Meat is murder!

Yes, I know.

And I’m comfortable with that.

I saw a lovely post on Tigers and Strawberries yesterday that summed up the issue of being an “ethical omnivore” quite nicely. The author’s daughter, by killing and preparing her own meat, really got a sense of where her food came from. The experience wasn’t ghoulish or terrible, said the daughter; they made sure the animal–a calf–didn’t suffer.

And even as I read it, I thought good lord, wait ’til the PETA people see this. In my time I’ve encountered some angry, angry vegetarians, people who remind me more of Jerry Falwell’s hatred of dissent than Buddha’s love of all creatures. I dread talking to these people, folks who can’t accept or even understand the eating of meat and who think that because I eat everything from beef to flounder I must either be uninformed about how it gets to my plate or, alternately, a terrible person.

“Meat is murder!” They chant. Yes, it is. I’m terminating the life of another living thing so I can eat it. When they see this knowledge doesn’t provoke wide-eyed shock, self-loathing, and a conversion on the spot, they follow it up with a diatribe about how I must not care about the pain animals suffer. Not so–I loathe factory farming and think every animal should live a comfortable life prior to its demise. But I won’t feel sad for whatever majestic creature fell to feed me; if anything, I’ll feel grateful. It died so that I might live.

I’ll continue eating meat ’til the day I die, and that’s okay. I’m not stupid, I’m not just uninformed, I’m not a craven, evil ghoul who doesn’t care about the plight of animals or who despises them. I’m a guy who likes meat, plain and simple. I find it delicious, nutritious, and necessary.

As a final note, I hold no ill will towards vegetarians/vegans and think they make some real damn good food. Similarly PETA is an organization that has done considerable good in the field of animal rights. But those of ‘em who hate meat eaters, think they’re stupid, think they’re evil–criminey, zip it up already.

  • melissa

    sorry I’m used to comments at bottom. dur. I meant to say “nicely put!” on this one. :)

  • gilli

    What an interesting post. Thanks for the direction to Tigers and Strawberries thought the whole story of Morganna and the Meat fascinating.

  • Crabby McSlacker

    I’m a bit of a hypocrite, since if i had to kill my own meat I’d be a vegetarian. But I don’t so I”m not.

    On the other hand, I couldn’t agree more about factory farming and cruelty to animals. I don’t think it’s immoral to raise an animal and kill it humanely for food. But I do think it’s unethical to cause an animal suffering. I don’t think it should be a consumer choice whether to pay less and be cruel; I think it’s one of those few occasions when government should get off its ass and take charge and require civilized treatment of all farm animals. If it costs more, too bad, that’s what it “really” costs to raise an animal.

  • Chip Wilson

    When animals stop eating other animals and lions ask the deer how they are feeling before they eat them i’ll consider putting my A1 sauce in retirement

    Also, in many cases humans eating animals goes a long way in keeping animal populations in check and keeping the environment healthy…the fact that we are destroying it in other ways is besides the point

    To the PETA fans out there i really must suggest you watch a crocodile eat a water buffalo in super slow mo provided by the animal planet and their amazing series Planet Earth.

  • SecretNatasha

    Chip Wilson–hey, here I am, in the (virtual) flesh, a vegetarian of 12 years who watches Planet Earth regularly. I fail to see how a crocodile eating a water buffalo (or a great white shark eating a seal, or a pack of starving lions taking down an elephant) has anything to do with me.

    One of the things I liked about Barbara’s post was how she didn’t make it a “vegetarian vs. omnivore” issue, but instead just framed it as, “this is the type of thing we need to do, and be comfortable doing, as ethical omnivores.”

    And that’s all I’m going to say about that.

  • Jim

    Quite well spotted, Natasha. I really don’t want to provoke any kind of veggies vs. meat debate–I’m more of an I’m Okay, You’re Okay kind of guy–but I can’t say the same for my commenters.

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