Thursday, March 6, 2014

Defense of Eating Meat...from a Vegetarian

Now at last I can look at you in peace; I don't eat you any more. 
--Franz Kafka while admiring the fish in an aquarium. 

In November 2007 I became a vegetarian. I do research for an economic development firm and the more research I did into meat production, the less I could stomach the idea of eating meat. After weeks of feeling guilty I just stopped all meat consumption. For a month or two I was pescatarian (eat fish) but shortly into 2008 I stopped doing that as well. And a great weight lifted off my back. I didn't feel guilty anymore.

Now I was never a big meat eater to begin with. I'm not a fan of the textures of most meat. So giving it up wasn't a real problem. Except when it came to Jeff and I cooking. Jeff's a carnivore. I often describe him as a meatatarian. Meat and potatoes and not a lot of vegetables in his diet. So we don't cook well together anymore. But I made him a promise when I became vegetarian that I would never try to convert him. And he made a promise that he would never push meat on me. And that works for us. I think it should work for people in general.

I read an article today about the pig production industry. Pork and bacon are not something I could ever go back to, even if I went back to meat. I was reading the comments on the article and there was a lot of vitriol from both vegetarians and meat eaters. There were many names called and there were several "I hope you die" statements. It was vicious and mean. And it was disgusting. I read only a couple comments before I closed the page. We fight about a lot of terrible things.

And I got to thinking about my vegetarianism. I don't eat meat as a choice. I think that's the right choice for me. I don't want to deal with the guilt I feel is associated with meat consumption (see Kafka above). And while I'd love to see more people eat less meat (or the industry become more humane) I'm not going to lash out at people who do eat meat. I don't eat meat, that's my choice. You do eat meat, that's your choice. Nothing I say is going to change your mind and nothing you say is going to change mine. If we're each comfortable with our decision than we can leave each other alone. I'm going to save my energy for the fights that need fighting (like changing the industry) and leave the individuals, who just want to eat what they want, in peace.


Tricia said...

You nailed it Cat!

Cat B said...

Thanks for the kind words Tricia! And thanks for reading.