LOT OF PEOPLE are baffled and sometimes angered by my response to the question, "Why are you a vegetarian?" The short answer is, "Because I care." I don't say that with a holier-than-thou attitude, although I do think people get defensive because my answer calls their morals into question. People are entitled to put whatever they want into their bodies, but I wish they would give serious thought to the repercussions before ordering a plate of slow-cooked ribs slathered in sweet, tangy barbecue... OK, where was I going with this?
I was raised eating meat, or what I call "delicious murder", for almost every meal of my life. When confronted with the issue, I always secretly agreed with what vegetarians said but made excuses for meat-eating. "But tonnnns of vegetarians don't get enough protein!" I would chime, not knowing whether this was fact or fiction. I ignored my nagging principles because principles didn't taste as good as meat. I implicitly justified the violent and exploitative treatment of animals for a momentary pleasure.
Do as Lisa does: picture the cutest animal ever as you sit down to eat it.
What I have always known and selfishly suppressed is that animals have as much of a right to life as we do. They have families. They feel pain, happiness, sadness. The fact that they feel should be deterrent enough. I want to note that my advocacy is nowhere near PETA's level of intensity--how feasible is it to avoid unintentionally killing microscopic mites?--and that if placed in a scenario where my survival was at stake, I would eat meat if it was the only way to survive. Some would argue that this is hypocrisy, and I would rebut that survival is distinct from living.
Few consider the fact that not eating meat is also better for the environment. Dispute this all you want, Sarah Palin, but meat production is responsible for topsoil depletion, consumes non-renewable sources of energy, and requires far more water than plant protein.
I am very interested to hear what you all have to say on this issue. Even if you have no interest in this post, maybe you'll enjoy these broccoli cupcake toppers I made (via Hello Cupcake!).
Eat broccoli (or broccoli candy), spare a cow!