So, I watched The Lion King for only the second time in my life the other weekend (I know, I know, it's amazing and everyone's seen it a kajillion times. What can I say? Other than 1) Boy Disney film! and 2) We didn't own it! I have seen Aladdin about 5 million times though...) and I was definitely into it and looking for its relation to Hamlet which, I'm sorry, but it's really not that similar to Hamlet. Aside from the lack of Shakespeare disappointment, though, I really really enjoyed it, and it did make me wonder how appropriate it was to kind of fancy a lion... (Mustafa is hooooot, you guys!)
Cartoon bestiality aside though, The Lion King did make me think about things a lot more than it was probably designed to do, because I am a crazy person with an overactive brain (and not overactive in a good productive way, just overactive in a 'let's overanalyse disney films while life passes me by' kind of way'.) So anyway, this whole circle of life thing. Mustafa's all like 'you have to respect the land, and just take what you need from it so that it can all renew itself in a healthy way' and it's like, the antelope eat the grass, and the lions eat the antelope, but that's ok, because when the lions die, they go back into the earth and help the grass to grow! And it's all organic and lovely, and then Scar comes along and does what he does (we've all seen The Lion King, right?!) and he allows the hyenas, and, well, everyone, just take what they want without giving anything back, and everything turns to shit.
And so, you know what I'm thinking when I'm reading this? The way we live now, the way we consume the earth's resources and just buy and eat and buy and eat, is kind of like Scar's way of doing things. We just continually take and take, and give nothing back to the earth, so that if we're not careful, we're going to make the earth look like some hyenas came along and fucked everything up. Dammit, we are those hyenas! The thing is, when we can just go down to a supermarket and just buy whatever we want for not very much money, where is the benefit of thinking about where that stuff has come from? Why should we think about 'the circle of life' when we can get whatever we want, whenever we want it; and never face any consequences for having such conveniences?
And, (and here's where I really get down to what I've been thinking) where's the incentive in thinking and caring about factory farming, when it means that we can get meat and eggs and oh man, cheese, for affordable prices, without having to know where they have come from. I mean, if a few animals (ok, millions) have to suffer so that I can have a nice juicy burger, why the hell should I care about it? The answer is, of course, that I should- and I do, only I don't care enough not to eat the yummy burger-especially if there's some cheese, or mmm, just a little bit of bacon on the top! But here's the thing about factory farming- it desperately doesn't respect the circle of life. From what I understand of it, the circle of life is about sharing everything with every being (human or not), and not taking any more than is your due. But we do that, all the time- as much meat as we can handle, which isn't even very good for us anyway; and we eat it because we like it. It's not because we've earned it, having hunted some animal for the best part of the day, and it's not like we even need to eat it- we eat it because we're used to having what we want, and we don't want to not have what we want because, you know, we're greedy (and when I say we, I obviously mean me.)
So. I mean, what can I conclude from all of this? Do I want to say that the only meat we should be eating is that which we've hunted down, killed for ourselves, and thoroughly earned? And that we should let animals roam free and have a good life before we eat them? That kind of is what I want to say, only I realise that the world has kind of moved on from that way of doing things, and whether or not I think it's right isn't going to change anything. The only thing I can realistically change is myself, and my own habits, and the best way I can think of to start is by giving up meat for Lent (not that I am in any way religious, but a 40 day trial isn't a bad way to go, I think). After that, who knows? I'd like to think I could be a vegetarian forever, but I don't know that I can. But I'm still taking this first step, to be just a little bit more respectful of the circle of life. Vegetarians, do you have any amazing recipes that I must try that will convert me to your ways/keep me from going hungry for the next few weeks? Let me know in the comments, and I'll probably give them a go!