Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The "Meat" of The Problem?

Ezra Klein of The Washington Post wrote an article today about vegetarianism as could only be written by someone who isn't a vegetarian or vegan. While my initial knee-jerk reaction is to say "It's not enough!" and "Should I really applaud you for only have five meat-based dishes a month rather than none at all?", I can appreciate what Mr. Klein is saying and what he is doing. There is a rather judgmental little girl inside me that hates when people seem to be stuck in the belief that they would die (or would RATHER die) than go veg. As a vegetarian of almost 10 years, I don't see how anyone could possibly die, even if they were anemic, or had some other health issues, there are few dietary issues that can't be solved with upping your intake of certain fruits and veggies. Not being a vegan, I know it's rather hypocritical of me to get angry at people who won't give up meat when I won't give up cheese and eggs. But therein lies what Mr. Klein is trying to put across.

Whether you believe that animals were put on this earth because they serve a true purpose or if you believe they're simple there to be killed and then cut up on to our dinner plates (there I go again), the point is this: going veg at least once a week can help our planet from, well, imminent doom. The world might not end soon, but the planet as we know it needs our help. If you plan to have children, or even more so if you HAVE children, it is something to consider. And if you don't have kids, well, I understand what you're saying... "What does this have to do with me?" Well, okay. For one, let's stop being selfish assholes. Even if you don't believe that animals can feel pain and fear just as we can, you might be able to believe that eating them isn't always good for our bodies (because let's face it, most people who eat meat don't ONLY eat the super lean, organically-grown, cage-free poultry and catch their own lean fish, etc.) And if that isn't enough, read Mr. Klein's argument. The research he has done states that the greenhouse gas emissions coming from our livestock makes up about 18% of the total emissions released in to our atmosphere! It is actually better for the environment to go veg than to stop driving your car! Granted, it would be better to do both, but I understand sometimes life puts us in difficult situations.

And then think of all the grain that is produced to feed these poor animals. If we start cutting back on meat, and less cows and other animals are killed, it will mean that less of them are bred (or more to the point - less artificial inseminations will be going on), meaning that there will be less of a need to use the grain for them and more available grain to give to those who still go hungry in our country (and in our world, for that matter.) There's one thing to not sympathize with the animals (I don't understand it entirely, but I guess I understand part of it since we're not of the same species), but it's another to not sympathize at all with your fellow humans. So yes, there is more than one reason to go veg.

It's simply the most compassionate choice you can make on a daily basis. Try it out. It won't kill you. Maybe you're afraid to try new foods (you won't know unless you try!) Maybe you're afraid you'll get made fun of (this is bound to happen, but the more of us there are, the more support you'll have!) Or maybe you're just plain stubborn. Start having an open mind. It would be good for your health, your loved ones, the animals, and the environment. Once a week, try to go a full day eating vegetarian, or vegan if you're more ambitious. I try to eat as many vegan meals as I can, although I do occasionally indulge in cheeses and eggs. But at least I do my part, as should you.

Thanks to Mr. Klein for addressing the root of the matter.

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