it is a bad thing but what I was trying to get across is that she likes things in her life to be pretty light and fluffy. I'm much more used to dealing with difficult situations. For example a few months ago an extended family member died - at a ripe old age after a happy life - this was not a massive tragedy. Abi did not want to attend the funeral or discuss the situation in any way - apparently it was "too distressing" to think about.

ihave2naughtydogs - I'm unclear why you'd be annoyed with me. I only said that they breed the pigs that make the sausages. That gives plenty of room for interpretation for the pigs living a long, happy and fulfilled life if that is the desired interpretation.

Babyroobs Tue 28-Jul-15 12:02:56

We have always been honest about this if our kids have asked but one day a couple of years ago my dd who was about seven saw me carving a chicken carcass and it seemed to reallysink in with her. She has not eaten meat since although she eats fish still. I respect her wishes - I went vegetarian for a long time when I was about thirteen but started eating meat agin about ten years ago..

User100 Tue 28-Jul-15 12:07:14

For what it's worth vestandknickers I decided to be veggie at 5 and 29 years later I still think the same. Your kids, your choice, but ridiculous is a little harsh.

ToysRLuv Tue 28-Jul-15 12:11:35

I think I sort of understand the other woman if her children are very fussy and their small range of "acceptable" foods would shrink considerably should they decide not to eat meat.. However, she is a bit silly if she thinks that children will not find out soon enough. We are all veggies, DS included. He is horrified by the idea of eating animals, however he us free to decide for himself.

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