So I get a lot of questions as to why I decided against eating animals. And I also hear random commentary which sometimes doesn’t make sense and sometimes is just spoken out of ignorance. Without pissing people off, my simple answer is, I read Eating Animals and learned more about what it means to eat animals and decided against it. But here’s a lengthier answer: There’s only 1 reason to eat animals and there are many reasons not to. So what’s the lone reason to eat animals? They taste yummy. Hey, it’s good enough a reason for many. Almost good enough for me. But no. The reasons not to eat meat hold more weight than just my selfish pleasure and enjoyment. You can find this info anywhere so I won’t get into the nitty gritty but here’s a very oversimplified list:
- Suffering. Yes. We’ve all heard of the evils of how animals are raised in terrible conditions. But there’s more to it. Even if you choose to eat an animal that was raised on a happy farm and frolicked in a yard, eventually it was sent to slaughter. And the slaughterhouse processing so many animals, will have errors. Gruesome, torturous errors. Suddenly, that burger doesn’t taste so good when all I can see is a cow screaming as it’s hanging by its legs going down a conveyor. People think fish are okay to eat, some think they don’t feel pain. Who are we to know? Because they can’t cry? That seems more awful to me to be in pain but unable to cry. I’ve raised fish. They’ve gotten sick or injured. They shirk away near their wounds. They feel pain.
- Pollution. Water and Air and Global Warming. If meat were priced accurately taking into consideration the costs to society, to the environment, chicken would cost far more than $2/lb.
- Disease. Overcrowding + Stressed animals = Illness. Industrial farms are creating more antibiotic resistant bacteria.
- Food Safety and Sanitation. The listeria on fruit. The e. coli on spinach. Mad cow disease. It’s all from animal farms. And almost all the chicken you purchase has e.coli on it.
- World hunger. As nations’ wealth increases, so does the demand for meat. It’s unsustainable to feed the large population of the planet the quantity of meat we consume. The same land used to raise meat could feed far more people on a plant based diet.
- Mass extinction. Industrialized fishing is contributing to loss of biodiversity in the oceans.
- Health. Call it the revenge of the animal. Eating meat is detrimental to ones health. I almost don’t want to put this on the list because it’s minor compared to the other reasons. I know plenty of people willing to sacrifice a few years to their lives for a tasty morsel but the thing is, you choosing to harm yourself is still a personal freedom which you’ve denied the animals. But it’s what led me down this path so I’ve tacked it on. Stroke, cancer, heart disease, all that yummy goodness.
So that it tastes good suddenly isn’t a good enough reason for me.
Here are some doozies I’ve heard lately, which ignorant me might have said before:
- I can’t believe people eat… (fill-in”exotic” animal, turtle, dog, cat). They say this as they bite into chicken. Then they rationalize, when I remind them that they’re eating animals, that those animals they eat are dumb. Dogs/cats (whatever lucky animals that we deign to be non-food) are smart. I said the same thing when I ate meat. Only my exclusion was primates. I declared all animals are fair game to me, but primates feel too much like eating people. Oh and I wouldn’t eat lobster because I had to kill it at home and I could hear the scratching on the side of the pot as they suffered to death. It was the same kind of rationalizing. For all the love we claim to have for animals (our pets), we sure are able to conveniently forget about the ones that land on our dinner table. By the way there is vegan dog/cat food and no it’s not torturing poor Skippy to feed it vegan food because cats are supposed to eat meat. When you feed your rescue cat chicken, you just sacrificed one animal for another. A cat can be humanely put down, but the chicken suffered it’s entire life and then had a terrible death. Somehow, I think the cat still comes out on top in a comfortable home eating a balanced vegan diet.
- Animals eat other animals. Yes. They do. But they don’t raise theirs in such conditions that breed disease and cause suffering. The way our animals are raised and slaughtered isn’t the way they once were when people and domesticated farm animals once were codependent and the farmer slaughtered as needed to feed a town not a large corporation slaughtering en mass to feed a gigantic city. Animals also eat poop.
- Plants feel pain too! This is an eye roller. One kills more plants eating meat than eating plants alone.