Facebook's billionaire boy genius, Mark Zuckerberg, is a confessed killer – and he's proud of it.
"The only meat I'm eating is from animals I've killed myself," Zuckerberg told Fortune. "So far, this has been a good experience."
Among Zuckerberg's victims have been a lobster, chicken, pig, and goat. The lobster met its maker in a traditional boiling-water death, à la Woddy Allen's Annie Hall. The chicken, pig, and goat got the knife.
"He cut the throat of the goat with a knife, which is the most kind way to do it," Zuckerberg's Palo Alto, California, neighbor Jesse Cool told Fortune, who referred to her as his "guide on this strange journey".
Cool should know about such matters. As the owner of the trendy, organic Flea St. Café and its spinoffs, the Cool Cafés at Stanford and the Menlo Business Park, and author of Simply Organic: A Cookbook for Sustainable, Seasonal and Local Ingredients, she's an exponent of the mindful-eating movement thrust into the public spotlight by 2006's The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan.
Zuckerberg's reasoning for eating only animals that he has personally killed falls right into line with the mindful-eating ethos. "I think many people forget that a living being has to die for you to eat meat," he says, "so my goal revolves around not letting myself forget that and being thankful for what I have."
Zuckerberg refers to his kill-then-eat resolution as a goal because "Every year in recent memory, I've taken on a personal challenge – something to learn about the world, expand my interests and teach myself greater discipline."
Last year his goal was to learn Mandarin. The year before it was to wear a tie every day. This year he's sharing his challenge with lobsters, chickens, pigs, and goats. It appears that his challenges are ratcheting up a wee bit each year in terms of required dedication.
His effort to bond with his meals only goes so far, however. After each meal-to-be dies at his hands, Zuckerberg sends the carcass off to a professional butcher for, uh, professional butchering. Well, not the lobster.
A personal sidetrack: your humble reporter has taken butchering classes, and understands Zuckerberg's reluctance – not that butchering is a grisly affair, but rather that when done poorly (and I should know) it can be rather wasteful of the animal's edible contributions.
Since he eats only animals he's personally sent to the great free-range grassland in the sky, Zuckerberg's restaurant choices have perforce been vegetarian, and his meat consumption has dropped considerably.
But he's neither a proseletizing veggie nor a meat-lover hater. "I don't have an issue with anything people choose to eat," he says, "but I do think they should take responsibility and be thankful for what they eat rather than trying to ignore where it came from." ®
Like it or not, Zuckerberg's admission that this year's challenge is to dine only on beings that have perished by his own hands is sure to fan the flames of the never-ending vegetarian-versus-carnivore gobble squabble. It would be un-Reg-like for us to not take a stand, so we'll merely point to a sign we saw in a small San Francisco butcher shop: "If God hadn't intended us to eat animals, he wouldn't have made them out of meat."