It didn't feel right. It just didn't feel... right.
I'm standing in front of the egg and dairy shelf at the grocery store, holding one egg carton in each hand. One is free range, the other standard (not that it matters, I know that - free range my butt). Up until now, I have never bothered to check the fine print, I just grab a carton. Preferably the cheapest one. I've told myself that it doesn't really matter anyway. They're just eggs. Until now. Something's changed. I don't know what it is, but I can't seem to focus. I can't stop thinking about those eggs and where they come from. How they ended up in my hand. What I am about to eat.
Before I go any further with this, let me just get one thing straight.
It's not as if I woke up one day and thought: Hey, those hens? I wonder how they're treated.
It's not as if I haven't seen documentaries, read articles, seen the photos. I am aware of the conditions.
I know. I've always known. I've just chosen not to see. Does that make any sense?
So I'm standing there, looking at the cartons. This was maybe two months ago. Eventually I decided to buy one, but I couldn't shake off that unpleasant feeling as I made my way through the meat section. I get to the register. I look down at my cart and see bacon, ground beef, frozen salmon, frozen chicken and sausages and suddenly I get nauseated. I'm 31 years old and I love meat, always have, but all of a sudden it's as if I'm going to throw up right there on the spot.
Fast forward until today.
I'm sitting on a bus reading a book. Normally I can't read on buses, but for some unknown reason I don't feel sick today. The book I'm reading is Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. I have no idea why I bought it. I work part time in a book store and I've seen it on the shelf for some time now. I even put it there. But I can't tell you why I decided to buy it, let alone bring it with me on a four hour bus trip (eight if you count the trip back). I was planning to listen to my iPod the entire time. So. Of all the books I could choose to bring with me, this is what I brought. I think I knew what would happen, long before I opened it and read the first line. I knew the book would be a difficult read and I suspected that I would skip certain parts the way I've switched channels when they show animals being mistreated. See no evil, hear no evil. Lalala. Pass the chicken.
When I reached page 89, I knew I would never eat meat again. I think I knew when I was holding those egg cartons. When I felt sick at the sight of my cart. I looked out the window and saw trees flashing by. There are a lot of trees in this country, I thought to myself. Then I continued to read until there was nothing left. Then I read it again.