I used to always like the taste of meat — burgers, chicken, you name it. But I always had a feeling of guilt every time I ate it. In the middle 2000s, it got to the point where I would hesitate when eating meat and would tend to leave it uneaten. So beginning in 2008, I gradually began to stop eating meat altogether. By 2009, I had completely stopped eating meat.
The reason I have decided to become a vegetarian is because I see animals as being like people, and people as being like animals — they are one; they are not separate. Animals have souls just like people. Animals have emotions just like people, and animals feel pain just like people. Because of this, the idea of eating meat (i.e. burgers and hot dogs) is like the idea of eating people. If you saw people sitting at a picnic table and instead of eating hot dogs, they were eating canned human, you’d feel sickened, wouldn’t you? Well that’s how I feel when I see people eating burgers and hot dogs.
Our culture (and many other cultures) have conditioned us over a long time to like meat, because it is lucrative and profitable for many businesses to slaughter animals. If all of a sudden people stopped eating meat, those businesses would stop making money. People have been brainwashed by our society and by large corporations into the idea that items such as burgers and hot dogs are “default” items — that they are basic, nutritious food items. The fact is, they aren’t even really that nutritious. Meat does provide some vitamins, but those vitamins can be obtained in other ways. And as for the taste of meat, the only reason it is considered “good” by so many people is mainly because of the things added onto it (i.e. ketchup, buns, etc.)
Since 2009, I have been eating food that imitates meat and is made out of soy, such as Boca Burgers and “Chik’n” Morningstar nuggets. I have put on them the same stuff you would put on regular meat (like ketchup) and I’ve found that the taste is almost the same as that of regular meat. The only reason people don’t eat the stuff that pretends to be meat is because 1) they’ve gotten used to the status quo meat, 2) they’ve been brainwashed into thinking meat is good, 3) they want so be seen a being being a certain type of person
by other people, and 4) many don’t know imitator meat like “Boca Burgers” exist because not enough advertising of them is done.
Because every animal has a soul (a unique existence), I do not feel it is right to usurp the life from another animal just as it wouldn’t be right to usurp the life of another human being. Animals think and feel pain. Many people can eat a hot dog without thinking about it. But, if they loved a pet pig and/or were exposed to live pigs being slaughtered, they would never eat hot dogs. The problem is this: out of sight, out of mind. There is a disconnect. They do not see the animals losing their lives — all they see is a hot dog in the Supermarket. They are blind to what is really happening.
When eating meat, I consider jellyfish to be the cutoff point — that is, anything that has an intelligence greater than or equal to that of a jellyfish is off limits. Anything with intelligence ranging from a jellyfish to a dolphin is off limits. This means that although bacteria are technically “living”, I don’t have a problem washing my hands because they are below the jellyfish cutoff point. I get very angry at people who say they’re vegetarian, yet eat fish. Apparently their cutoff point is above that of fish. But studies have shown that fish can think and feel pain just like the “higher-intelligence” animals like cats and dogs. And until we have a thorough understanding of how animal minds work, it is not right to count fish as being in the “edible” category. If you eat fish, you are not a vegetarian. Period.
There is an issue which I have thought about which may contradict what I think, and it is this: Animals kill and eat other animals in the wild. Because of this, why can’t humans (who are animals) also kill and eat other animals? My answer is this: Humans have become a super-species; there are now almost 7 billion of us. We use massive, destructive ways of obtaining meat — the mass slaughtering of billions of pigs, cows, and other livestock. Nothing in nature matches this level of cruelty. Mass meat-production only serves one purpose: to satisfy human needs. If a killer whale eats a seal, it is helping the ecosystem because in the long run it will make the seal population stronger. This is not the case with humans — humans have become like an uncontrollable cancer that has taken over the Earth. In addition, humans are the only animals which have reached a level of consciousness that allows for the type of reasoning involved in not eating meat. As a result, other animals (such as killer whales eating seals) cannot be blamed on the killer whale, because the killer whale is only following its instincts.
Finally, I want to bring up one more point — this point is aimed at all those people who sit down at their table every night and eat burgers and hot dogs. I believe that if a person is comfortable eating a hamburger or hot dog, then that person should also be comfortable killing the animal they are consuming. For example, a person who likes hot dogs should also be capable of personally killing a pig, or at least watching a pig get killed. If they are not willing to kill or watch an animal get killed for consumption (and I assume most aren’t), then they are hypocritical. I would assume that most people who eat hot dogs don’t think where it came from and, if they were confronted with the reality of killing a pig, they would probably not eat hot dogs again (or eat vegetarian hot dogs). Anyone who is not comfortable killing or seeing a pig get killed, yet eats hot dogs at the dinner table, is a complete hypocrite.
Keep in mind also the subject of zoosexuality, a sexual orientation in which humans are sexually attracted to non-human animals. I wrote a post on this taboo subject (http://vividrandomexistence.wordpress.com/2010/07/20/Zoosexuality-should-it-be-considered-acceptable-or-not) and explained how there is nothing wrong with zoosexuality. I find it ironic that most people find nothing wrong with eating meat (eating the flesh of another animal), yet those same people probably think zoosexuality is wrong. Many people claim that animals can’t consent to having sex (a claim which I find fallacious). However, do those same people ever stop and think about whether the cow that became their hamburger “consented” to being slaughtered for human consumption? Probably not. There is nothing wrong with zoosexuality, but there is definitely something wrong with eating meat; by eating meat, a person is supporting the cruel animal-slaughtering industry.
For more information on why humans artificially separate themselves from other animals, read this post: http://vividrandomexistence.wordpress.com/2010/10/04/why-arent-humans-considered-to-be-animals. For information on food libel laws (unconstitutional laws which are designed to prevent people from criticizing the meat industry) read this post: http://vividrandomexistence.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/repeal-food-libel-laws.