Some of my Best Friends are Vegetarian!

It is an ongoing debate. To eat meat or not to eat meat? Personally I find myself constantly conflicted in this regard. I am a true animal lover. Animal cruelty is my pet peeve. Yet, I enjoy eating meat. More frequently than not I struggle internally with an overflowing sense guilt that I am perhaps perpetuating the maltreatment of all creatures cute, cuddly, fluffy, furry or feathered. Even scaled. Some would argue that it is merely the circle of life, survival of the fittest and the food chain. Others will defend equality regardless of species.

My dad always says that if you eat meat you should be willing to kill the animal. I am generally a passivist and I am not sure that I have a thick enough skin to slit a cow’s throat or chop off a chicken’s head. In fact, the thought of it makes me incredibly queasy. Several years ago my dad and his best friend went fishing and caught a particularly impressive grunter. Unfortunately I witnessed them dragging the poor creature out of the water while it gasped for breath until it was put out of its misery by having its head thumped against the floor of the boat. I was absolutely distraught and refused to eat a single bite of the fish once it was cooked. I named it Harold.

Yet I still eat meat. Perhaps I am stuck in a similar mentality as most people. If you don’t actually see the animal being killed, it’s alright. I mean it’s not like a beef burger patty resembles a cow in any way, nor do chicken McNuggets walk around clucking and shaking their feathers. However, when I sit down and think about what I’m eating I feel sick to my stomach. Many people complain about abusing animals and they protest if a dog or a dolphin is killed and eaten. Yet, they arrive home from work and fry up a couple of beef burgers for dinner. Is it not the same thing?? What pyramid of hierarchy establishes chickens and cows as less important and worth saving as cats and dogs?? It all seems a little hypocritical to me. And by eating meat and wanting to save the rhino’s I fall into that group of hypocrites.

So what is the right thing to do?? Personally I agree with my dad’s ethos. If you can’t stand to watch it being killed and are unwilling to do the deed yourself, you shouldn’t eat meat. And I am certainly trying to cut down on my meat intake, but it is difficult. I guess it is kind of like quitting smoking. You actually have to think about what you are doing and make a concerted effort to stop. It has to mean something you. It has to be an intellectual decision that you constantly have to work on everyday, otherwise the attempt is rendered futile.

Where do you stand on the vegetarian debate??

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