A lot of people say “grace” or other form of prayer before eating. This usually takes the form as a thank-you to God for providing them with food to eat.
I grew up with the simple Persian prayer Besmelah which means in the name of God. It’s mostly just a way of keeping God in mind. When eating, I generally say one of those for each animal that I’m eating as a way of acknowledging that an animal is dead so that I can eat and hoping that there is an afterlife and the animal is in heaven. There’s only a few simple rules I use:
- I say it once for each animal. (I’m having roastbeef, I’ll say one for the cow.)
- I repeat it for each meal regardless of the content (If I have more of the same roast the next night, I’ll say it again for the same cow.)
- If I have something with multiple animals, then I’ll say one for each identifiable animal.
- If it’s something like chicken wings, then there isn’t a way to know exactly how many birds died (some of the wings could be from the same bird), but I’ll assume each is from a different bird and say one for each wing.
- If there is no way to know how many animals there are, like with processed meats like sausage or cold-cuts (a single piece of these sorts of meats can evidently contain meat from upwards of 1,000 different animals!), then I’ll usually just say a few (~3~5) as a best-attempt to cover them all.
Some religious people may be offended that I don’t specifically thank God, but I think that thanking, apologizing to, and hoping for the best for the animals who died makes more sense. It’s the least we can do. Also, because the grace I say is a single word (the meaning and intent matter more than the syntax), it is efficient to do it this way. It’s only fair.