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COLUMN: Why I still eat meat

When it comes to eating animals, I’m a moderate.

I’ve never gone out and shot an animal for the sake of gnawing through its tough, gamey-tasting meat (my Michigan citizenship should be revoked), but I’ve also never turned down a tender, juicy cut of meat from an animal that someone else has killed. Meat is just food to me, like vegetables and Pop Tarts.

A lot of my friends have eschewed meat altogether. I’ve become the insensitive guy who brings BBQ meatballs to the party, while the rest of my friends sit around eating algae on a Ritz Cracker (or whatever vegetarians eat). A lot of them say they don’t judge me for eating meat, but I can’t help but worry they go home and hold candlelight vigils for all the cows and pigs I’ve consumed over the years.

A friend recently explained to me why she gave up meat, and she had some thought-provoking reasons. She also seems like a much better and more caring person than I, but most vegetarians have this advantage over meat eaters.

My friend doesn’t like to eat things that have faces. I’d never really thought about a cow’s face while eating a steak, or a chicken’s face while eating a McNugget, but I can see how she could associate human emotional responses with animal faces. I’d never want to kill and eat something that looked happy.

To me, though, cows, chickens and pigs, among other animals, never seem human enough to convey human emotions. I only tend to personify animals I’d consider as pets, like cats, dogs and hamsters, and I’d never eat any of those animals.

My friend also brought up the massive corporate farms that raise multitudes of steroid-infused animals in cramped and hellish conditions for the sake of mass human consumption. Raising animals in such an environment is inhumane, and I can understand avoiding companies that use those methods.

However, I look at factory farms as more of a symptom of our culture’s hyperconsumerism than a reason to stop eating meat. Even if I boycott KFC, millions more will still eat there, unless some sort of governmental intervention occurs. There are also millions of small farmers across America who raise animals in humane conditions, and I try to delude myself into thinking I always eat meat from those farms.

I’m willing to live in my world of cognitive dissonance. I know I’m eating less intelligent life forms, perhaps even ones with some form of sentience, but I keep eating meat, since animals have never asked me to stop eating them.

But I respect my friends who choose to subsist on shrubbery or nuts and berries. Maybe, in the future, they’ll convince a superior alien species not to eat humans.

4 Comments

  1. Dave McMahon says:

    I’m still waiting for you to provide a real reason as to why you still eat meat. I assumed from the headline that you would explain sensible reasons.

    Apparently, the only main reason you eat meat is because you want to. You could have said that in the first sentence. You want to eat meat and you don’t care about the torture, misery, and killing of other living creatures. At least have the guts to be blunt and honest about it.

    Your other phony reasons are ridiculous.

    Whether or not you are intelligent enough to realize that animals can be happy, they can be. They also feel pain, get stressed, mourn the deaths of other animals, and fear death. That you distinguish cats, dogs, and hamsters from cows and pigs is insanely ignorant. Humans are the ones who chose which animals to make pets. Pigs could just have easily been the picked to become the standard pet – and in some cases, they are pets.

    If you think factory farming is inhumane, as you claim, then your decision to continue supporting places like KFC just because millions of other people will do it anyway is embarrassing. I am embarrassed for you. So sadly hypocritical. There are millions of people who rape, murder, steal, and commit other crimes. Should we not bother making any of them stop doing that since millions of others will just keep doing it anyway? It’s gutless to know something is wrong, and not only sit back and do nothing about it, but actually go out of your way to support it.

    You’re only fooling yourself if you think animals have never asked you to stop eating them. Go ahead and visit any factory farm, slaughterhouse or other place where animals are killed and you’ll quickly hear their cries. Just because they don’t speak English doesn’t mean they aren’t speaking.

    If it was actually acceptable and made sense to kill and eat “less intelligent life forms,” as you phrase it, you would likely be a main course at many dinner tables tonight.

    Have a nice day!

  2. Jeremy your article is a ramble of the fact that you are a insensitive human being. Your facts are so misconstrued. You think just because humans are “smarter” than the animals eaten is why we can eat them, well then you my friend are ignorant. Oh by the way…do your research on what us vegetarians really eat. Your a fool!

  3. You are the example of Discrimination. You think you are better so you can choose their destiny? Hope you understand some day… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZzvK5uLu7F0
    I’m angry ok, but I still understand that you are just blind. Kisses from Argentina

  4. fairandbalanced says:

    apparently some of these veggie eaters stumbled upon a rotten turnip while reading your enertaining and non-combative column… give this guy a break… if it hadn’t been for our ancestors eating animals LOWER on the food chain our brains would have never deveopled to thier current state, instead we would likely still be sitting in a warm climate and slaughtering innocent plants and insects and crushing thier tiny feelings as well

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