Tuesday, February 19, 2008

This is one of the reasons why I don't eat meat. Not just because you can get crazy diseases from it, but because of the inhumanity of factory farming and agribusiness. Normally I try not to bring up my vegetarianism much; unless you're cooking for me (which hardly anyone ever is) or you're my doctor/dietitian, it's no concern of yours what I eat, and you would probably prefer not to be burdened with the information anyway. I hate vegetarians and vegans who are dicks about it ("You know, eating cheese is ethically the same as raping a cow." Yeah, sure. Go eat your lentil loaf and leave me alone. Actually, if you could save me a piece of lentil loaf...).

But. Since it's in the news I feel entitled to hold forth a bit. Unless you know the person who's raising your meat, and know that they are raising it humanely--and killing it humanely--chances are they aren't. I try to live my life in a way that minimizes suffering, whether that be human or animal; it's most commonly recognized as the Buddhist principle of "ahimsa," or "non-harming," but Christ's commandment not to do unto your neighbor what is hateful to you is the same thing and is what I remember from my childhood. Obviously, the world is so interconnected and interdependent that it's sometimes difficult (if not impossible) to determine the course of action that will cause the least suffering. However, in this case I think it's a clear-cut issue. I won't die without meat; eating less meat and dedicating less land to cattle could help a great deal in addressing international issues of hunger and poverty; and after years of not eating meat, I no longer have much of a taste for it. That's all; sermon over.

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