I like the taste of meat, its texture and flavor, but I don’t like where meat comes from. It’s more than a year now since I stopped eating meat and don’t worry, this isn’t the kind of post that will enumerate the benefits of the vegan diet in an effort to persuade you to stop eating meat. It’s only a request that you take the time to consider what you put in your mouth.
Eating meat sustains the systematic slaughtering of animals. We can’t pretend that the meat is just out there for us to consume, that the animals have been already slaughtered before we buy it from the store. Yes, we needed meat to survive as a species, and without meat we wouldn’t be here now, but we have reached a stage in our evolution where we have the awesome power to change our eating habits. Maybe not all of us, but at least some. You and me, who can afford the luxury to blog and read blogs, and who can walk into a store or restaurant and make a conscious choice about what to buy for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Deciding not to eat meat is not a simple choice – we are addicted to meat. In my case, it wasn’t. Faced with unexplained weight loss and other health woes, I had to analyze my lifestyle, including my eating habits, to which I had not given particular consideration before. I found out that processed red meat isn’t particularly healthy, that white meat and fish are. For a time I kept eating white meat and fish.
But then I had a bit of a spiritual awakening, and with it came a reverence for life in all its forms – I decided to stop eating meat altogether, in spite of the fact that I was experiencing an unexplained weight loss at the time. Now I ask of the cows only milk, and of the hens only eggs. I haven’t yet figured out the weight loss mystery, but since I stopped eating meat I feel better, and my blood results are better, too. No signs of anaemia or vitamin deficiencies. Should they appear, there are ways to compensate.
Our Pleasure, Their Pain
I know that for many people in this world, eating meat is one of the everyday pleasures of life. It wouldn’t be right for me, or for anyone, to tell them they should become vegetarians. It’s not as easy as that. Processed meat is indeed bad, as most processed foods, but other types of meat seem okay. From a health perspective, meat isn’t bad. But what about the animals?
Do you remember the last time you cut your finger? Or scraped or scratched your hand? Well, multiply that pain by a hundred and you’ll probably still not have a good idea of half of the suffering animals must be put through for our sake. I don’t mean only the physical suffering of butchery. I mean the long-term suffering of being raised to be butchered. Cows, pigs, or hens may not be self-aware, but they feel pain, if not that of the knife, then that of confinement.
If you will reply that God invented all things for man’s use, animals included, I won’t say anything, I will let silence answer, and if in that silence you don’t hear at least one quivering doubt and have no second thoughts, then I commend your faith, yet I politely disagree.
Please Consider This…
Being a vegetarian is healthy, affordable, and good for the environment. But we must not forget that from an evolutionary perspective, as a species we have thrived on meat. Meat-eating is so deeply-ingrained in us that to abandon it we have to rescript ourselves, to challenge ourselves, to be proactive in our approach to eating healthy, of making up for the proteins, calories, and vitamins meat so abundantly offers. Vegetarianism is not for everyone. In our society, it’s easier to eat meat than it is not to. But we can try, if not to quit eating meat altogether, then to order only one steak instead of two. The animals would say thanks, if they could. And our children would be grateful, too.
Have you thought about giving up meat?
If yes, do you think you could do without it?
If you don’t, what made you stop eating meat?