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Animal Lovers, I’m Not Calling You a Hypocrite

March 20th, 2010 Posted by Featured, Health No Comment yet

Omnivorous Animal Lovers. Omnivorous Environmentalist. Omnivorous Health Enthusiast. (Omnivorous: feeding on both animal and vegetable substances)

What’s do all of the above have in common? They are all oxymorons!

I have been a vegetarian for just over two years. Very often, I have been asked “why?” Intellectually, I knew that eating another animal or creature is not right. However, often times, because of convenience and/or pursuing my senses of taste, I did not stop consuming meat and fish for many years. And surprisingly, if you ask me what my favorite food is when I was an omnivore, I will tell you ‘tofu’. I was never a big meat eater to start with.

It wasn’t until I met a teacher and many friends who are vegetarians. They recommended me some books that explained the consequences of eating meat, which finally convinced me that I was going to go 100% lacto-vegetarian.

I decided that it was time to stop consuming meat that inevitably causes animal suffering.  There is already enough pain and suffering in the world.

I was never a big animal lover or an avid environmentalist.  But after converting and being exposed to vegetarianism, I slowly realized the impact it makes in both arenas! Animals (meats, fish and poultry) suffer when you kill them for food. They can feel the pain. Can you imagine consuming your own dogs, cats or any of your pets? What kind of pain do we inflict on them?

I believe most people, at the back of our heads, know the inhumane methods of handling and slaughter that is going on in many animal farms. Animals are starved or forced fed or moved by electrified rods, etc. However, this knowledge has remained very often, at the back of our heads. So please do not preach to anyone about helping stray dogs, polar bears, dolphins, etc., if you are not at the very least, trying to eat less or no meat at all.

Some people argue that dogs and cats are different from pigs and cows. Are they really? If you are an animal lover, you obviously cannot group certain animals into a different category just because they are ‘not cute’. Or in a worse case, kill and eat them with no guilt because of that!  Let’s face it, you simple cannot be a true animal lover and consume meat, fish and poultry at the same time!

Health wise, probably as I wasn’t a big meat eater before, I personally didn’t have dramatic differences in how I feel.  However, as I read more about diseases in animals that are passed on to humans, and the toxins and hormones that are injected into livestock production, I was already thinking twice about eating meat even before I turn vegetarian. Remember Mad Cow, E coli?

Where do all these toxins and hormones end up in the animals’ bodies? They are usually stored in their fat tissues. With the catastrophic amount of toxins used nowadays, even when you try to eat organic meat most of the time, these toxins will find their way to your system and guess where they will mostly end up? It will be stored in your fat tissues, and probably in your most precious fat tissue of all, your brain.

Some people argued that you need proteins to live. Yes, we do, however I would rather get it from vegetables, beans, soy and other healthier sources than toxin laden animal proteins. Sometimes, I wonder if the ‘I-need-protein-to-live’ is a big excuse (for not being able to give up meat) or a propaganda that has been successfully instilled in our minds by the meat industries.

When I was a teenager, one of my friends told me that we are not ‘built’ to eat meat.  It made a lot of sense to me then. One of the clearest signs, she said, is the shape of our teeth; they are clearly teeth of herbivore (plant eaters), just like goats (think of the cheesy goat smile) and cows. They are obviously not shaped like the sharp pointed teeth of tigers and lions. Also, our digestive system is built ‘herbivorous’, we have long intestines with mild acid meant to digest vegetable matters and not the short intestines with strong acid in carnivorous animals that are meant to digest meat.

There were a lot of studies and claims that if everyone on the planet were vegetarian, we will have enough food to feed everyone and famine will not be an issue at all. Apparently, majority of the crops harvested in the world are used to feed animal livestock breed for our meat consumption.

According to an article in New York times, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that  livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases. A fifth? That is more than transportation in total! Also an estimated 30% of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production.

In the same article, it was also mentioned that “the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pound of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days!”

Enough said, this article is not meant to list down all the reasons and supporting statistics or written to convince anyone of vegetarianism. It is meant to be just a spark of thought for some ideas, which we all take for granted at times. Ideas like, “Omnivorous Animal lover, Omnivorous Environmentalist, Omnivorous Health Enthusiast. “

I’m not calling you a hypocrite.

Are the above the reasons why I became a vegetarian? Maybe. But I guess sometimes you do not need reasons to do the right thing.

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