On some Fridays mom would write out a shopping list for me to buy from the Jos Main Market.
4. Vegetable oil… and so on. She’d give instructions like “Don’t buy the soft tomatoes!”, “Buy these from that customer of mine” or “Make sure it’s vegetable oil, you know your father and brothers get sick from groundnut oil”.
Part of the list would include Chicken, fish or beef. Mommy preferred buying live chickens, those were (undeniably) tastier, albeit tougher than the chemically raised (agric) ones. We had kept a poultry in the house for years so we knew how to tell which ones were heavier, and she’d remind me of the technique again before I headed out with my shopping list: “make sure you buy a good one; check well before you buy!”
I always had a problem buying the chicken. I hated how the chickens were being treated! Honestly. I mean it was bad enough that they were going to be killed, but why not treat them with a little respect and dignity? First of all they’d be force-fed a meal of ground grains to make them feel heavier to the buyer, and they always looked frustrated while being force fed and pushed back into their cages. I always pitied them. After picking your chicken you’d have to monitor the seller as he butchered, cleaned and cut the chicken for you. As an African it’s not supposed to be a big deal but I know that each time I went to that chicken farm, a part of me felt sorry for the chicken I was taking home. Well, what do you expect from someone who had a pet chicken called “Ginger”?
Buying fish wasn’t such a big deal. Oftentimes it was frozen, unless mommy instructed she wanted point-and-kill (live) fish, in which case I’d have to watch it – again – struggle under the butcher’s knife. My brother had a fish farm and we’d buy some for our meals. I remember one time when I was made to cut the fish. It still wriggled when I touched it even though my brother had earlier knocked it’s head (ouch). I screamed “The dead fish is still alive!” and took off. Took me ages to get back to work, we had a late dinner that day.
Beef was the easiest to buy, the glorious red parts were already available for you to select and walk off. But of course, life as an African woman would not be complete if your mama never took you to the abattoir. I’d heard stories of headless cows running about and my paranoia always (and happily) held my hands as we took a trip to buy cow head or cow tail. Thankfully the slaughters were done in a building some way off so I was spared the horror of watching. However, I’d seen a short video where the producer wrote a poem coming from the cows mind, speaking against how it was being treated. It was meant to be a movie production project and not to be taken seriously but the point was not lost on me.sigh.
If there was any reason I’d go vegan it wouldn’t be because meat was bad for my health, but mainly because I’d want to stand for more humane(?) ways of
killing processing these animals. Is there?
Maybe I’m just a softie, and I think animals are way too cute to be eaten.
I’m off to lunch!