Why are you/are you not vegetarian?

Just musing on why some people voluntarily forgo the experience of - say - a good burger. I know a couple of people here are vegetarian/vegan, but I’m equally interested in opinions from meat-eaters. Do they eat it simply because it’s there, or do they have specific reasons for rejecting vegetarianism as a viable lifestyle option?

Personally, I don’t have a problem with meat as such. I have a huge problem with the meat industry - I think the pursuit of cheap meat, and government legislation that permits the inevitable cruelty, waste and pollution is a Bad Thing. It benefits nobody, not even the people who think they’re making money from it (they could make far more money from a well-regulated market in which meat is an expensive luxury). But it’s perfectly possible to treat animals well and slaughter them humanely. We need animals on farms: they are valuable workers and recyclers of waste, obviating the need for a lot of bought-in machinery and chemicals.

Healthwise, animal protein seems to be either neutral or modestly helpful as part of an otherwise healthy diet. Eating too much seems to be harmful. If prices were higher, people simply wouldn’t be able to afford excessive amounts of it, and the environmental impact of producing it would be minimal.

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I just have principles. Plonk a pig and a sharp blade in front of me, and I wouldn’t be able to slaughter it in a million years. I’d far rather give him a name, a basket and warm blanket for the night. So given that I’m so useless at blood-letting, why should I allow others to do the nasty job for me?

It’s been so long now that I’ve forgotten what a ‘good’ burger tastes like.

My vegetarian stance is only enhanced by my regular cycles past Hualien County pig factories. Animals crushed into pens, fattening on the wrong foods and in the wrong way. It’s so far from being lean, healthy meat, and it’s beyond me why anyway would want to eat any kind of Taiwan zhu-rou. Especially those small cubes of pink processed dead pig. Is there a vomit smiley?

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My kids went over to the dark side almost 2 years now. Their reasoning is simple–they like animals, don’t want to see them hurt, and feel that in this day and age there are ample ways to get enough nutrition without eating meat.

I like meat. I’ve had to cook a lot more vegetarian food though. I’m probably eating less meat.

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I’m not a vegetarian mostly due to a lack of will power. I was brought up on a dairy farm so I did see first hand what happened to animals before they became food. In my youth, a lot of the freezing works in New Zealand hired Muslims to slaughter animals because it was considered humane if they were facing Mecca.

My youngest sister is the only vegetarian in my family and she gave up meat around the time Mad Cow Disease broke out.

I was a vegan when I was a kid because it gave me an excuse to never eat in front of anyone: ballet and childhood trauma stopped me eating normally until I was well into my 20s. Started eating fish, then meat in Bangkok in my 20s.

Now I eat mostly vegan at home, because it helps my health problems: low cal, high fibre, good oils.

I eat meat socially because I do enjoy it. I just don’t feel good to eat a lot of it, physically. I try to avoid dairy because it’s cruel and wasteful. Eggs, I eat, even though I don’t really want to for ethical reasons: i just find my diet a bit limited and overly soy based.

i’m a city mouse but I have no squeamishness about killing something: I just don’t approve of industrial farming.

My favourite food is KFC and McDonalds: I didn’t eat it until it until I was 24 and it was almost a religious experience. And icecream. But hey, I’m an adult, mostly, so I don’t really eat it because it’s bad for me.

Why should I be a vegetarian? I just try to eat healthy, and not more than what I need. I seriously doubt that to be vegetarian is a better choice than mine, but I respect it and I also understand that there’s a concern about resources and animal whatever behind. But I’m not stopping eating pork, chicken, lamb and all those animals just because some other people abuse from them.

I would say that normally I eat way less meat than average though.

I remember being a kid and having to have my steak cooked very well done because the slightest hint of red or pink and I couldn’t stomach it.

I don’t eat meat for a host of reasons - environmental, health, animal welfare etc, but also because it just never tasted good.

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I love the taste of certain meat, therefore I eat it.
I did have a visit to a doctor a few months ago and he suggested eating less meat as I have high of a few things.

I mostly eat fish and chicken but have the occasional beef dish (about once a month) and my pork intake is limited to bacon (about three or four times a year). I could do without chicken, beef, etc but would struggle to give up seafood…I am in love with the stuff.

It would be difficult to give up meat entirely as I do a majority of the cooking in our household and my husband would never dream of giving up meat. Having said that, we keep our meat portions small and eat loads of veggies with our meals. We eat meat with dinner and about 5 times a week (different types of seafood four times a week, chicken once, and the other two nights vegetarian) and we are happy with that. We both feel very healthy and energetic.

I’ve no particular reason to adopt such restrictions. :idunno: Meat is yummy, I’ve eaten it since small, and it can be part of a healthy diet if done reasonably.

It sounds childish but as far as I’m concerned it’s a very legitimate argument. It’s basically the simplified version of why I have gone vegetarian multiple times throughout life. (I have gone back and forth only because of convenience – or a lack of it.)

My family has had numerous cats, dogs, birds, fish, tortoises, and I think even a lizard or two since I was a youngling, and I’ve learned from them how to love animals and the miracle of life in general. It seems unjustifiable to send a pig to slaughter just for a tasty meal knowing that I would never do the same to a dog. At some point I decided their really is no difference between the two types of animals, and if there is, I don’t feel I should have the right to arbitrarily decide who gets to live and who is fated to die.

There’s also my 潔癖 about dead things. It’s basically just creepy to eat dead animal skin and muscle to me. My difficulty with it was only exacerbated by the way people in this part of the world tend to eat the animal whole (think roasted chicken with the head attached), making it totally impossible to pretend that it was never a cute animal with its own personality.

To go a little hippie here, I have come to recognize that I look at the world with the eyes of a human being, and I process what I see with a human brain. From my perspective, the life of a human is infinitely more valuable than the life of a cow; but from an objective standpoint, both are living creatures, and it is equally amazing that both have formed from the billions of years of cosmic movements to be shaped into two living, breathing, feeling creatures. Death comes easily and naturally (almost all of the known universe is dead by our definition), but life is rare, and in that rarity is beauty.

(I am aware of the somewhat contradictory nature of eating dead vegetables, which I have not yet resolved entirely on a personal level, but at least I can be pretty certain that produce has no feelings.)

Meat is tasty. I like it.

My family has had numerous cats, dogs, birds, fish, tortoises, and I think even a lizard or two …[/quote]
:lick: :lick: :lick:

[quote=“Nuit”]I just have principles. Plonk a pig and a sharp blade in front of me, and I wouldn’t be able to slaughter it in a million years. I’d far rather give him a name, a basket and warm blanket for the night. So given that I’m so useless at blood-letting, why should I allow others to do the nasty job for me?

I’ve made this same argument. If I couldn’t kill the darn thing myself (I don’t even kill spiders) what business do I have eating it?

I have to add that, in a life or death situation, I would kill the pig and I would eat it. If it’s the pig or me (or another human being) I choose me (or the other human being). So in that sense I do value human life over animal life.
But I don’t necessarily value fleeting human enjoyment over animal life. Especially if that fleeting human enjoyment also leads to obesity and other health problems (both from the animal fats and the plethora of chemicals they pump into the animals). Meat’s not even GOOD for humans! I’d imagine that vegetarians (those that have access to an otherwise varied diet) are healthier than meat-eaters. In fact I’m pretty sure there’s been research to that effect- although it could be due to other lifestyle choices that tend to co-occur with vegetarianism.

Then you look at the environmental ruin brought about by meat production, and the disparity between the meat-eating wealthy and the starving ass poor (if you put the resources that go into producing meat into producing veg for everyone, no one would starve- although I guess if I’m going to use this argument I should be donating the money I save by not eating meat to charity)— considering all that shit, I think it’s meat-eaters who have to explain their choice, not vegetarians.

But Finley made a good point in another post- my vegetarianism has very little net effect on any of those situations (except for my own healthy) so why bother?

For me it’s similar to trying to explain why I left the religion of my childhood. I have all sorts of logical reasons, but when it came down to it, the real reason I left (and the reason I don’t eat meat) is that it just felt wrong to me. You can’t explain or deny a wrong feeling.
It’s just Yuck. Dead flesh in my mouth. No thanks.

Because it’s a pain in the arse to figure out getting all nutrients you need and not eating processed vegetarian crap like faked anything (fish, meat …)
I try to eat not ot much meat but still a balanced diet … men has always been a hunter, fisher, gatherer … vegetarianism is invented by animal lovers that didn’t like the way cows, pigs, chickens are slaughtered and kept … fine with me, but I still eat some if I crave it or have no other choice except from a crappy salad … Eventhough Taiwan has lots of vegetarian places I wouldn’t eat there all the time, knowing Taiwan’s way of handling foodstuff. Finding sustainable caught fish is also a pain and lied about. Aquaculture fish has lots of crap in it, are there really other choices?

I eat meat because it tastes good and is full of the stuff that makes up me, so it’s good for me. Meat tastes good because we’ve evolved to eat it. If we’d evolved to eat spinach, meat would taste like crap.

I can and have killed my own animals to eat. Well, not my pets, but anonymous animals I’ve bought from markets (pigs, chickens, ducks) or hunted (kangaroo, rabbit, boar, and of course all kinds of fish with a spear or a line). Wild oysters are great too: that’s hunting when you think about it. Remember: don’t eat your friends, just strangers.

I would say that even if you can’t do that, you don’t have to become a vegetarian either: civilisation has arisen from a division of labour, so there’s really no need for anyone to feel guilty if they didn’t personally slaughter the lamb.

I eat far less carbs than I used to, and more meat, veg and fruit. No cakes or sugar. I’m fifty and fitter, stronger, and healthier than I was at 30. Oh, and fat. Fat is also good for you. Eskimos live to a good age with few heart problems eating just meat and fat, so that’s pretty good support for the evils of sugar and cereals. And please don’t go on about the benefits of soy protein: urgh. Think of the Amazon, please.

I decided that if I ate meat, I was on the same level as the butcher; so when the time came and I was faced with that situation, I did it.

Of course, the experience has made me much more respectful of the meat.

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I’m not an Eskimo, I’m a Scot, ethnically. That shit fucks us up. The quarter English is from Manchester where we also have a really high rate of premature death from heart disease. It doesn’t all come from smoking and drinking.

The same people who sniff at my vegan eating also judge me when I put on weight from eating bad carbs, dairy and animal fats. Is it so strange to accept that different people thrive on different types of food? My people evolved to lay down fat over the winter from root veggies and animal fats and proteins, so that we could farm at temperatures below zero with six hours sunlight a day. However, we don’t live that life: we sit on our arses all day to work now. ‘Natural’ doesn’t really cut it.

No need to make a big deal about yours or anybody else’s choices. Eat what you like and what makes you healthy and happy, and mind your own business.

I’m a meat eater and love the taste. The smell of BBQ or a roast, prepared with time and effort with good seasonings and veggies on the side. I also have like others, killed, skinned and gutted animals.

I will say it does leave a lasting impression, for me anyway. No one goes out of their way to kill an animal and even when its done for reasons of compassion might be something you think about years later. I wouldn’t blame someone who wanted to just pick up a styrofoam shrink wrapped package from the supermarket without getting too close to the actual killing. In fact, and I may get some criticism for sharing, but one time I killed a lamb out of mercy sticks with me the most. I was helping the farmer douse the lambs, and there was this one, very young, with a completely twisted and broken neck. Obviously wasn’t going to survive, and probably in a lot of pain. So after talking to the farmer, put it on the ground and chopped its head off with an axe. The body then jumped up and ran away, while the head watched its headless body running around in front of it, with blood spurting out of its neck in bursts like a Quentin Tarantino movie, it then opened its mouth to go “baaaa”, but of course no sound came out.

Mmmm, perhaps a bit morbid to be sharing with vegetarians. On the plus side, if your a female, you are unlikely to be sent to the slaughterhouse. Once a year, for example, the sheep will meet the noisy shearers, but other than that, they have a farmer run around providing food, water, taking care you don’t get sick and so on. If your a male however, your flat out of luck, then the most use will be on my plate with a bowl of mint sauce.

Great response guys. I notice the decision for most people rests simply on whether they like meat or not, and that’s as a good a reason as any. I’m also intrigued to note that a lot of people have thought deeply about this issue. I originally assumed people mainly just eat whatever’s put in front of them, or what they grew up with.

I’ve tried to write a proper response twice now and been thwarted by a crashing PC, so I’ll try again tomorrow (and explain why I asked). But thanks everyone for the input. And thank you, Mick, for that lovely mental image just before bedtime. :astonished: