Kids play violent video games, watch violent movies, and engage in mock battle… Why can’t they handle how most animals are killed for food?
In an era where kids are inundated with factory-farming propaganda from powerful groups like the dairy industry in schools and agribusiness lobbies at state fairs, our best defence is education. If we want to raise food-literate children, if we want them to think critically, to challenge the status quo — to make good choices when we can’t choose for them — parents have a responsibility to tell the truth so others don’t co-opt them with fiction.
How do you do that? For starters, picture books for children can go a long way. Check out Ruby Roth’s “#ThatsWhyWeDontEatAnimals,” and “Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken,” by Kate DiCamillo and Harry Bliss. Michael Pollan has a young readers edition of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma,” and Eric Schlosser has a kids’ version of “Fast Food Nation” called “Chew on This.”
The Meatrix Trilogy cartoons borrow from “The Matrix” to take on factory-farmed meat, eggs and dairy, and the fast-food industry. It’s animation with some serious ammunition. The site also includes presentation kits, handouts and other resources for kids to check out on their own.
All kids naturally love animals, I think, but explicitly cultivating that love early on by exposing them to what many would consider “food animals,” by using positive language, and by helping them look at animals not as lower beings to be dominated but as peers worthy of equal treatment and consideration – that love won’t die once they get older and more hardened to the realities of the world.