Well why not? In many cultures it's totally acceptable. A family story, which I remember quite indistinctly, goes something like this. Our family was living in Austria (I think, maybe it was Finland, it's hard to remember when you are a childhood jet setter), and my mother was purchasing some kind of ground meat. This went on for some time, all of us eating it without complaint, maybe even with some gusto. Finally, the shopkeeper or butcher exclaimed to my mom that she never expected that Americans would eat horse! I can't see that happening here in the U.S.
I've been doing a lot of reading lately on urban farming, stories of people like you and me (well, at least like me), who have the hankering to get back to the land. My grandparents farmed, my parents are now farmers, it's in my blood. My dream, however, is to grow grapes and make wine, not muck out stalls.
In many of these stories, these novice farmers decide to raise animals for meat, typically starting with chickens or rabbits, moving on to pigs and maybe even cows. They do this to: 1. get the experience, 2. follow the path of the animal from birth to their ultimate demise, and/or 3. be responsible for killing the animal, as an ethical and moral act.
I've always had a vegan bent, having practiced the religion in college and on and off for man years. The combination of these urban farm tales coupled with my childrens' seeming inability to connect the plastic-wrapped chunks of protein to living animals has me in a bit more of a quandary than usual.
If I could do it, I'd become vegan in a heartbeat. Easier said than done. When you share a house with 5 others, a certain amount of compromise is necessary, especially since Laima does the lion's (lioness') share of the shopping and cooking. Plus, dangle a good breakfast sausage or perfectly cooked bacon and I'm just as eager as the next person. I haven't eaten beef consistently for probably 6 or more months and, honestly, I don't miss it.
I don't think I could kill an animal and then eat it. Hunting holds no interest for me. Generally, I feel like a total hypocrite not being able to accomplish either of those, yet continuing to eat animals.
How much of this should I share with my kids? I try to explain where meat comes from and how a chicken tender and real live poultry are connected. But is that enough? Do they get it? What about a trip to the slaughterhouse? Too gruesome? How about raising an animal and then killing it for a meal or meals?
What does it mean that our culture is so removed from animal husbandry and the killing of animals for meat? Everything? Nothing? What do you tell your kids when they ask about meat? Do they even ask? Would you or do you kill animals for food?