Why Ron Swanson says all the right things about meat on Parks and Rec

Hey guys! So who here watches Parks and Recreation?


I think it’s one of the funniest shows I have ever seen, and it def lands a spot on my top 5 favorite TV shows of all time. It’s just straight up hilarious, and every episode somehow magically gets better and better. Even though I’m a huge Amy Poehler fan, I have to say that my favorite character by far is Ron Swanson.


His character is hilarious and never fails to make me laugh. A lot.

So the other night I was watching an episode where the parks department goes to a BBQ hosted by Ron. If any of you watch the show, you know that Ron loves meat. Usually this slightly annoys me if “loving meat” is a defining characteristic of someone, but the things he says about animal agriculture are so spot on. It almost makes me wonder if the show has an ulterior motive to spread veganism (that, or I’m just reading into things WAYYY too much and think that the world revolves around veganism. Come to think of it, I definitely could create a compelling argument to prove that the world does in fact revolve around veganism! Heh πŸ˜‰ )

In one scene, Ron gets out of his car with a (very adorable!) pig named Tom. Everyone thinks the pig is so cute and adorable, until they quickly realize that Ron intends to kill this pig for their BBQ today, and they all have looks of horror on their faces. A clip of the scene is posted below:

If you didn’t watch the clip, here is a line that Ron says: “Well in my opinion, not enough people have looked their dinner in the eyes and considered the circle of life.” While I’m sure we all have a million reasons why the whole “circle of life” argument is so extremely irrelevant because we are no longer cavemen, he makes an excellent point in the beginning of his statement. People think it’s so cruel and inhumane when they see a live animal who is about to be killed for their dinner, yet the random meat that just shows up on their dinner plate is some how completely different? A perfect example of this is Chris, the guy in the striped shirt in the beginning.

Chris goes up to the pig and says how cute is he, and then realizes that the pig is what they’ll be eating and clearly looks disapproving. When the others realize this as well, they also look upset and uncomfortable. Yet! (Spoiler alert) they all eat Tom the pig at the end of the episode anyway. I know, I know, this is just a TV show and none of this is real, but I have seen this in so many people in real life before.

I guess we could take the positive from this and rejoice at the fact that most people have compassion towards animals. People don’t want to make the connection that the hamburger they are eating was once a cow who had babies and feelings. They don’t want to realize that the pork they’re eating was once a pig who was smarter than any dog and as smart as a 3 year old child. I guess that’s one of the next steps us animal rights activists have to take, we have to show people that the meat they are eating was once the same as their beloved pet, an animal with feelings and emotions and the desire to not be killed for a meal.

A second thing that Ron says that I absolutely LOVE is him pretty much poking fun at the fact that we eat pigs, yet we don’t eat dogs. “Tom is very smart and incredibly loyal. He’s basically a dog. A dog we are going to cook, chew, and swallow.”

Maybe I’m the only one who loves making weirdly dark arguments like this, but they reallyyy prove a point. What differentiates the incredibly intelligent and loving pig that will be tonight’s dinner from the family dog that will sit beside you as you eat. In my opinion, being speciest is on the same radar as being racist or sexist. I don’t discriminate by race or sex, so why would I by species? 

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Yeah, that pig is absolutely adorable, but there is no difference between Tom the pig and the pigs that are slaughtered for people’s dinners. This scene really proves that there is SUCH a huge disconnect between the animals that we see and love, and the meat on our dinner plates.

One last tid bit from the scene that I can’t get enough of is when Ann Perkins (Rashida Jones) says, “Dude there’s kids around here!” proving the ever-so-irking point that we sugar coat the horrors of animal agriculture so that children will be “protected” from the truth. If I ever have kids, I already know for a fact that I will never lie to them about where meat comes from. It’s so telling that if we feel the need to hide something from children that involves them (if they eat animal products, it involves them!) then maybe we shouldn’t be condoning it in the first place.

(Don’t know how to tell your kids about how incredibly awful the meat industry is but not destroy their youth and sense of innocence? Vegan Is Love is an amazing children’s book that “introduces young readers to veganism as a lifestyle of compassion and action,” and it does it in a way that keeps a smile on everyone’s face!)

I do hate the fact that Ron Swanson portrays eating meat as masculine, when in fact it’s the absolute opposite. Tell me what’s so macho about a full grown man still drinking breast milk, and breast milk from someone who is not only not their mom may I add, but also from someone who is a different species as them. While I do hate this aspect of Ron’s character, I like that he tells it like it is. He realizes that what we are eating was a sentient being who had feelings and emotions and parents and siblings and maybe even babies of their own, and lived a horrible, miserable life, and died feeling fear that I hope none of us ever experience.

All in all, this scene just seems to throw punch after punch at society for loving their pets but eating other species of animals, and freaking out when they see the actual death of an animal but eating its corpse later with no problem. I’m not sure if Parks and Rec meant to do this, but I think it’s awesome.

For anyone who is reading this thinking “what, so am I just not supposed to eat animals now?” Yes that’s totally the point, and I mean this in a really exciting and positive way. Going vegan is SO EASY and SO FUN. I feel like I can’t say that enough. Not only is it so easy, it’s so great to no longer feel guilty about what you are eating, because who wants to feel guilty every time they eat? I live for food, and I would absolutely hate it if I felt guilty every time I was enjoying the most cherished part of my day!

I will leave you all with this PRECIOUS picture I came across when I was googling “pigs and dogs” (something that I do pretty much 24/7, cause who doesn’t love pigs and dogs?!)


Have a great Wednesday guys and talk to y’all soon!!




17 thoughts on “Why Ron Swanson says all the right things about meat on Parks and Rec

  1. KIA says:

    Reblogged this on The Recovering Know It All and commented:
    Loved the Post and the Clip. “Meet your Meat”. If more people thought about Tom, there would be less Animal Slaughter for our Tables. Go Vegan or at least Vegetarian. For the Animals, for the environment, for your Health and your Family. -KIA


  2. pawtheloveofearth says:

    Sorry to double comment, but we felt this deserved it’s own space as it speaks to a different part of your article. Right at the beginning, you joke about hidden references, and the world revolving around veganism.

    On this note, we really recommend taking another look at Disney Films, particular the latest: Zootropolis / Zootopia depending on where you live. We featured some quotes on our Twitter @Earthlovingpaws, but there are loads of lines that seem to speak directly to veganism. Spooky, right? And great!


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