Every time i found myself in a conversation either with a vegetarian or simply about the topic, the same cycle of thoughts would be going through my head :
"Well, I don't actually like meat that much, why don't I just stop eating it?
But there's meat in so many things, and it would be so exhausting to always have to ask for something different to what everybody else is having.
I do like animals, but in all honesty, I don't really care what that steak looked like before it got to my plate.
If I don't feel passionately about these animals, why should I make my life so much harder through cutting meat out of my diet?
Maybe it would be more ethically correct to be a vegetarian but if I don't think about it any further, i can go on with my life as before.
I don't even eat that much meat anyways so where's the problem?"
The I'd push the issue aside and go on with my day, reassuring myself with the though that, if everybody was living this way, how wrong could it be?
“Not responding is a response - we are equally responsible for what we don't do.” - Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals
Extremely "wrong", as it turns out (although "harmful" would probably be a more appropriate word here). As Jonathan Safran Foer states in his book Eating Animals, by mindlessly consuming what everyone else around you is, presumably "doing nothing", you are already doing something. You are making a choice on a day to day basis to support an industry that is not only responsible for the suffering of millions of animals but also for the destruction and pollution of our world. This book really opened my eyes on exactly how badly a large percentage of farm animals are treated before and while they're killed and this knowledge made me wonder whether I could still support my own decision of consuming meat, even if it was only on a twice-weekly basis.
The thing is, I don't feel about the deaths of these animals the same way as most vegetarians (or at least those I know) do. I don't feel pity for them for having to die, and I can still eat the piece of pork on my plate, knowing that it once belonged to an animal just as (or more) playful and intelligent as your typical family dog. If I didn't feel this way, I probably would have been a vegetarian for a very long time.
However, I am extremely passionate about every living being deserving a free and happy life. This might seem contradictory to what I just said, because how good of a life can an animal have if its mere purpose is to be consumed by humans? To me, if a pig was allowed to run around in the mud, was fed an appropriate diet and given shelter and medical assistance as necessary before being killed at a "reasonable" age, then I can eat the meat it offers without even a hint of a bad conscience. How I was ever able to believe that the scenario I have just described would even come close to reality, I don't understand.
After finishing Eating Animals (bursting into tears on more than one occasion because of the sheer cruelty inflicted on the animals), I knew I would at least have to try to change my eating habits in a way that aligns with what I believe to be right. So I started by writing down the dishes including meat I thought I wouldn't want to live without. Turns out, I don't actually eat the majority of these foods because of the taste or texture of the meat(or seafood for that matter). Would I miss the chicken in my curry or the beef in Chili con Carne? Sure not.
Yes, I do love smoked salmon, having mussels in the south of France and the stuffed turkey at christmas (which is probably the one to be avoided at all cost). However, except for the mussels, there is no way for me to ensure these animals were killed in a humane way, especially when eating out. And this, for now, means that I won't be eating them.
I set myself a period of 3 weeks (21 days is supposed to be the amount of time it takes to create a new habit) during which I will not be consumming meat at all and I'll see where to go from there. As of now, I am thinking about going 90% vegetarian or more afterwards (leaving room for my beloved mussels and the occasional organic burger), but it all depends on how I feel during and after the next 20 days. One thing i know for sure though is that I won't be having a cheap curry or Spaghetti Carbonara anytime soon.
I would love to write more on my "journey" on here if any of you are interested in hearing about it. Maybe a weekly update would be something you would like to read?I would sure love to have some feedback, whether you're a devoted meat-eater or a vegetarian yourself.
As always, I hope you enioyed this post as much as I enjoyed writing it!