Scene: large farm, somewhere in the midwest. There's a holding pen for cows, and a long, confusing path lined with metal fences - the kind you walk through when waiting in line at an amusement park. It leads to the slaughter house.
I harness a big black and white cow, the perfect Cover Girl model of a cow which you see in commercials for cheese. Harness in place, I attempt to lead her into the maze. She won't budge. I say to her, "Come on, let's go." but she takes a step back and shakes her head. The same way my dog does, as if she's saying NO very emphatically.
I jokingly ask her, "Did you just tell me no?" and she looks right in my eyes, and almost imperceptibly she gives a small nod. I'm sure I've imagined this. I shake my head, trying to clear it, and again give her a gentle pull. Instead of moving forward, she again steps back, only this time I'm sure she's shaking her head "no."
Tentatively I ask her if she knows where we're going, and I see abject terror in her eyes. At this moment, I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that SHE KNOWS what's happening, and does not want it. She wordlessly begs for her life to be spared.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the moment I stopped being able to eat meat.
*That last part isn't true. However, I've become increasingly aware of the basic concept that an animal must die if I am to eat meat, and it's seriously starting to bother me. Honestly, I like eating meat. I do. I've got quite the moral conflict going on here.