No Meat

Rule:  No Meat.

Rule in practice: Don’t eat meat.

Local Motivation: I like animals. They’re cute and funny and make me feel good.  They are obviously capable of feeling pain and presumably enjoy and value their own lives in some way approximating the way I do mine.  I don’t want to kill them with my own two hands, and nor would I ask anyone to do my dirty work for me.

Global Motivation:  Climate change, deforestation, food inequality and insecurity, enormous waste of resources in a time when many are struggling with scarcity.

Key Tools:  No tools necessary for this one; I hope my food posts are convincing evidence that nice vegetarian cuisine is available everywhere I’ve traveled so far.  It’s not a bad idea to carry a tub of peanuts or raisins around just in case, but I hardly ever have to dip into it.

Key Idea:   I’m exercising compassion with every bite!  This is my thrice (or more)-a-day opportunity to avoid doing something that I know will cause suffering.  I’m powerless to stop a lot of the ugly stuff in the world, but in at least this one instance the solution is obvious – and not all that difficult.

Bonuses: Nicer bowel movements; increased compassion in general and greater interest in how I can contribute to other global issues; lower chance of food-borne illness (especially relevant while on the road); numerous other health benefits; higher chances that some day I’ll grow all my own stuff.

Exceptions:  I do eat meat when hosts prepare it for me before I get the chance to tell them that I’m vegetarian, or when I feel like refusing their hospitality would be the wrong thing to do.  I also don’t mind going Freegan on friends’ leftovers.

Unavoidables:  It must be admitted that vegetarianism is neither the only way to protect animals, nor a cure for all the world’s ills.  Modern, industrialized grain and vegetable agriculture also take their toll on animals, both by directly destroying their habitats and by contributing to climate change worldwide (though it should be pointed out that most corn and soybeans grown in the west go to feed animals, not people).  Thus, I also eat local (easy), seasonal (pretty easy) and organic (definitely not easy) when it’s possible, and try to cultivate a habit of eating whole and minimally processed foods.

References:

  • Animal Liberation by Peter Singer. A thorough philosophical account of why animals deserve moral consideration.
  • Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer. A personal account of one man’s transition to vegetarianism.
  • The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan. The book responsible not only for my conversion to vegetarianism, but for my interest in agricultural systems as a whole.
  • The Vegetarian Myth by Lierre Keith.  Wanna save the world?  Don’t go vegetarian.  Go anti-industrial agriculture.
  • Earthlings.  A shocker-style documentary known far and wide for forcing people to confront humanity’s propensity towards animal cruelty.
  • Dirt! The Movie.  A very moving documentary about that stuff beneath our feet that makes life up here possible.
  • Food, Inc. and Fresh. The first is about some of the shortcomings of industrialized food systems.  The second is about some alternative agriculture pioneers helping to fix things.
  • Our Daily Bread. A silent tour of modern food processing facilities.  Sometimes gross, occasionally creepy,  generally amazing.

 

 

 

 

One Response to No Meat

  1. Anonymous says:

    great. like you 🙂

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