This post is for the vegetarians who eat meat from time to time, for the people who care about human rights and own an iPhone, for the people who want to change the world but don’t know where to start.
Sometimes it sucks to have convictions
Sometimes I wish I hadn’t read about the conditions that factory workers suffer through to make my iPhone. I love my iPhone.
Sometimes I wish I didn’t know about how the majority of meat comes from animals that suffer through barbaric conditions. I love to eat meat.
The truth about empathy and apathy
When I was ten I saw a fish in a market on a table, flopping from side to side. Its head had been hacked, its mouth was gaping and it was thrashing as you might do if you were slowly suffocating. I watched it suffering for a while and with my heart pounding I decided to be a vegetarian.
About 3 years later my haunting image of the fish had waned and I started eating meat again.
Sometimes it’s hard to commit to your values
I love to eat meat… especially seafood, bacon and a good old fashioned roast. I love all kinds of food and meat makes up a big part of it, usually the tastiest part!
I don’t object to eating meat. But I think that animals should live a healthy, happy, cruelty free life and that we kill them in the most humane way possible (in person).
As most of the commercially available meat in this world does not fit my values I choose not to support the industry.
The problem is the awkward situations when someone is cooking for you, or shopping for you or just brings out your lunch on a plate. Do I quiz my host as to whether the meat had a good life? Or whether it’s slaughter was unnecessarily cruel? Only sometimes.
It sucks being the big finger-wagging-tell-tale-pain-in-the-arse whose convictions make everyone feel either guilty or annoyed.
Sometimes I ask, sometimes I decide “not to worry this time”.
That nasty old thing called reality
As an adult I learned about battery hens and switched to free range eggs, then I learned about chicken farming in general and stopped eating chicken.
My expensive local butcher can trace each chop back to a lamb on a farm on which it was allowed to have certain freedoms. At restaurants I only ate seafood.
Then I learned about the horrors of fish farming and the destruction of deep-sea trawling for prawns/shrimp.
We live in a world where the impact of our actions is perfectly masked by the machine of commercialism.
We have no relationship with the cow in our steak, the pig in our bacon, the girl who polishes the screens of our iPhones and the leatherback turtle who drowns in the shrimp net.
All the information is there, but reality is not a pretty picture – usually it is easier not to know.
What is the answer?
For me it is to step out of the shadows and declare that I am passionate about animal welfare and a confused vegetarian, who sometimes eats meat.
I am no longer interested in boycotting meat to feel better about myself. I am interested in joining the conversation for a change in attitudes and behaviour towards animals that I believe is currently is rather shameful on this planet. So… where do I start?
Also I would love to know what every day things don’t fit your values. What do you do about it?
Update: since writing this post we committed and are proper vegetarians, considering the possibility of becoming vegans. Something just switched in my head and it was suddenly easy.