Reasons I Became Vegetarian

A few weeks ago I sent my sister an email asking her why she became vegetarian (we both are and have been for roughly six years). In her response, she asked me why I am a vegetarian. I ended up writing more than I expected, so I figured I’d go ahead and post it for all to see!

The book I mentioned that I was reading at the time was The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist-Vegetarian Critical Theory.

Perhaps some day I’ll formalize it and turn it into a better post, but for now it’s better than nothing…

the first thing that caused me to become vege was the fact that i realized i just didn’t like meat all that much. the flavor/texture/etc. i specifically remember being at school and i got a chicken salad sandwich pita and there was some grissle in it and i was like, that’s so disgusting. never again.

now that i’ve been vege longer and given it more though, i have a whole list of reasons:

  1. meat takes way more energy/resources to produce food/nourishment than vegetable-based foods. the common statistic is that 10 lbs of grain produces 1 lb of beef. imagine how many more people on this planet could be fed with that extra grain.
  2. on a similar note, the way we “farm”/”raise” animals now is extremely bad for the environment. try taking an old cattle field and plant some trees — they won’t grow since the ground is so polluted with animal waste and stripped of minerals and stuff.
  3. like you said, i like and appreciate and respect animals. i don’t think humans have any moral superiority that gives us the right to decide to kill other animals. when anti-vegetarians respond to this by saying “but animals kill other animals” and “cavemen at animals” i say:
    1. animals never kill other animals to the point of extinction
    2. animals don’t use factory farms and mass production
    3. animals have to look their prey in the eye when they kill it, thus creating an emotional response to the slaughter that humans have removed themself from
    4. cavemen didn’t use computers, either… i would like to think we’ve improved since those times, and meat eating should be one of those things we’ve improved upon
  4. the way that we eat meat and determine what meats are “ok” and which are “gross” just proves to me that humans aren’t innately wired to eat meat. for example, lots of people think it’s “horrible” and “inhumane” etc. to eat dogs and horses and whatnot. to me, it’s all the same. i hate people who are quick to defend dogs but then turn around and eat a burger.

one thing that i don’t like, though, are people who are vegetarian for religious and/or health reasons. i mean, in the end it’s good because less animals are killed, but i guess for me being vegetarian is something at the core of who i am since it was an ethical decision i made. i’m not forcing myself to do it because of religion or desire for better health.

i know you aren’t vegan (and neither am i, but i try to be vegan whenever possible), but one very interesting point made in the book was that both eggs and dairy products come from only female animals. it’s just another example of men (and humans) exploiting the female body… even in animals!!!

Any other veg*ns want to share their thoughts on why they became veg*n? I think it’d make an interesting sort of anthology. Or not really…

4 thoughts on “Reasons I Became Vegetarian”

  1. Just on the vegetarians who do it for religious purpose; I know that Hindu and Buddhist vegetarians don’t consume meat because the religions themselves have a innate respect for life, and they believe in not harming other creatures. To me, looking at the reasons you put up above, it seems aligned to your beliefs.

    Are there other religions that you had in mind when you were writing? Like I said, I only know about vegetarianism in Hinduism and Buddhism.

    And for the people who do it for health reasons; if they’re doing it so save/better their lives, what’s your conflict with that? You’d rather have them suffer because they’re not doing it for the ‘right’ moral reasons?

    Don’t mean all this personally, just interested in the reasoning. 🙂

  2. I never liked meat. I would pasify my parents and have one bite of turkey on Thanksgiving. I never ate chicken. Never ate fish, other seafood. I’m in my 30s and can honestly say I’ve never had a cheeseburger. I used to eat beef and some pork, but only in limited amounts and in limited ways. One day I looked at my hand, then I looked at the slice of roast beef. The patterns were the same. Never again. I’ve been meat-free for nearly 15 years. I don’t miss nor crave it. I don’t do veggie burgers or the like because it’s just too much like meat. I don’t even like the texture. Odd thing is I’m not a big animal lover. Then again, I’d rather have someone not like me much than proclaim to love me and then order me up from the menu!

  3. I was a carnivore until I was 26. But it took time for me to become a full-on vegetarian. I started by not eating red meat for about two years. Then I ate a piece of chicken in which I could feel the “hair” on the cooked skin. That experience put me over the edge.

    I don’t have any issues eating fake meat products, though I can understand why others prefer to skip those options. However, I don’t understand how people eat fish and still call themselves vegetarians. Maybe this goes back to the moral vs. religious vs. health issue.

    I should also say that I’m not offended when people eat meat in front of me. I just can’t imagine telling a friend that I cannot have dinner with him/her because of the food they chose to eat. I was offended, though, when one of my vege friends ate salami at a party – stating that he “takes a break” for special occasions.

    Currently, I’m trying to reduce the amount of dairy and eggs in my diet. My two weaknesses in this department are chai and cheese.

    One final thought: should I force my cat to be vegetarian? My first response is no, but why? I think I need to read up on this issue further.

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