By: Mau – Northampton, MA
Well no, not all vegetarians eat meat. But this one does from time to time. Actually, we can just discard the “vegetarian” designation altogether – it always bothered me anyway. I think the reason it bothered me is that it suggests that I am a purist and if I break my “purity” I am a sinner. Furthermore, it makes me a prickly guest – the one that makes the host nervous about what to make.
I eat FOOD. Mostly vegetables. Occasionally I eat meat. For years I was strictly vegetarian. I based my decision to stay away from animal flesh on a few ideas:
- Animals raised for meat are grossly mistreated, especially in factory farms. I don’t want to contribute to the mistreatment of any life form. I also believe that meat from animals raised under stress and torture is toxic – it’s not just protein we get from that meat.
- The average North American eats farrrrr too much meat and farrrrr too often. I’ve always believed that meat is a rather sacred food. When I was a child I would go hunting and fishing with my father. I witnessed the passing of life of many doves, quail, fish, and some deer. This is nothing to take for granted. Meat is a gift.
- Meat can be overwhelming and stressful to the digestive, cardiovascular, and lymphatic systems if eaten too often.
- I figured that killing was murder and I did not want to murder by proxy – by buying meat I was commissioning a murder.
But now I eat meat. My perspective remains unchanged except for the last bit. I do not see the killing of animals for food as necessarily “murder”. I remember when I would go hunting there was something I would feel when my father pulled the trigger and felled a few doves. At once I felt startled by the blast, excited by the good aim, sad about the death, and grateful for the food. My father was a respectful hunter. We only killed what we needed. I often thanked the birds silently.
I am privileged to live in an area where I can easily get meat from small farmers that name their animals. My neighbor is a former vegan now butcher that treats every animal he kills and prepares with respect and honor. He brought me a couple kidneys and some fat to render from a cow named “Moose”. I’ll eat it with gratitude, thanking the butcher, the farmer, and the animal itself.
If you are inclined to think that this level of consideration for meat is superfluous go hunting or fishing. Track an animal for a few days – see how it lives, its habitat. Kill it. Thank it. Eat it.