These days I'm experimenting with vegetarianism. It's not a huge stretch for me, because I don't eat much meat as it is, but it's something I've been thinking about for a while. It's been a couple of weeks since I've had meat, and I don't miss it at all.

This all came about when I saw Peter Singer on the Colbert Report. I don't know much about him, and I don't necessarily agree with all his views about animals (I support medical testing on animals, for example, because good comes out of that.), but I think the guy's got a point. Eating animals causes suffering and ugliness and death, and that's a bad thing. I wouldn't kill a chicken myself. I'd talk to it and invite it to hang around in my back yard. So why do I continue to eat chickens, just because modern food production methods allow me to pretend that I'm not killing something?

If I was out in the wilderness, hunting and gathering, you can be sure that I'd bonk that chicken on the head and roast him, but in today's world there's really no good reason to eat meat. Vegetarian food is widely available, especially in a place like Los Angeles, and I'm having trouble justifying the denial.

So I started reading a few Web sites about vegetarianism and realized that it can be much more complicated than just buying veggie burgers. If you really want to live a cruelty-free lifestyle, you have to become one of those annoying people who feed their dogs vegetarian kibble. You have to scrutinize food labels for gelatin and refuse refined sugar because it's filtered through bone char. You basically have to become a strict vegan, and prepare all your food yourself.

Even free-range eggs don't let you escape cruelty. The term "free-range" just means that the hens "have access to the outdoors". They don't necessarily go out. Their beaks are often cut off and they're still jammed into tiny little cages. Cheese and dairy products are just as complicated.

Maybe one day I'll be a vegan, but for now I'll strive for "death-free" rather than "cruelty-free." That's a start.


The Wine Commonsewer said...

Ahhh, but even Vegans are not without complicity, for every field that is plowed leaves death in the tracks of the plow, rodents, ground squirrels, gophers, lost habitat for the smaller creatures.

Even the simple act of growing your own produce requires a physical removal of snails, slugs, whiteflies, and other assorted pests, or there will be little left to harvest. A snail attack will eliminate a head of lettuce overnight.

Where we live it isn't possible to have a garden because anything planted is immediately decimated by the local rat, rabbit, and squirrel population. Makes me wonder how on earth our forebears ever survived.

And then what about the Waterians? They believe the act of harvest is a killing.