Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I am a vegetarian. That means I avoid eating meat and products that are made with animals. I do it for several reasons:

1) Empathy. Humans are animals, and share many of the emotional systems that guide our actions. An animal will shy away from pain, and seek food and pleasure, as would most humans. If you value your life, you can bet that the animal does as well. Sure, sometimes critters need to eat each other to survive. And I'm sure modern man, what with his supermarkets and global food trade, can find a satisfying meal in something other than animal flesh. In this case its not a matter of survival, its a matter of taste.

Maybe one day aliens will come to earth and hunt their favourite food: humans. The aliens are obviously technologically advanced, far beyond the need to hunt down the man-critters for sustenance. They know this, but choose to do it anyway because... well, you know, its a matter of taste.

2) Efficiency. Trophic levels represent energy stored in biomass. 100 pounds of grass biomass can sustain about 10 pounds of field mice. 10 pounds of field mice biomass can sustain about 1 pound of predatory owl. Going from one level to another represents the loss of 90% of the energy stored within the biomass. It would take 100 pounds of grass to feed 10 pounds of cow, and 1 pound of cow to feed one human. There are about 300 million people in America right now. Let's say half of them eat beef on a weekly basis. 150,000,000 * 10 * 100 = 150,000,000,000 pounds of grass - per week. That's a lot of grass. If that were marijuana, you could throw the biggest worldwide smoke-out. Imagine all that land that must be used to grow that grass, all the water and energy that went into growing it, fertilizing it, keeping it free of pests, and transporting it to those wonderfully efficient high-density feedlots. Most of the time its not grass, its something else. Sometimes pieces of processed cow, gathered off the slaughterhouse floor.

I am not suggesting that humans can and should eat grass. I'm merely pointing out that we are putting a lot of energy and resources into producing something that is horribly inefficient, and all for a matter of taste.

3) Environmental impact. So you're a progressive, earth-conscious schmuck who thinks its a bad thing that the rainforests are being cut down at an alarming rate. You feel all but powerless to stop it. Ground beef served in fast food restaurants can contain parts from up to 100 cows. 100 different cows had to be fed in pastures that were once lush rainforests. So, Mr. Earth-friendly, are you going to eat fast food burgers any more? Will you take a look at the effects of tons of cow and other animal manure in local ecosystems? Will you examine the impact meat-farms have on the water supply? Will you consider that maybe there's a far less destructive way to consume the nutrients you need?

4) Health. Prions are bad proteins that can remain in the fat cells and cause all sorts of health problems. Because they remain in fat, when one critter eats another that has prions, that organism gets those prions. When that critter is eaten, the predator gets the prions that were in both critters. Mad cow disease anyone? How about America's nation-wide obesity and heart disease problems? I could go on, but really, the health reasons speak for themselves, and I consider it to be one of the more selfish reasons.

So, you're a meat-eater and think that empathy is for girly men. Fine, I'm a girly man.

So, you're a energy-wasting American and don't give a shit about efficiency. Do you give a shit about paying $3 a gallon for gas? $7? $9? How high must the price get before you do care?

So, you're an earth-hating bastard and don't care what happens to the rainforests so long as you get your meat. Do you care that your poor cancer-ridden grandmother is being denied a possible cure? Do you care that your grandchildren will live on a planet bereft of many of the climate-controlling, homeostasis-protecting air filtering mechanisms?

So, you're a fatass with clogged arteries and are proud of your physical condition. Please hurry up and die of a heart attack. Just don't make us pay for medical bills to keep your gluttonous ass alive.

Okay, I'm done now.


Blogger SH said...

I am happy to see a fellow vegetarian in the blogosphere. The main reason I stopped consuming animal products was that I could not morally justify it anymore. It took me a long time to get to that point but one day I just could not do it anymore. I agree with other points and reasons you brought up as well.

10 August, 2006 20:57  

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