Animal rights

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Ok, so I know I’m not perfect and I know that no one else is. But with so much going on I feel like the world is on an exponential graph (f(x^2)). I digress. As many of you may know, I like to listen to talk radio when I’m driving in my car. It’s much more engaging than most of the commercial music drivel that’s on. Recently on one of the shows a guest to the show was presenting an argument for Animal Rights. (I wish I could remember his name and his book) While to his larger points, I disagree, one thing he said stood out to me. Paraphrased, he mentioned that the amount of grains used to feed animals was massively disproportionate to the amount of nutrition produced by food from those animals (meat).

To sum up my experience, I’m a species-centric person. I believe that human life is more important than animal life. In a life boat situation I have no problem throwing another species or lifeform out of the boat in order to survive. This is the way of nature. There may be some moral conflict in upholding rules governing fair treatment of other humans versus allowing poor treatment of animals for the “betterment” of human society (for food, for medicine, etc.) but in general I’m a much bigger fan of a human that I’m in competition with in the food chain with than another species I’m competing with.

And so, I’m left with this: Is my over-consumption of meat in conflict with my wish of betterment for the human species? My only answer can be yes.

If it takes so much grain to feed the cow that I could be fed and 100 other people be fed I am content with my loaf of bread so that 100 more can survive a day longer. And I say this with all gravity, that I am fully aware that I’m one person, and knowledge that I change little in my personal choices (or even that all my choices align properly to the same moral compass 100% of the time). I do not make this choice to make a change, and yet I do not wish to make this choice to in some way cleanse a guilty conscience. I am not guilty, I am redeemed. I will make this choice out of love and conviction.

On eating meat: After weighing what information I can find (and hopefully have linked on to you), I have decided not to swear off meat to the point of being an inconsolable prick or an ungrateful, ungracious guest (for still, in some cultures the providing and consuming of meat is a great honor for both guest and host). I have decided that the meals I furnish for myself will consider the greater cost of production. And in the case of mass produced meats I cannot find a defense for continuing to partake of their waste.

I started with the hopes of asking for suggestions for my own personal vegetarian manifesto, but found I pretty much knew what I wanted to say. Still, I would welcome comments, suggestions, critiques, and questions so that this manifesto of mine will be practical and yet responsible as well.

In addition to the links in the articles, here are some links I found to read up on before I came to this conclusion.

(also since I’m about to be getting married this is subject to the approval of my S.O.)

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3 Comments so far

  1. s.o. June 30th, 2008 1:43 pm

    I love meat just as much as the next person, but I’ve never been afraid to try new foods and I’ll tell you some of the best foods I’ve ever eaten have contained nothing of the meat kind. I’m also not afraid to stop eating meat. I’ve gone many a month with nary an animal product (except for cheese) passing these lips.

  2. Texas July 9th, 2008 10:50 am

    ok lee, put your money where your mouth is. but seriously, i wish you the best of luck in your vegetarian endeavors. i wouldn’t stress out too much over it right now…i feel like you guys have enough to stress out over as it is. and if you ever need a tempeh rueben (don’t know if i spelled any of that correctly) sandwich to lean on, let me know.
    what about bugs? will you eat bugs?

  3. sarah July 9th, 2008 11:43 am

    maybe not bugs. . .but worms for sure. . .

    tell me how to make sauerkraut please, I’m in the mood.

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