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Veg - Why I did it..


crashnburn
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An article someone posted on Craigslist. I was just looking to see if I could find a veg roommate / veg group online and here is an article.

 

I find this person approach quite refreshing. It is less aggressive, and more persuasive. Its like sharing something and then backing off, letting them figure it out for themselves without shoving it down their throats.

 

I dont know what works best, but I have usually seen that human psychology is to resist anything thats forced on them. If you let them slowly absorb ideas, they research & realize themselves.

 

I would think that a lot of people here went Vegan through stages of discovery. I am sure some went overnight but I am sure it was gradual in some way.

 

http://houston.craigslist.org/rnr/340758564.html

 

Why I did it...

 

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Reply to: [email protected]

Date: 2007-05-29, 7:47PM CDT

 

 

I became a vegetarian in 1991 after I read a couple books touting the health benefits associated with a meat-free diet. The prevailing literature at the time (and even more so now) seemed clear to me that a diet free of animal products would significantly reduce my likelihood of heart attack, stroke, colon cancer, obesity, and any number of maladies that shouldn't have concerned me anyway as an active 21 year old.

 

So, I gave up meat. It really wasn't that big of a deal.

 

At the time, the ethics of vegetarianism were of no interest to me. I liked animals just fine -- particularly my family dogs and cats. When they all eventually died, I felt real sadness. I just couldn't bring myself to care much about pigs, chickens, and cows who I had never met.

 

I really didn't care much about what anyone else ate. As long as I had my veggie burger when the family barbecued, I was happier than a gopher in soft dirt. If my self-preserving diet happened to also be ethical, that was fine by me. And better yet if it won me the attention of some lovely liberal ladies (I said I was vegetarian. I never said I was a saint). I didn't spend a moment considering the plight (much less the rights) of animals I wasn't eating anyway.

 

I also had very little patience for people who were vegetarian as an ethical stance, and animal rights activists were even worse in my book. My dislike stemmed from my intense desire to not have people make assumptions about me (my manhood, my politics, my religion, my athleticism, etc.) based on something as inconsequential to me as my diet.

 

Because I didn't eat meat, people thought that they knew something about me. And quite often, they knew everything they needed to know about me to ensure that I was excluded when a group of friends was going out to eat. I blamed this on the animal rights nuts and the crazy vegans who had politicized my simple act of dietary self-preservation. I wasn't a guy with a cause. My meat-avoidance was no more significant to my identity than butterscotch avoidance was to someone who didn't care for tasty sundaes.

 

And here we are today.

 

Over the 15 years of abstaining from meat, I have turned a corner and begun to see some validity in the complaints activists have with animal agriculture in today’s modern world. Meat production in America is quite a bit different today than it was when our grandparents lived on the farm. Back then, the animals got to roam around the barnyard inside and out. They enjoyed reasonably happy lives grazing and screwing until they got fat enough to be slaughtered for food. While the slaughter itself was probably a bit of a nightmare for them, the lives of the animals leading up to that point was basically cruelty-free.

 

Today, the family farm in America is just about extinct. Farms have been purchased by giant multi-national corporations like Smithfield and Con-Agra. Quite often, these corporations continue to operate under the names of the small family farms of yesteryear to evoke the warm images of Charlotte's Web when you open your package of Sunday morning bacon. Don't be fooled. That quaint sounding company is a profit-driven behemoth, and that bacon you enjoy came from a pig treated quite a bit worse than ol' Wilbur the Runt.

 

Factory farms (as they're called) operate under razor-thin margins which depend on confining as many animals as possible into the smallest space possible to maximize profits. This mass confinement is a recipe for immense animal suffering and disease (mad cow with a side of avian flu, anyone?). To head off these confinement-induced diseases, animals are pumped full of antibiotics which make their way into the meat you eat.

 

The animals themselves are kept in overcrowded conditions or, in the case of egg-laying hens, small cages housing multiple birds. These animals never get to see the light of day or feel the earth beneath their feet. The cows are branded and the bulls are castrated without pain killer. Mother pigs are kept in gestation crates that don't allow them to move at all. The horrors go on and on. The numbers of animals raised and killed for food in this manner is in the billions.

 

Big deal, you say. It's not like these animals have rights.

 

To confess, I still don't put much weight on animal rights as a concept. As a matter of practice, different people afford different creatures different rights based upon that creature's relationship to us. We afford different rights and courtesies to U.S. citizens, enemy combatants, strangers, friends, pets, and farm animals. Trying to come up with a master set of principles on how to treat every living creature is a fool's errand. Let's leave the rights arguments to the folks in the basement of the University Philosophy Department and live in the real world, okay?

 

Animal suffering, on the other hand, is an issue worthy of consideration. Regardless of your feelings about the animals you eat, the fact that these animals have a capacity to suffer and feel pain is beyond dispute. They all share similar central nervous systems to ours, and the pain they feel from their torture and confinement matters quite a bit to them -- even if it matters little to you and I.

 

Whenever I have the ability to make changes in my life that will serve to alleviate the suffering of others (man or beast) at little cost to myself, I say it’s worth a shot. Avoiding the consumption of animal products is that kind of choice. When I weigh the suffering endured by an egg laying hen or a veal calf (considerable) against the cost of sacrificing of an omelet for breakfast (not considerable), the decision to eat something else becomes self-evident to me.

 

So what should you do?

 

Two things:

 

1. See For Yourself. -- Don't take my word for it. Research the issue yourself.

 

2. Do What You Can. -- Make whatever sustainable choices you can to live an ethical life that won't also make you miserable.

 

More on point one: At the very least, try to get educated about the modern state of animal agriculture in America, so you can make your own fully-informed moral choices. Hiding your head in the sand isn't the answer. Look the industry you subsidize in the eye and ask yourself if that is money well spent. Remember, every time you purchase animal products, you personally fund unspeakable animal suffering.

 

More on point two: Like every moral issue, right and wrong comes down to a continuum of behaviors from which you can choose. Dietary choices are not black and white issues, and we all live in various shades of gray. If the idea of going cold turkey (no pun intended) isn't feasible, perhaps you can do a lot of good by reducing the amount of meat you eat each week. If two people reduce their meat intake by half, it's as good (and likely more sustainable) as talking your kid brother into going vegetarian.

 

Besides, your brother would likely only go veg for a couple weeks until he doesn't like it and starts eating meat again. Remember, it's not an all-or-nothing proposition.

 

If you just reduce your intake of animal products, your body will thank you and the animals (if they could) will thank you.

 

Remember, if somebody treated a dog the way these corporations treat farmed animals, that person would go to jail. Instead, the corporations torturing equally-intelligent animals for profit are given massive government subsidies and enjoy the goodwill (and riches) of the meat-eating public. A dog, a cat, a chicken, a pig, a cow and you all share the same capacity to suffer. If you wouldn't pay to have a puppy caged for life, you shouldn’t pay for a chicken to be caged, either.

 

And, finally, fellow vegetarians, lets stop being such holier-than-thou assholes about our diets, okay?

 

The harvesting of vegetables for food is not a moral free ride. Think about the migrant worker who picked our broccoli and the crummy conditions of his life, okay? We may be doing the best we can, but let’s not get too sanctimonious and self-righteous about our own moral choices. Remember that the film in your camera, the concrete on your sidewalk, and the filters in your municipal water supply all use animal products. None of us are 100 percent vegan. None of us walk through this world without leaving footprints.

 

We need to realize that avoidance of animal products is not some Zen-like quest for personal purity, but rather a simple tool to reduce the about of suffering in the world. It's not a religion. It’s not a lifestyle. It's not a club. It's a tool, and an imperfect one at that.

 

But it's all we’ve got.

 

The corporations behind the factory farms don't care what we think. They are immunized to meaningful animal welfare legislation by the virtue of their massive political contributions. All we can do is vote with our feet and stop sending them our money.

 

If vegetarians can communicate the simple messages of "see for yourself" and "do what you can" and stop arguing for the "rights" of lab mice, folks may be more willing to listen to us and we may actually make some headway in this crusade to reduce the amount of suffering in the world.

 

To learn more about the suffering of animals on factory farms, I invite you to watch the video at www.meetyourmeat.com and visit the website www.factoryfarming.com (you carnivores may want to wait until after dinner). Full disclosure: both of these sites are fronts for animal rights organizations with their own agendas. The images and descriptions, however, are very real and come from undercover investigations at the farms themselves. I'm no fan of the organized animal rights movement, but they're the only game in town when it comes to shining a light on the despicable animal agriculture industry. Dateline and 60 Minutes just aren’t interested in presenting the public with the truth about where their meat comes from, and God knows the big corporations who operate the factory farms don't want to draw attention to their mass confinement and slaughter operations.

 

A counterpunch I often hear is: “Why not worry about human suffering? Why bother with animals?” This question assumes that eating a plant-based diet is, in some way, more time consuming than eating a butt steak. Vegetarianism is a passive activity. Enjoy some pasta with marinara sauce, then get out there and help your neighbor.

 

Finally, if you are looking to donate or volunteer with a decent organization regarding issues of factory farming, please check out www.veganoutreach.org. They are an honorable grassroots outfit dedicated to educating the public about the realities of animal agriculture. They don't commit crimes or throw blood on old ladies. They operate on the premise that if the average person found out the truth of the matter, he/she would make more compassionate dietary choices.

 

I'm happy to answer any questions you may have about vegetarianism, veganism, nutrition, animal rights, animal welfare, animal agriculture, etc. Simply drop me a line, and I'll respond.

 

it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests

 

PostingID: 340758564

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Thanks for that, it was a good article!

It sometimes depresses how long the road is to travel. I was standing in a larger grocery store looking at the 'salads' and other cooled dishes. Out of about 20 dishes 20 had animal products in them. To most people food isn't food unless there is meat or fish in it. Today I saw a small truck that delivers fruit to companies and it said "In between meals" as a slogan for eating fruit, as if fruit itself is not good enough for a meal. Again in the store the guy in front of me bought sausages, white pasta, bread, cheese, butter, the works and gets to pay 1/3 of what I'm paying. I pay subsidies for the crap he and his children are eating so that they can slowly kill themselves and end up in a hospital where I have to pay the bill both for the doctors, their stay and also the animal testing for the worthless pills they will recieve. Yesterday we barbequed for 10 omnis and a vegan and they just piled up the meat on the grill. It looked like a mountain of death. To me it was a macabre sight and I usually can stand watching people eat meat. It also ticks me when people talk like they're gormets when they talk about meat, sauces and fries, you know like "the ass of the pig have a certain distinctive flavour that makes great bathing in butter with some fresh potatoes and cheese-sauce". It has nothing to do with taste, it's addiction...

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