Friday, November 24, 2006

Meat-Eating Vegetarian

I’ve been a vegetarian for about 15 years.

I didn’t stop eating meat out of any deep philosophical conviction; it had more to do with aesthetics and the way I felt physically after a meaty meal.

I think it was a hamburger at a barbecue in Minnesota that convinced me I’d rather not eat dead animals and so I just stopped doing so.

Subsequently, I came to find the arguments in favor of vegetarianism fairly compelling. Peter Singer’s book, Animal Liberation persuaded me against factory-farmed animals in particular; Fast Food Nation made a strong case that the meat industry is arguably even worse for the human beings involved in it than the animals; plus, as a student of yoga, I’m moved by the principle of non-violence—ahimsa—to refrain from contributing, in my diet, to the suffering of sentient beings.

Still, I’m not, and have never been a fanatic: I’m not vegan—even though I’m aware that the dairy cows and chickens that supply my cheese and eggs don’t have it so great—I don’t go around with “Meat is Murder” stickers on my bike; and it doesn’t bother me to dine with people eating steak, or bacon, or even veal.

Last spring, in Africa, the Maasai tribesmen we were camping with slaughtered and roasted a goat in our honor; I sampled some of the cooked animal (although not the proffered raw heart); it was fine—sort of chewy and sweet—and I didn’t get sick or grossed out or anything.

About 10 years ago, I spent a weekend at my friend’s brother-in-law’s cattle ranch, doing the City Slickers thing; we ate beef three times a day and I lived to tell the tale.

Last night, at Thanksgiving dinner, I tasted a few bites of turkey; I’m not suddenly moved to hit KFC for lunch, but on the other hand, I don’t feel as if I have to go do some sort of penance at PETA headquarters, either.

3 Comments:

Blogger rusty said...

Hi Dashap,

Chanced upon your blog,
and must say that it was in a way,
God sent.

I am trying to be a vegetarian,
and have kinda kept to it for most of the time.

More for health and in a way,
humanitarian reasons, i guess.

Anyways,
keep up the good work
and all the best!

With metta,
rusty

10:36 AM  
Anonymous Alberto said...

I was a vegetarian once, but only by day. Seriously. I was hiking with a friend from France to Spain – which might seem short but for me it was actually 800 kilometers. Well, I couldn’t eat meat during the day, when we were putting in 6 to 7 hours of backpacking. But at night, when we reached a cozy town (this was cold January) I couldn’t help not heating the meat. Isn’t that something?

I was a vegetarian once, but only by day. Seriously. I was hiking with a friend from France to Spain – which might seem short but for me it was actually 800 kilometers. Well, I couldn’t eat meat during the day, when we were putting in 6 to 7 hours of backpacking. But at night, when we reached a cozy town (this was cold January) I couldn’t help not heating the meat. Isn’t that something?

(Happy thanksgiving, by the way. We’re having our turkey tomorrow. In Spain we do not celebrate Thanksgiving but being that we are half-American – the good or bad half I‘m not sure which – we’re gonna be thankful tomorrow.)

2:28 PM  
Anonymous Michael R said...

This post I had to read aloud. To my wife, a vegetarian for over 30 years. She was moved by ethical considerations. She likes your attitude.

10:40 PM  

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