Here is some info from Barabara Walker's "Women's Dictionary of Sacred Objects"
Jewish authories sometimes pretend that the biblical taboo on eating pigs' flesh was a sensible precaution against trichinosis or other illness. In fact, the biblical authors knew nothing about natural causes of disease and never associated any illness with eating "unclean" meats. The pig taboo was copied by the early Hebrews from their neighbors in Syria and Egypt, where pigs were sacred to the Goddess and only eaten on ceremonial occasions. The pig was "unclean" in the sense of "set apart" or sacred; it was a primate Jewish totem. The custom was widely known throughout the Middle East. Lucian said the sacred pigs of Hierapolis were taboo in the usual dual manner: both "unclean" and "holy" at the same time.
The real meaning of "taboo" is "to set aside." The reason can be because of something being unclean or sacred i.e. "untouchable."
Having lived with a pig for ten years, I don not eat pig flesh either. For many reasons, not the least is the fact the pigs are intelligent enough to know what is going on at the slaughterhouse and many die of heart attacks from the stress before they get "offed" That kind of adrenalin rush will taint the meat (at least in my opinion). Plus I have never liked the taste. Well, I liked the taste of bacon when I was a kid, but not how greasy it was. I found out that there were bacon-flavored soy bits and liked those much better.
As to this case, well bringing it is one thing and bad enough, but using a communal microwave is another and far worse (just ask any Kosher household, you can't use a knife for the butter and then use it to cut meat.. and the list goes on!). I lived in communal vegetarian households. One time I used a roomate's plate to eat my fish on. She was so upset she gave me the plate. Wacky? Maybe, but I should have had enough respect not to use her stuff for my fish, it was hers after all and I should not have put fish on it if it went against her principles, I had plenty of plates of my own.
It comes down to respect. It isn't the end of the world if this woman can't eat pork where she works. In fact lamb makes a good substitute and is served a lot in the Middle East.
*edited for spelling*
Edited by GiGi, 05 August 2004 - 03:50 PM.
"Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do all creatures." -- HH The Dalai Lama