I believe people are inherently good. I believe we don’t want to hurt anyone and generally want to do the “right thing” whenever we can.
I think it starts with a simple message reflecting those positive intentions.
Meat eating is good for you.
Meat eating is natural.
Meat eating is normal.
What rational person doesn’t want to be good, natural and normal? I know I do.
So, as a child… like many children… my parents fed me meat.
Great big juicy turkeys in November, delicious steaks on my birthday and less appealing, but certainly more common ground hamburger meat in every form imaginable.
I lived in the innocence of these beliefs where I didn’t have to think about where (or who) my food came from. There was no guilt at my table and life was sweet.
Then I started learning about animals. Yes, it started with my love for animals.
I first wanted to be a marine biologist! I think growing up in a coastal city put that one into my mind. Next, a zoo-keeper – until Steve died and then I felt too sad to continue on that path.
All the while through these adolescent endeavors I learned more and more about the animals in the world around me.
Like any budding scientist I observed their mating rituals, birthing rites, child-rearing policies and death observances. I noticed something.
Animals were intelligent.
This revelation was something I understood on the surface, but it didn’t go any deeper into my awareness for some time.
As I grew into an adult I adopted a little chihuahua dog and helped her grow.
We’d cuddle together on the couch and when I got up to go do something else – she would watch me and even follow me.
I know it doesn’t sound that extra-ordinary, but it showed me personally that animals – in this case dogs, well my dog – wanted to be near to me.
I didn’t understand. Why would she want to be near to me? Really. Her food was in the bowl, she had a little dog bed of her own and more toys than most 1 year-old children.
Why would she want to watch me, follow me, be near to me? What was I offering that she didn’t already have access to without me?
I slowly realized – Animals are not only intelligent. Animals are trusting and capable of developing bonds with the animals around them.
Well, that changed things in my mind. Suddenly, I started reexamining all the animals around me and how they interacted with humans and other animals around them.
My initial feelings were confirmed.
Animals are intelligent, trusting, capable of forming bonds with animals around them and they don’t want to be killed.
Oh come on! I pleaded with myself. Eating animals is healthy! It’s normal and natural. What’s wrong with it? — as I was shoving a mouthful of delectable chicken into my mouth.
And I’d always find myself coming back to the same answer – they don’t want to be killed. They are intelligent and trusting and capable of fear and pain.
Suddenly, guilt was served with every meal.
That still didn’t stop me most of the time.
I’d go on vegetarianism and off vegetarianism. Like some sort of guilt yo-yo diet.
I’d tell myself it is too hard and too weird as my friends and coworkers were always quick to point out.
And most of all – it was unhealthy. Right?
I won’t go into the long description of it, but I found that I did feel physically better when I wasn’t eating meat. That confused me.
So, I read many books and watched tons of informative videos and documentaries to try and uncover the truth.
So far, the truth that I’ve found is that no one really knows what the truth is, but not including animals in your diet won’t kill you or harm you beyond a shadow of a doubt. So, maybe not eating animals was at least as safe as eating them – maybe safer?
Still, my resolve was not complete. I mean a dog is one thing.
People have lived with dogs for as long as anyone can remember and dogs have always been our friends so, it makes sense to not want to eat them.
Farm animals were different right?
Their ‘glazed over’ expression and lack of personalities probably meant they were not that intelligent and probably were okay to kill and eat – right?
So, I started a project – a chicken raising project.
I got a little group of eggs and a few weeks later little fluff balls burst from inside them.
And I was shocked at what I learned!
These farm animals were intelligent, trusting, capable of fear and pain.
And they wanted to be near to me! Just like my dog!
So – that’s it guys.
I’m not eating you and I’m not eating them because I don’t eat my friends…
And I especially don’t eat strangers. I mean that doesn’t even seem safe!