Meat Free

Evie was dictating a book to me yesterday. It's called A Dog's Life: Huskies, and is part of a projected series about the lives of animals (all to be eventually published by Allen & Unwin, or she hopes... *)

"Chapter 3, How A Husky Stays Healthy.
Us huskies have to stay healthy by eating, running, jumping and drinking. A husky normally gets cold, but to stay warm we huddle up to each other. It keeps me very warm. An Eskimo sometimes comes and feeds us doggy biscuits. Sometimes Eskimos give us Milo to keep us warm."

At this point I stopped and said, "You know what Huskies really eat, don't you?"
She clapped her hand over my mouth. "I know, I know, but don't say it!"

A couple of months ago, Evie became a vegetarian. "It's not fair to eat animals. They should be able to die when they want to, not be killed for us to eat them." It's hard to argue with her logic, and since Michael and I have both had vegetarian phases (Michael's lasted well over a decade), we don't feel that we can.

It's made life quite difficult though, because, like her father, she is a vegetarian who doesn't really like vegetables. Michael survived on beans and pulses, but Evie isn't a big fan of them either. At the moment I'm trying to load her up with eggs and cheese and smuggling vegies into her when I can. And she has been known to weaken for home-made chicken schnitzel strips.

I have to admire the strength of her convictions. She reminds us several times a day that "I'm a vegetarian!!" She's also decided, rather regretfully, that she can't in all conscience become a fashion designer either, in case she has to work with fur (though I assured her that it probably wouldn't be necessary.) She really does love animals, and not just the little plastic ones she collects. Interestingly, a few of her prep classmates have taken a similar stand.

I don't think I had any ideological convictions when I was six (except maybe about the inherent worth of lollies). Surely these thoughtful, caring little people are a hopeful sign for the future.

*You can break it to her, Onions!


  1. My mum wouldn't let me become a vego until I could cook for myself. We've used the same argument with our girls (we are clearly much harder on them than you!) though I must admit Fred has never actually really shown any intention to follow through, she is quite comfortable with man having dominion over animals, must be her religious streak.

    My tastes broadened considerably when I became a vegetarian - I started eating red kidney beans, mushrooms, things I would have turned my nose up before.

  2. I just know there's no point serving meat to her at the moment because she just won't eat it. And I'll have to endure her reminding me, "Mum, did you forget, I'm a VEGETARIAN!!" for the next day and a half.

    I'm hoping the mushroom and kidney bean phase will kick in soon!

  3. Both mine became vegetarian, but only at 15 (and yes they were able to do some of the cooking by then). Now one is a moral omnivore (like Jackie French - as long as they've had a happy life and not been killed in an abatoir = her own poultry and male goat kids, esssentially) and the other has been vegan for about 25 years. i don't think he had enogh legumes and things, but he's enormously strong, champion at his martial arts, and very broade across the shoulders, so i can't really comment - mainly soy protein and veggies i think.
    But resident grandson (14) has never eaten meat (though his parents now do) but fortunately still eggs and cheese so it's not too difficult. he used to stand looking into the butcher's window and ask his great-grandmother 'what dead animal is that?' - she had a lot of trouble answering!

    but the int

  4. Kate, even though your life has become even more complicated in the kitchen now, I must say that I agree that it is quite an admirable little mind that is behind that stand. May she be the 21st female Australian prime minister!

    Oh, and your new book sounds wonderful -- what a huge undertaking.