Sunday, February 24, 2008

you don't eat meat OR dairy?!

Yesterday Annalise and I spent a day with some people that we hadn't been in touch with for a while, and who didn't know about our vegan thing.

Surprisingly, I don't actually get the "why are you vegan" question very often. It came up several times yesterday though, and I realized that it has become such a hard question to answer because vegans know that there are several extremely good reasons to give up animal products, and really, there aren't any good reasons to eat animal products. So, when we hear "why don't you eat meat" our internal and unspoken reaction is something like "Holy S%*T! Why the F&*K would I?!!?"

I find it hard to think of why people do eat meat, beyond the fact that they grew up doing it, have never in their lives given it a moment's thought, and just continue to do what they've always done.

I mean, imagine this scenario - we are able to wipe the slate clean, and sit every person in North America down at a decision making table, and say "Here is a list of reasons to eat meat, and this page here is a list of reasons to go vegan. Think it over a little while and see which you'd rather do."

Here is what the two lists would look like:

To eat meat

  • You might eventually start to like the taste of it

To go vegan

  • It's healthier for you - especially reducing risk of diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and cancer.

  • It's better for the environment - limiting both pollution and climate change (the rule of thumb being that you can reduce your carbon footprint more by giving up meat than by giving up your car)

  • You reduce the amount of your hard-earned money that goes into the pockets of some seriously corrupt corporations

  • You contribute far less to world starvation

  • You stop funding an industry that is both a) increasing the risk of diseases like avian flu and mad cow while also b) decreasing the ability of our anti-biotics to fight these diseases

  • Looming large behind the issue of whether or not it's ethical to eat animals, you fall on the right side of the debate about whether or not it's ethical to torture animals

Hmm, maybe I'll start refusing to answer the "why don't you eat meat?" question in social situations, and just have business cards made up with a link to this post. Then I could hand people the card and say "Let's not talk about this now, but if you're really interested, read this post, and look through my blog sometime."

If you want a good overall summary of this stuff, click here, or watch this.


Nicole said...

LOve the list!

Veg*Triathlete said...

Great post! I've been thinking about this exact same thing and it came down to the same list basically when explaining why people DO consume animal products. Aside from the misinformation some people accept about the nutritional necessity of it, I came up with tradition/culture, convenience, and pleasure. Not compelling reasons when you know what we know.

Maybe you could put a link in your sidebar to this post so more people will see it over time?

VeganHeartDoc said...

Nice list!

My answer is, "I learned what horrible things the animals go through to become meat and I don't want to be part of that." Then I may joke that meat will keep me in business for a long time, since I'm a cardiologist and meat consumption is linked to heart disease.

god-free morals said...

I think that sustainably sourced food, including some meat, should be the goal (at a global level). It's all about balance.

Health: It's true that the 'Western' meat heavy diet is potentially damaging to one's health, but a vegan who eats too much salt is also damaging their health. Moderation and understanding of one's diet is important.

Environment/industry: Poorly maintained vegetable/cereal crops, as in mass agribusiness, can potentially be just as damaging. Especially if we include pesticides and GM crops.

Taste/culture: People I know who eat meat normally say how bland vegetarian food must be. Although they have the most undeveloped palates imaginable and eat the same meals repeatedly. This is mostly a cultural failing and probably due to them not having "given it a moment's thought."

So, I'd say it's not that everyone needs to be a vegan, but they DO need to be aware of what they are eating and what effect this is having on the wider picture. Most of this comes down to education, or rather, the lack of.

Great blog, best wishes,

Lisa said...

Yup. Couldn't agree with you more!

ps. thanks for visiting my blog

Lisa said...

Yup. Couldn't agree with you more!

ps thanks for visiting my blog

Marija said...

Hi there!!
Great post!!!

Just wanted to let our fellow vegetarians and vegans know that there's a site you can go to to meet other single like-minded individuals. Anyways, check it out:

All the best and keep the posts coming!!!

Anonymous said...

You mention antibiotics which like all drugs are tested on animals. Ignorant. I love how people like yourself and PETA Senior Vice President MaryBeth Sweetland takes such a hypocritical stance on her use of insulin, which was tested on animals:

"I'm an insulin-dependent diabetic. Twice a day I take synthetically manufactured insulin that still contains some animal products -- and I have no qualms about it ... I'm not going to take the chance of killing myself by not taking insulin. I don't see myself as a hypocrite. I need my life to fight for the rights of animals."

Wow, maybe one of you nut jobs that put ideology above biology can get it right just once...I know you won't approve my post because you're a coward, but anyway... LOL @ you.

Tuco said...

Dear Anonymous:

You're wacky.

Anonymous said...

Well that's a nice list. Leaving out the pros of eating meat. It's pretty funny if you ask me.

Tuco said...

the pros of eating meat? Like protein and iron?

There's protein and iron in the veggie diet as well - those cancel each other out, don't they?

Anonymous said...

I would have to disagrees with your assumption that if a blank human was presented with meat and veggies they would probably eat both. Were omnivores by nature we have the jaw structure and the digestive system to eat meat and veggies.