My Five Year Old and I just went on a trip to the Palo Duro Canyon. Part of the trip was dinner at a working ranch with an authentic chuck wagon. This provided some new awareness for her, and the following conversation.
“Daddy, where do they take cows on the cattle drive?”
“Well,” I said, “they take them to market.”
“But what does that mean?”
“They turn them into hamburgers and steaks to sell.”
“You mean they kill them?” she asked in a shocked voice.
“Yes,” I replied, “they have to kill cows to get beef. You know beef comes from cows, right?”
“Yes, but why do they have to kill the cows? That’s mean!”
“Sweetie, they can’t get beef without killing the cow. The beef comes from the cow.”
She pulled a face and said, “That’s mean Daddy.”
“Well,” I said, “do you want to stop eating hamburgers and steak?” I asked.
“Yes!” she exclaimed. “From now on I am not eating any more hamburgers.”
“Okay,” I said, “if you aren’t eating beef then what do you want to eat?” I asked. Largely because we were having this conversation while waiting in line to fix our plates.
“I’ll just eat chicken from now on.” she said.
“Sweetie,” I said, “You do know where chicken comes from right?”
“Yes,” she answered, “from chickens.”
“And you do know that they have to kill the bird to get the meat right?” I asked.
“Yeah” she replied, “that’s okay.”