Wednesday evening, Helene heated up a pot of spicy pea soup that she had frozen in December. The soup base was from a stall at the Farmers Market. Hungry, we dug in immediately.
“Say, didn’t we use bison bones as the stock for this?” I asked.
We both stared at each other, in shock. Yep, this soup was made in December using the bones from organic, grass-fed bison, purchased at my favorite meat vendor at the Market.
This posed a very practical and immediate moral conundrum: should we eat it anyway, or throw it away?
If I were eating vegetarian for health reasons, I should throw it away, for sure. But my main motivation for experimenting with vegetarianism is an ethical one. Were I to have thrown away this soup right then, would it have made a difference? The bison had already been bred, raised, killed then butchered; the bones already boiled into stock. Still, should I have simply thrown it away to avoid being “guilty” by association? Ignore the act and simply clear my conscience?
Such is the moral minefield that can arise from being a vegetarian for ethical reasons.
In the end, we took the more pragmatic route: this soup was already made, and wasting it would have been a greater shame than consuming its protein content. And if being vegetarian is about respecting animal life, then certainly it was a better form of respect to eat it in full knowledge of the life that went into making it, rather than simply throwing it away.
We ate our soup. It was delicious.