Friday, September 21, 2012

Why Vegetarian?

Broccoli - My Favourite Vegetable

I don't have anything against people who eat meat.  I'm perfectly fine around meat eaters as long as they don't coerce me into consuming animal flesh or relentlessly question my food choices.  In such a scenario, I'd usually end up saying "because I've realised I actually don't like dead animals anywhere near my mouth—let alone in my body."  That's the raw truth and I try my best to avoid saying it around meat eaters.  However, I might be forced to say it if I exhaust my bank of euphemisms.

I don't want to have to kill sentient beings to live because, as far as I'm concerned, I can maintain a perfectly healthy existence without relying on the death of living, breathing beings.  Animals can have a fruitful existence and serve an ecological purpose for the Earth without me killing and eating them.

Some people argue that animals exist primarily as food for us humans.  Nothing could be more human-centric than that.  With that kind of premise, it also means that if we allow animals to thrive freely and live fully, their lives would be useless.  I can't accept such a statement.  I don't think animals' lives would go to waste if we don't kill them.  If a mother sow could speak, she wouldn't agree with you if you tell her that her piglets' lives would be wasted if we don't kill them just so we could serve lechon de leche for Christmas dinner.

While I don't deny that humans are omnivorous by nature, choosing to live a path free from animal flesh doesn't make my existence any less fulfilled than that of people who eat meat.  Additionally, it has been proven time and again that we don't need meat to survive unless we live on ice.  It's not like we have to forage for vegetables and fruits like our early ancestors did.  We have, as intelligent species, mastered the science of crop agriculture.

There are certain living circumstances where I recognise vegetarianism to be impractical for humans.  Alaska, the Arctic Region and the places close to the Himalayas are perfect examples.  They need meat to fuel the generation of heat in their bodies because they live in such cold, cold places.  In addition, the crops that grow in those areas (if any) would hardly suffice for their nutritional needs.  I wouldn't condone going to those parts of the world and speaking about the benefits of vegetarianism.  They are meat eaters and hunters out of necessity and I bear complete consideration for their choices of food and even give thumbs up if their livestock is self-raised.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is primarily to point out publicly that I have reasons for being a vegetarian beyond the boxed perception of so-called healthy eating.  It's more ethical and environmental than it is for health.  I'm a vegetarian because I know I will live a healthy and fruitful life without having to put myself at the end of a chain of animal murder.  I live in a part of the world where meat eating is not a physical necessity.  Therefore, I will not eat meat.  Moreover, I don't want to take part in wrecking the environment with large-scale industrial meat production.  It's very disheartening to think that climate change is worsening everyday and conventional livestock farming is one of its primary contributors.  If you don't bear the same principle, that's entirely up to you.

I must also point out that the cruelty and dire conditions that animals are forced to experience in large conventional farms is unfathomable.  In large poultries, chickens' beaks are cut off and some of them are unable to heal properly so they end up bleeding to death.  In cattle farms, cows and bulls are painfully de-horned as calves and beaten senselessly if their behaviours prove frustrating to the workers.  In hog farms, mother sows are put in very tight cages and cannot even turn around or stand up.  They are raised for food but they aren't given respect in the process.  If you're going to raise an animal so you could eat it, you should at least respect it and let it live properly.  At least most indigenous tribal communities, despite being meat eaters, recognise such a need.

If you're a meat eater, you don't have to justify your diet of choice to me or anyone else.  I'm not imposing vegetarianism on anyone reading this, I'm simply presenting my reasons in the process of making a not-so-subliminal suggestion.  I'm advocating it because, to me, it's an ethical way of living.  It's a choice I've made in order to adhere to my principle of compassion for all sentient beings no matter what phylum they belong to and as long as they don't threaten my life.

Vegetarianism is my way of expressing respect and love for the Earth and all her children.  What's yours?


O, hidden life, vibrant in every atom.
O, hidden light, shining in every creature.
O, hidden love, embracing all in oneness.

May all who feel themselves as one with thee,
Know that they are therefore one with every other.