I believe the violence and suffering involved in the meat industry is quite horrific and utterly unnecessary.
Too many times I have seen documentaries and video footage of the appalling treatment of live animals within animal farms and it literally makes me sick to my stomach.
I cannot support this kind of cruelty when there is no need for it, when the main reason for such methods is the ignorant greed of the average consumer, who wishes only to have their cheap tasty Big Mac or packaged meat from the supermarket and think nothing more of where this food is coming from.
Greed and ignorance; the state of our world largely comes from these two vices and cruelty usually arises as a consequence, when we turn a blind eye to things like battery cages and the heart-breaking distress animal mothers feel when their young are stolen away from them, as in the case of veal.
We want something tasty without having to feel guilty so we don’t think.
For many people that I know, it doesn’t even have to get as deep as all that, just the act of killing an animal and skinning it would turn them off their food. I’ve even had one or two ask me to change the subject while they’re eating their beef salad.
I mean, seriously?! You’re eating beef, but you don’t want to talk about how this was once a live animal, or the process through which it became the little pieces of meat in your meal now?
That is one thing I can’t understand, because here’s the thing, the guiding principal behind my vegetarian values:
If I can’t kill it, I shouldn’t be eating it.
It’s what made me go properly vegetarian in the end, after several years on/off fish. The thought of hooking a fish and smashing its head didn’t sit right. So I stopped eating it for good.
One thing you must realize: I’m not talking about survival here! If I were starving and had no other options available then almost certainly I would hunt animals and eat them.
But I am not starving. I have an abundance of healthy plant-based food at my disposal.
So this is my main reason for being vegetarian. But there are a few more important ones.
The meat industry is having a terrible effect on the environment. Greenhouse emissions, excess land used for crops to feed the animals… all because too many people consume too much meat.
Not every one need become a vegetarian to save our planet, but nobody needs meat for lunch and dinner, every single day of the week – something many westerners do.
And then there’s the matter of our health – red meat is incredibly tough on the human stomach. We don’t have either the short digestive tracts or the razor sharp incisors of the lion, for example, whose diet is purely carnivorous. Did you ever hear of a cat needing a steak knife?! And they’re having it raw!
Plus there’s the fact that these days, in the mass farmed meat most people are buying, there are countless antibiotics and hormones that come as a result of wanting to produce massive quantities as rapidly as possible, mainly to meet a voracious western demand.
Everybody is different and I would not suggest that a full vegetarian diet would suit us all, in my experience some people seem to need the fuel and energy that comes primarily from meat.
However I would always urge people who feel they need it to source it well, to buy from local butchers where the meat is from animals that have had a good life with freedom to roam around naturally and even better to go organic, eating meat that is not stuffed with antibiotics.
But above all, I would urge everyone to eat less! Vegetarian food can be utterly delicious and nutritious when done right and it will leave you feeling lighter and healthier.
I’ll leave it there for now, but I have a lot more planned to share on my journey into a plant-based diet and my efforts to create quick, tasty, simple meals that nourish me with minimal impact on both the environment and the animal world!