I have realised it’s way past time that I wrote about vegetarianism. I’ve been a vegetarian for many years now. I’ve been asked lots of questions. So I guess I’ll answer some of them once and for all. Until another meat-eater asks me another stupid question. Oh, well. Patience is one of my virtues. Sometimes.
1. Why are you vegetarian?
Why does rain fall from the sky? Why do plants photosynthesise? Why are tigers striped? It’s nature. Humans eating meat is one of the things that aren’t in nature but are brought about by culture. Like body modifications.
It’s common knowledge (to the more knowledgeable, at least) that humans aren’t predator animals. We’re prey. That’s why we’re the only upright apes, with the weakest arms. So that we can run from predators, not fight or kill them.
And yeah, I know all you flesh-eaters would have jumped to say, “Even cave-men ate meat. They made their own weapons to kill.” But that’s not evolution. You can train a dog to “beg,” but that doesn’t mean it has evolved to stand on two legs. Our digestive systems are still unable to digest animal flesh without having cooked it for a long time. We just aren’t made for it. We are made to eat plant matter, though.
I know many people like to eat raw fish and pork or whatever. Those people get upset stomachs and parasites more than those who eat cooked corpses.
Anyway, I don’t think that’s what meat-eaters mean when they ask me why. They want to know what made me stop eating meat. Other than the realisation of what I’ve just enlightened you with. So let me relate that awful experience to you.
I went to a fish farm when I was about 12, before I knew what “farm” meant. It sounds like a friendly place, doesn’t it, with cows grazing, chickens pecking and sheep bleating. This is what everyone sees. What they don’t show you is the killing. Masking the murder makes meat more palatable.
And sometimes even murder doesn’t affect people’s appetites. At the fish farm, it didn’t even occur to me that the fishes were for eating. I looked at the big, gray fishes in the big, gray tanks and wondered why people would want to keep such strange-looking fishes. I was staring into a tank, watching the fishes swim, when a woman came over with a huge net. I watched with childish curiosity as she messily caught a fish and hauled it out of the tank. She plopped the fish onto a stone counter. And then she reached for a hammer and almost before I could comprehend what was about to happen, she SLAMMED the hammer down on the fish’s head. The fish that I had just seen swimming innocently was lying lifelessly with a flattened head.
Needless to say, I started sobbing. The cold-blooded bastard who was walking past with the lifeless body of the poor fish in a plastic bag saw me and laughed. I was a twelve-year-old who had just witnessed murder for the first time, and he laughed at me. That was when I started resenting meat eaters. More importantly, that’s when I vowed never to eat another animal again.
And I haven’t.
2. What do you eat?
What an intelligent question. I eat food! Come on, meat eaters! It’s not as if all you eat is meat. And if that is indeed the case, shame on you.
3. How do you live on just vegetables?
There are so many food groups other than meat and vegetables. Cereals, fruits, sweets, dairy, legumes… And there are countless foods that can be made from them. My diet is very balanced and varied. I believe that meat-eaters know this, but ask that stupid question in an attempt to sound, and feel, superior. As if my diet is bland and boring, and theirs is rich and tasty. Let me assure you that I eat lots of delicious, healthy food. You need not be worried.
4. Why shouldn’t I eat meat?
I’ve given you several reasons while answering the first few questions, but let me give you another one.
Imagine being trapped in room so crowded that you can’t even lift your arms, turn around or take a deep breath. Your urine and feces collects on the floor, saturating the air with ammonia, making it even more difficult to breathe. The food you’re fed makes you unnaturally hefty, and you’re forced to stand constantly, making your legs hurt incessantly. Some of your smaller peers are unwittingly crushed to death by others.
When you’re finally let out from this hellish place, you’re only stuffed into equally stuffed cages and thrown into lorries without shelter or protection from bad weather. Then you’re roughly thrown out and shackled upside down by your legs, your abnormal weight causing your joints to become dislocated or your bones to snap. Then you’re electrocuted with enough voltage to paralyse, but not enough to make you unconscious, so you’re awake when a mechanical blade sloppily slits your throat. Some of your peers die instantly, but most of you bleed slowly and painfully to death.
This happens to millions of innocent, defenseless animals every day.
“Why shouldn’t I eat meat?” you ask.