Sunday, June 12, 2011 | By: Brianna

A Meaty Question

Q:  Am I a bad person if I eat meat?

A:  So the question came up in some form or another while I was watching one of the recent videos of the Vlogbrothers (John and Hank Green).  So I wonder.  Am I a bad person if I eat meat?

Environmentally speaking, it's plausible that I'm a bad person.  By taking a bite out of that juicy and delicious cheeseburger or slathering barbecue (isn't there a "q" in that?) sauce on a piece of grilled chicken or even nibbling on bacon bits, I'm killing a cow, a chicken, and a little piece of pig that I really don't want to think about.  And it's not the slaughtering of innocent animals that I'm worried about thinking about, it really is the fact that I really don't want to know what part of the pig my bacon is coming from.  Just like I'm perfectly content to live in ignorance about the origins of that hot dog I ate the other day.  I'm not going to pretend to know the statistics, but I know that the main action that gets that dish to my table is either "cooking" or the death of some animal.  I've seen pictures of slaughterhouses, trust me, I've studied the history of Chicago, and I've heard the screams on the soundtrack of a safe video on the slaughterhouses.  I say safe because it's far away from the blood spatter.

Anyway.  Economically speaking, doesn't my eating meat benefit farmers the same way at my eating vegetables does?  Someone has to raise those delicious animals for slaughter, just like they need to raise those scrumptious greens for my salad.  Or veggie platter.  Or guacamole.  (I can't believe I spelled that right on the first try.)  Maybe I'm just uninformed about the economics of it.  Which is probably true.

If we're talking about health, it's technically better for you to eat vegetables.  Well, more vegetables.  Than meat.  Something about vegetables being easier to digest and giving you all the nutrients that meat does without killing anything.  Which is only half right, because that lettuce had to die to get to your plate too.  That's right.

What am I supposed to do if my family all eats meat?  Keeping your chin up in the face of adversity is probably a really good thing.  Character-building, one might say.  But would that mean I have to cook for myself?  Maybe a little.  Especially if tofu is involved.  I still haven't met anyone who openly admits, "You know, I can cook a mean tofu!"  More often I hear about how the tofu was cooked weird.

But back to the question.  Am I a bad person if I eat meat?  I'm inclined to say "no."  Maybe that's my own guilty conscience wishing to ease itself through the assurance that one's a bad person just because of what they eat.  It's not like the t-rex is viewed as a vicious killer in comparison to the peaceful long necks.  Sure, omnivores probably aren't regarded in the same way as the t-rex is, but can you just imagine the next generation's dinosaur movie?  The omnivore with the knife and fork preying on the same peaceful long necks in order to illustrate the evils of meat-eating.  Now, is that really necessary?  Those who choose to eat meat aren't guilting the vegetarians of the world.  Then again, it's unfair to say that all vegetarians are championing their cause and searching for "converts."  I will admit that there are vegetarians who share my "live and let live" (no pun intended) philosophy.  They're just a little greener in the field.

"'Well,' said the animal, 'I know many vegetables that are very clear on that point.  Which is why it was eventually decided to cut through the whole tangled problem and breed an animal that actually wanted to be eaten and was capable of saying so clearly and distinctly.  And here I am.'"
- Douglas Adams in "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe"


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