My Vegetarianism

Ezra Kilty wrote a pretty good summary of why I’m vegetarian, which has little to do with the stereotypical “animals are people too” philosophy most people assign to me when they hear I don’t eat meat. I often half-jokingly say that I don’t like animals and I’m vegetarian because I want to eat their food source and starve them to death. This is only half-joking because starvation would be a natural, reasonable way for animals to die. Industrial meat farming, on the other hand, just doesn’t make any sense. There are a lot of things I still eat that also don’t make sense, but industrial meat is an extreme. It’s a clear aberration in the history of food, and I want nothing to do with it.

I part with Ezra here:

… As living things, [animals] deserve not to be managed strictly as food items. They deserve to eat a diet that their digestion is adapted for, rather than one that fattens them up. (If they are meat-eaters, they deserve to eat other living things, rather than the ground bones of other industrially-farmed animals, which is commonly used as feed.) They deserve to roam, to graze—to follow their behaviors. The industrial system puts the animals in an extremely tight cycle of birth, feeding, waste removal, and slaughter, which is not a life.

My own vegetarianism is more selfish. I don’t think animals deserve any of this, but I do think I deserve to live in a world where animals are treated like, well, the animals they are. The industrial meat industry (and the meat-rich diet that sustain it) upsets me in the same way someone claiming that 2 + 2 = 5 upsets me. It obviously doesn’t work, and I want my world to work.

Nature will acquiesce to most of our modern attempts to bypass it. Our highways through mountains, our televised realities, our internets all infringe on the way the world has optimized itself to work. But industrialized meat goes too far, rearranging the way life itself works. This can’t last. Nature will not adapt to this; it will give us mad cow diseases until we adapt. That doesn’t mean everyone has to be vegetarian, but we will have to eat much less meat. My vegetarianism is a proof-of-concept that this is still possible, that we can still back out of the broken food cycle we’ve created.

Bravo! This is why my vegetarianism also involves the potential to occasionally consume local, organic, humanely-produced meat, even though that's a contradiction. It's still natural for humans to eat meat, but not in the way most Americans do. I've been vegetarian for a couple years now, and had meat twice--and both times it's been from local small organic farmers, and I'm very happy about that.

Be number 2:

knows half of 8 is