In 1993 I was first introduced to vegetarianism in Olympia, Washington en route to Maui, Hawaii. It took another 7 years before fully committing to it with only two relapses in between. Both times I switched back to being an omnivore, I was in athlete mode and believed a switch back to include meat would increase my performance. In both cases it did.
In retrospect I don’t credit the meat, I credit the replacement in large quantities nutrient stores that were highly depleted and in need of a fix. In other words, I may have been a vegetarian but I was clearly not a healthy one. Now that I am a plant-based vegetarian I can feel the clean energy benefits of my dietary choice.
Now I want to be clear. I try my best to be as ethical and the best version of me as possible granted I fail quite often. When it comes to ethics and diet, I have and always will be on the fence regardless of my dietary choices.
Over the course of my travels I have been hosted by some of the most generous souls I have ever met. Ironically, they have been more often than not, poor. When invited into the home of someone else, especially someone not as educated or not as rich, I have found myself thinking it is more ethical to eat what is served than to not. In many cases these people have opened their homes to me and have offered me as their guest their idea of the best meal to serve a guest. They see it as a sign of respect and so do I. I think those that don’t are too removed from the collective human condition and the ability to decipher what is right and wrong.
I am also a dog owner which means I believe in a symbiotic relationship between man and animal. In the future I hope to live on my own land. I will have chickens to eat the bugs and goats or sheep to mow the lawn. What will I do when my animals die? Certainly give them to someone who eats animal flesh. I will not create an animal cemetery. Not my style for human or any other creature. Dead is dead.
What is weird me to me is how many people view and think about what they eat. This was made clear to me in my first year of teaching when most of my students were surprised to learn that hamburgers were made of cows and nuggets were made of chicken. In this moment it was clear to me that people are not connected and interested in what they eat.
So my point is this, if you are willing to raise it, slaughter it and then eat it, go for it. But if you think that there is an ethical way of doing this save owning a farm and being the nurturer and the eater, you are wrong. Conditions like this only exists in fairy tales.
Animals like cows and chickens are no longer viewed as animals to have a symbiotic relationship with. They are now viewed as crops similar to potatoes and cabbages. It is just a fallacy to think otherwise. Kind of like how we viewed cigarettes 100 years ago. Times change and sometimes our views and thinking need to adapt and change to meet the needs of a new time.
I will tell you this, if we do not figure out how to create a world in which we can live symbiotically with each other regardless of diet, religion, sexuality or political belief, society as we know it will shift in a way in which we have more in common with the lamb about to be slaughtered than the mountain goat that is free to roam and climb. Just a thought.
- All works at Observations from the Spectrum written by Dylan Netter
- On? a third point of view – book of Essays
- Marinehippie.com podcast w/ Docstodden.com – dialogue exploring politics and musings of life
- Horizoncoaching.org – English Tutor and Guide