Do you swell outside and cringe inside when someone says they are a vegetarian? Do you gloat with glee over your Christmas turkey, ham or prime rib roast? Do you find it necessary to emphasize how much you love your meat when someone says: “I’m a vegetarian”?
As a vegetarian I have observed all these attitudes when telling people I don’t eat meat. I sometimes feel as if they are trying to make me feel guilty for not eating the same food they do. They want so much to impress upon me their right to eat dead animals, they construct an impenetrable wall of armour as they delightedly drool about their favorite meat dish. I feel attacked and pushed away and all I said was: “I’m a vegetarian.”
Am I an ultra-sensitive vegetarian, or are they over-compensating because they feel threatened? If they do feel threatened, why do they feel my being a vegetarian is threatening? Perhaps signs like the one pictured here send out a message that vegetarians think they are better than omnivores? Or do some really feel guilty about the gluttonous amount of meat they eat? If you are among those you can thank me for being vegetarian. Leaves more meat for you!
I’m not an animal-rights activist. I don’t lecture people about eating meat – I figure there are plenty of people and organisations – like those who offer the picture of meat at the lead of this blog post (click the link to learn more) who know much more about health and meat-eating, and the meat industry, and who are very capable of giving out information. That’s not my job. I just don’t eat meat.
…and yet…I do feel my choice not to eat dead animals sometimes causes social division. Especially at holiday time.
If not as a protest against the meat industry’s abhorrent treatment of animals raised for slaughter, then why on earth deny myself all that wonderful, tasty, juicy flesh? Read that story here: Cif Readers on Vegetarianism
And do read Jim Mullen: Get ready for the vegetarian wars (goerie.com) It’s a good giggle.
- Vegetarian Debate from The Vegetarian Myth’s Point of View (herculodge.typepad.com)
- Vegetarianism Can Save the Middle East (greenprophet.com)
- Get the most out of vegetarian diet (utsandiego.com)
- Pescetarians, vegetarians, vegans, and organic diets -clearing up the confusion. (mericandreamer.com)
- The 7 Things I’ve Noticed Most Since Going Vegetarian! (rohan7things.wordpress.com)
Really good post! I too dislike how loaded the choice to be vegetarian is. It would great if one could simply say “I’m a vegetarian” and hear back “Oh ok”. But every time I tell a meat eater that I don’t eat meat it involves a whole conversation about why I chose vegetarianism. I have a template conversation ready with answers to the standard questions but it’s boring and repetitive.
I’m not an animal rights campaigner either, nor am I evangelical, I think people should eat what they like based on their tastes, their beliefs and what works best for their metabolism. It would be nice if that kind of attitude was extended to those who chose not to eat meat.
I guess a certain type of people generally feel threatened by those who do things differently whether it is sexual orientation, alternative political or religious views or indeed diet.
Good post, thanks for sharing 🙂
Thoughtful comment Rohan. Yes indeed – people are quite befuddled when encountering someone who doesn’t fit the same molde. How do we deal with that so as to create successful relationships, and community?
I guess it all comes down to tolerance. We don’t need to agree with what others do but we must respect their choice to do it wherever it does not infringe on the rights of others. Treat others as you would have other treat you. It’s a pity how many people don’t seem to grasp this concept.
Ah well, all you can do is be an example of live and let live, you cannot be implicated if someone else decides to be a jerk haha 🙂
Tolerance comes from broader experience – I think. I was reading the other day about how broader experience and open mindedness, and how they feed creativity. here’s a link: http://99u.com/tips/7269/Picasso-Kepler-and-the-Benefits-of-Being-an-Expert-Generalist
I didn’t find Jim Mullen funny at all. Probably because I switched off to that sort of disrespect when I got it from my parents so many years ago.
Got bored with the Keith one. Nothing new there and not remotely academic at all.
Green prophet was interesting, as was UT news (although nothing new).
The pescy one was fairly basic. As was Rohan’s but interesting I guess.
There are so many things to cover regarding a vegetarian or vegan diet. Cost, environmental issues, animal cruelty, poverty, world food shortages, heatlh – the list is endless.
The Guardian panel readers stories (yours included) was probably the best read.
I’m not an activist either. I know people quickly switch off to ~ another boring vegetarian post. So I only write about it from time to time.
Ironically most of my readers are not veg and still comment 😀
The Guardian panel had an editor, so it should be more interesting – one would hope! As for ‘so many things to cover’ – hard to do in under 500 words (the suggested max number of words for blog posts). I guess that’s why we are supposed to clearly define and focus our blogs – something I haven’t done. RE: non-vegetarians commenting: perhaps if they are moving towards veggie diet they read and comment?