It's not that I'm against eating animals. Rather, I oppose the inhumane way in which they're raised. It's the same reason I won't eat home-schooled children.
I'm a vegetarian. Vegetarian is a misleading word, though. Forgoing meat does not, by definition, mean eating vegetables. I'm really more of a Doritorian. Especially cool ranch flavored.
There has been a lot written about vegetarianism. So far, I've avoided the topic because I'm not sure I have any new perspective to add. But then I realized, "Hey, it's 2016 America; I write for the same reason that everyone does everything now- to draw attention to myself.
Meat eaters argue that it's our "biological instinct" to eat meat. Well, to those people who live in caves and hunt down wooly mammoths with a spear, you have a point. However, it's kind of a stretch to include factory-processed Chicken McNuggets and "biological instinct" in the same sentence.
Have you tried the Slim Jim-flavored Snapple? It's made from the worst stuff on earth.
By "biological instinct," you mean survival. It's our human nature to survive. Neanderthals didn't have the pasta salad option. Luckily, life is better now. We don't have to eat meat and we wear pants.
Sharks are naturally inclined to eat meat. Sharks have very sharp teeth. Tigers are naturally inclined to eat meat. Tigers have very sharp teeth. Human beings don't have sharp teeth. We have evolved. Our bodies are not designed to be carnivorous. That's why, to eat meat, we have to use sharp forks and knives and, in the case of hot dogs, nuclear Geiger counters.
We don't have a biological instinct to eat meat. And, sure, that's not necessarily a reason to avoid meat. But just be honest about it. You don't eat meat for biological reasons; you eat meat because it tastes good. I get it. Hell, I'd eat this computer keyboard I'm typing on if it tasted even remotely like a Snickers bar.
Meat tastes good. Trying to convince someone with a juicy steak on their plate that meat doesn't taste good is like trying to convince someone watching 2 Broke Girls that 2 Broke Girls doesn't suck.
I miss my regular meat intake. And, to be honest, it's not filet mignon I crave. No, I miss the garbage meat: the extra-crispy fried chicken, the greasy burgers, the baseball stadium hot dogs. Fast food and fast food-like-substances taste so freakin' good. Seriously. I have a biological hunger for chemical preservatives and rat.
Nevertheless, I stand by my principles. And I stick with vegetarianism... more or less. It's not easy being a vegetarian when you love Buffalo wings. Oh, I still cheat once or twice a year. We vegetarian wannabes do that occasionally. And we feel terribly guilty about it. And we apologize profusely and we rationalize our behavior to our tablemates... who absolutely, positively don't give a shit. When vegetarians eat meat, it's sort of like how Coldplay must feel when they come out with a new album; you think people will care, but they don't.
People who eat meat think that vegetarians talk about their vegetarianism too much. And vegetarians do talk about their vegetarianism too much. And, yes, some vegetarians are condescending jerks, trying to shame the people around them into eliminating meat from their diet. But that's not why most vegetarians bring up their eating habits so often. Rather, I think it's more of a subconscious insecurity defense mechanism- a constant need to avoid the awkwardness of where and what you can eat by reminding the group that, no, you can't eat the party pizza if it's topped with pepperoni. Actually, it's easy to recognize the difference between the self-righteous hypocrites and decent people concerned about food issues; the decent people aren't wearing man-buns.
Wait- people do care about Coldplay!? Seriously? Okay, then, maybe it's just me.
People don't like vegetarians. I don't think a vegetarian could be elected President of the United States. You can lie to Americans about what you're doing with their money. That's fine. But if the public finds out you had tofu for lunch, you're considered untrustworthy.
Former President Bill Clinton is a vegan now. And people say, "It's great that he's taking his health seriously." But if Clinton didn't eat meat during his Presidential campaign, he would've been called "un-American."
Here's a true story. A few years ago, I was dating a nice woman. We were of different religions. We lived a far, inconvenient distance from each other. There was a noticeable gap in our ages. And we had many other differences. Her parents didn't care about any of that stuff, though. But when they found out I was a vegetarian, they didn't like me. They asked, "What's wrong with him?" But you've lost interest in my point. Now you just want to know more about the age-gap.
Animals suffer terribly during their torturous factory-farming lives. This is not out of necessity, but of corporate greed. There was a time when cows and chickens and pigs lived in relative happiness, frolicking carefree, and then the last few minutes of their lives were kind of horrible. Sort of like 1960s rock stars. I'm okay with that. But big companies are able to squeeze out a few more dollars of profit by forcing living, sentient creatures to spend all their time being poked and prodded in nightmarish conditions. Sort of like the Kardashians. And I'm not okay with the Kardashians. Are you?
Most meat eaters are good people. They enjoy their carnivorous world- but would prefer less suffering. I believe most people would be willing to pay a little more for their food knowing their food wasn't crushed to death in an overcrowded cage.
McDonald's should offer a dollar twenty menu. Yeah, the food is twenty cents more. But now the world is a better place, with less misery.
Oh, I suppose a small percentage of people don't care at all about animal welfare. These are the people who literally brag about eating meat. I've noticed a direct correlation between the guys who boast about their lack of compassion for animals and the guys who name their dicks. But don't take my word for it; just browse Tinder.
It's not necessary to wear a T-shirt telling the world you like eating tasty animals. It might be true. But it's something personal that doesn't need to be shared... and it's not funny. It's like wearing a shirt that says "I spent the morning masturbating." That's fine. But we don't need to know. Okay- bad example; that's sort of funny.
There are two common questions asked of vegetarians.
1. If you care about animals so much, why aren't you a vegan?
The short answer: I can't stop eating Reese's peanut butter cups. Oh, and those Cadbury creme eggs are so good.
Without dairy, I don't have much left to eat. I'd be pretty cranky on a diet of just fruits, vegetables, and spaghetti But lately I've been trying to limit, at least somewhat, my intake of milk and cheese and... are there animal products in Xanax?
But the laws of supply & demand are on our side. More and more people are disgusted with modern meat-producing techniques. Hence, companies are producing better-tasting veggie options. And, with money as motivation, anything can be made to taste good. I mean, if you bite into a cow's butt, it doesn't taste like beef jerky. There's a lot that goes into the production. If McDonald's thought it could make a profit from veganism, then two years from now McDonald's will be offering the most amazing, mouthwatering barbeque-flavored McTofu sandwich that Burger King will counter with its succulent, kid-friendly nutritional yeast wrap.
One day, pouncing on the economic opportunities, restaurants and food companies will offer a plethora of great-tasting vegan pizza and burgers and candy. And when that happens, I'm there.
Meanwhile, vegetarian foods are already there. Maybe the meatless hot dogs still have some work to do. But if you haven't tried a veggie burger in a while, you're in for a pleasant surprise. They've gotten good. And, I say this with no exaggeration, and I have absolutely no stake in the company, but the Sedona black bean burger at TGI Fridays is to die for.
2. Where do you get your protein?
The short answer: Do you really care where I get my protein?
The protein question tends to be asked with judgment, by people who are angry at vegetarians for... well, for being vegetarians. These people are passive-aggressitarians. It's a lifestyle choice, I suppose.
But for those people considering the vegetarian lifestyle, who are sincerely curious where we get our protein... cheese, yogurt, nuts, protein shakes, and broccoli are just a few of the many foods that'll keep you going until afternoon vodka time. You'll probably survive.
Some people eat only what they personally kill. I'm not much of a hunter. Last week, I shot the Fruity Pebbles cereal I had for breakfast this morning. And I still can't stop thinking about all those little baby pebbles now forced to survive in the woods without their mother. I named one of the pebbles Bambi.
Nevertheless, hunting is much more humane- and much more "natural"- than factory farming. But even if you don't care about other living creatures', other earthlings', emotional and physical pain and suffering, I would urge anyone to visit a factory where animals are kept for slaughter: the filth, the stench, etc. And then watch the killing process itself. It's not quick. And it's not clean. And then think to yourself, "I'm putting that in my mouth?" Gross.