Finje had just demolished her supper. Normally she eats with us, but on this particular evening we would be dining late. The succulent leg of lamb roasting in the oven wouldn't be ready until she was far away in the land of nod.
Seasoned with garlic and fresh rosemary from the garden the smell was mouthwatering. Enough so to distract Finje from her teeth brushing and bring her into the kitchen.
As we turned the chunk of meat, she asked what it was. "It's lamb," I said. Such minimal information has been sufficient in the past, usually shrugged off and accepted with nonchalance. It seems though, that she has chosen Australia, of all places, as her location of choice to question our use of animals as food.
It's estimated that around 2). Anyone who spends time here, especially in the Outback, will appreciate that vegetarianism is rare and regarded as somewhat bizarre. Meat is a staple and predominant in all meals, including breakfast. Along with beer, naturally.
"Lamb?" she said, voice quivering, "like baby sheep?"For a split second I considered lying. A little white lie. Something along the lines of, "No, not that lamb! This is a very special and exotic type of vegetable, only found in the Southern Hemisphere." Tempting though it was, I couldn't. And anyway, why should I? The time had come for that conversation.
Evidently not learning from past mistakes, I began by reasoning with her. We had a little chat about nature programmes we had watched together. Discussing some of her favourite animals, lions and tigers and how they kill their prey in order to eat, Finje made it quite clear that she had no intention of being fobbed off. She explained to me, adopting, if I was not mistaken, a slight despairing tone, that lions and tigers aren't allowed in supermarkets.
Displaying clearly why I didn't become an academic, I blundered on with my reasoning tactic, laughing in the face of effective parenting. "But Finje," I persevered, "you loved that afternoon you spent fishing with your papa, and afterwards we ate the fish didn't we?"
She did consider this argument for a good five or six seconds.
"Yes, but fish aren't really animals are they?"
This was going to be a longer discussion than I thought.