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.

IMG_0209

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.