People often ask me why I am a vegetarian and for how long I have been a vegetarian. I decided to write a series of articles about vegetarianism because it is close to my heart and there are lots of things to be said about it. In this first article I briefly outline my personal reasons for being a vegetarian.
The simple answer is that I love animals and since the age of 16 I have refused to eat them. To me the notion of loving someone and killing them does not go together. And to me all animals are worthy of life and it makes no difference whether people eat a cow or a cat – you kill to eat and it is equally bad.
Now I am not a fanatic vegetarian in the sense that I don’t object to other people eating whatever they want, but I do oppose people categorizing themselves as something they are not – like the notion that people who don’t eat meat but do eat fish are "vegetarians". To me this categorization is wrong because a fish is NOT a vegetable.
According to the official definition of vegetarianism from Wikipedia “it is the practice of a diet that excludes all animal flesh, including poultry, game, fish, shellfish or crustacean, and slaughter by-products”. A vegan is a person who excludes all animal products from diet and in some definitions from attire also, whether or not the production of clothing or items has involved the actual death of an animal (dairy, eggs, honey, wool, silk, down feathers, etc.). I am a vegetarian but I don’t buy leather or feather pillows or covers. This is against my conviction (which is personal and not religious).
My main reason thus is ethical – an aversion to inflicting pain or harm on other living creatures, or a belief that the unnecessary killing of other animals is inherently wrong.
Environmental reasons also count high on my list – namely the fact that so many people are starving and the production of meat for consumption as oppose to grains is unsustainable. Did you know that the inefficiencies of meat, milk and egg production range from 4:1 energy input to protein output ratio up to 54:1 and as such the U.S. could feed 800 million people with the grain that the livestock eat.
Another argument is that farmed animals produce about 130 times as much excrement as the entire human population of the United States. Since factory farms don’t have sewage treatment systems as cities and towns do, this ends up polluting ground water, destroying the topsoil, and contaminating the air. Hence as a meat-eater you should consider yourself partly responsible for the production of all of this waste "” about 86,000 pounds per second.
There are an endless list of motivations and benefits of being a vegetarian including: religious and spiritual, health reasons, medical, ethical, environmental, economical, psychological, and cultural. In my next blog posts I will write on the topic in greater detail.
So as you can see there are plenty of reasons to stop eating meat – in fact you can improve the world by stopping today 🙂