Why I don’t eat animals

I was going to title this post, “Why I am a vegetarian,” but I don’t really like that word. Or at least I don’t feel as if it applies to me. What it means to be a vegetarian is defined differently by most people, and I’m not in the business of arguing what I think it actually means. So I prefer not to use it.

I was also going to call this, “Why I don’t eat meat,” but meat is a term that indicates something edible, which I don’t consider animals to be. That’s kind of the whole point.

To clarify:

– I don’t eat any previously (or still) living animals, no matter how they were raised or killed. Yes, that includes fish. I’ve never understood how fish are any less of an animal. I once had a goldfish named spot and I’m almost positive that he would be categorized under “animal”.

-I do eat eggs because the eggs we eat are unfertilized. Even without mating with a rooster, hens lay eggs just for funsies that are not going to turn into baby chickens.

-I do consume dairy products (milk, cheese, ice cream, etc.). Why I am not a vegan is a whole other conversation to be had.

-This has been going on for a little over five years.

I want to disclaim now that I am in no way trying to “convert you to vegetarianism”. If you want tips, feel free to ask. Sure, I think it would be cool if no one ate animals, but I don’t preach what I practice. The point of this is for me to attempt to find an answer to the question that I am always asked because, to be honest, I’m not sure. My reasoning has changes so much over the years that I don’t have a set reason at all.

When I first became a vegetarian back in grade ten, it was because I watched a couple of those horrible videos that show the insides of slaughter houses and depict just how inhumanely factory farmed animals are treated. I was horrified, and was grossed out by the idea of eating animals ever again. So I stopped, just like that. But this makes me sound like a 15-year-old mildly uneducated and somewhat annoying animal rights activist. Which I was. But I am not anymore.

(The last meat product I ever ate, in case you’re curious, was schnitzel. How German of me.)

The largest part of it is that I honestly do not understand why humans eat animals. What is appetizing or appealing about putting something in your body that used to be alive and is now dead? Who was the first human to say, “Wow, look at that cow over there! It looks so majestic, standing in that field. Let’s kill it, stick these pink looking parts of its insides in a fire, and put them into our own insides!” Okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic. The point is that the social acceptability of eating a previously living thing truly makes zero sense to me. I think that it is strange and unappetizing.

Another main issue I have is with the monopoly that the human race holds over animals. We think that we are bigger, stronger, smarter and more important than the animals that out-populate us. We think it’s okay to corral them, control how they live, and make the choice to end their lives. Animals have thoughts and feelings just like humans. I value my life to no end, and I imagine animals value theirs just the same. I do not think that it is okay to raise a living being for the purpose of killing them, particularly when we set up a system in which they cannot defend themselves. The way I see it, killing an animal is killing. Side note: humans are also categorized as animals, in case everyone forgot.

On a slightly different note, something that has bothered me for the longest time that I don’t really bring up is the idea of being a “selective activist”. I’m talking about those heartbreaking Sarah Mclachlan commercials where “Angel” plays in the background while video clips of really sad cats and dogs flash across the screen. But while tears threaten the eyes of everyone around me, I just don’t get it. So many people will be appalled by the idea of cats and dogs being abused or abandoned, but they won’t feel the same about cows and pigs and sheep that face even worse. I’m not saying domestic animal abuse isn’t bad. What I’m saying is that the mistreatment of all animals should be placed at an equal level, regardless of which ones are societally considered cute house pets. I think cows are pretty damn cute. Have you ever seen a cow run? I have. It was adorable.

As a “vegetarian” I always get a some really fun responses and questions, and I’m sure you’re thinking at least one of these as you read this. So here’s my vegetarian FAQ section to clear everything up:

“If we didn’t eat meat, there would be an overpopulation of cows and chickens and pigs and they would band together and take over the world!”

No, because we’re responsible for the overbreeding of these animals for our food. But that would make a cool movie.

“But what do you eat?”

I connect myself to an IV drip of liquid tofu every evening to keep me alive. I occasionally have a few baby carrots.

“But God put animals on the planet to be eaten!”

Separation of church and state. The state being my digestive system.

“But meat tastes so good!”

I have this rare disease that caused me to be born without meat taste buds. It’s really tragic and my family is setting up a charity to raise money and awareness. Look for our indiegogo page within the next month.

“But bacon!”

I prefer Kevin.

I’m not sure if this cleared anything up for anyone, particularly myself. I also feel like I may have come across as a little preachy. I am sure a lot of people will disagree with somethings I’ve said, which is totally cool, and I encourage you to bring it up to me. I promise that I do not wish to shove vegetarianism down anyone’s throat so long as they don’t try to shove a hamburger down mine. If you’re curious about how to go about no longer eating animals, please ask. It’s fun and adventurous and really not hard at all. But my biggest piece of advice is that you have to quit cold turkey.

Yeah, I know, stupid pun.

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