Tuesday, December 13, 2005

People Eating Tasty Animals

Vegan. The very word sounds like something out of "Star Trek". ("Captain, the Vegans are locking phasers." "Sulu, get us out of here!")

Vegans and vegetarians, as you probably know, are very different things. A vegetarian won't eat meat. A vegan won't eat meat, honey, eggs or Jell-O; won't drink milk; won't wear leather shoes, wool sweaters or silk underwear; and generally doesn't smile very much.

As a proud beef-chewing, leather-wearing, Jell-O-swilling carnivore, I have a bit of trouble identifying with the philosophies of either. As a wise human once said, "If God hadn't intended man to eat other animals, how come he made them out of meat?"

Many vegetarians and vegans believe that animals have just as much right to life as humans do. Well, that philosophy is fine and dandy, except it ignores the fact that animals have been eating other animals for millions of years. Antelopes have been brought down by lions, bears have been killed by wolves, and falcons swoop down to carry field mice to their eternal reward. Heck, for some species, eating one's partner after sex is part of the mating ritual.

So why should I feel guilty about eating a steak? I assure you, if overnight, cows somehow were to develop opposable thumbs and higher intelligence and language skills, they'd start hunting us as fast as they could. Our only defense would be to tip them over, and we all know how much fun that can be.

Vegans promote theirs as a healthier lifestyle. Well, a quick Google trip to VeganSociety.com brings up, on the very first page, an announcement of the passing of the Society's founder, Donald Watson. The picture accompanying the announcement ... shall we say, does not flatter Mr. Watson.

If that is what a vegan lifestyle makes you look like, pass the cold cuts.

Mr. Watson lived to the ripe old age of 95. If I only live to the still-green age of 70, and then keel over from heart disease and cholesterol, Mr. Watson will be just as dead as I will. But on my deathbed, I'll have a lifetime of memories of porterhouses and turkeys and barbecue and hamburgers, and wonderful Mexican dishes made with lots and lots of lard, and bacon and quiches and ...

(Well, okay, maybe not quiches.)

The point is, I would rather give up a few years and enjoy the different sensory experiences that life has to offer, than to live to a very advanced age having denied myself those same experiences. Because some of the wisest advice I've ever heard was from Burgess Meredith in Grumpy Old Men:

The first 90 years or so, they go by pretty fast. Then one day you wake up, and you realize that you're not 81 anymore, and then you begin to count the minutes rather than the days, and you realize that pretty soon you'll be gone. And that all you have, see, is the experiences. That's all there is, Johnny, to everything -- the experiences!

You mount the woman, son.
That's good advice. (Especially the last part.)

Life is not about trying to survive one day longer than the next guy; it's about collecting experiences. And, as good food excites all of our five senses (we hear the steak sizzling, we smell the char, we see the juicy grill marks, we taste the wonderful flavor, and we feel the scalding heat leave burned strings of dead tissue hanging from the roof of our mouth), we should incorporate an appreciation of that food into our life experiences, just so we can say we've really lived.

Besides, have you ever heard a carrot scream as it is ripped from the ground? Well ... neither have I. But if it had a mouth, the sound wouldn't be pretty.

posted by Gary @ 2:00 PM

16 Comments:

At 3:43 PM, Blogger THE MATERIAL BOY said...

As a meatlover myself, I do find other vegans' and vegetarians' views on m-eating (eating meat) questionable.

I love it when you point out that animals themselves hunt other animals, so it's not excatly wrong, if we do the same. On some level, it's the arrogance in the belief that since we're of higher intelligence, we whouldn't be falling for that same thinking.

After all, a 'healthy' life is not just about what you eat, it's how you live it. It's not only what you feed your body, it's also what you feed your soul. And as long as I am happy eating what I choose to eat, both my body AND soul are satisfied.

So damn them vegans and vegetarians (thanks btw for clearing out the difference!), I'll have my steak now! ;-)

 
At 9:49 PM, Blogger Em said...

I was a vegan/vegetarian (depending on my cash flow, cuz it's expensive and time consuming) and plan to be again when I have money... let me offer a little insight!
I don't mind if other people eat meat - first of all. If you like beef, chicken, go ahead, it's your life!
There are a lot of people like me who have bad reactions to the additives (hormones, etc) that are given to animals to make them "beefier" (pun intended.. hehe) and resistant to illness, etc. (You're smart, you know what they do).
Anyways, when I cut meat out of my diet (as well as dairy products) - I see a very notable difference in my digestive wellness. You never feel as bloated or.. it's hard to explain but there's a sick feeling I get when I eat meat/dairy that I didn't realize until I stopped eating it. But the bigger thing is this: when I eat meat, I get periods that last up to six months (or more), I get nasty migraines, and my pain disorder is a lot worse (fibromyalgia). And that is evidence enough for me, as well as the findings of other friends, family, etc when vegetari-anising.. hehe.
Anyways, that part's not about life span, it's about wellness. It's about being less sick. It's about finding out you're sick for a reason you never knew till you stopped the meaty ways. Don't get me wrong, I love meat. I love it soooooo much. Mmm ketchup and meat.. bbq sauce! I might even, if I was stranded on an island alone, hunt and kill animals myself.
But then there's item #2.. and that's that I've seen the suffering of animals in CERTAIN farms, not all of them. Some farms are great and wonderful, others are hell holes.

It isn't arrogant to say that we're more *able* to stop certain atrocities than animals! We don't need meat to live, especially not hormone-pumped super-bug creating meat! We eat too much of it, and just excrete the most part of it. An average male needs around 42 grams of protein.. better found in a variety of sources than just meat.

Okay, I am digressing like the title of your blog ;) I like when I'm thought-provoked.

So yeah, you can look at it like: I might as well enjoy myself and eat meat, live less long sure but happier... but until you've gone *seriously* veggie for AT LEAST 6 months (that means taking the time to plan out the diet with protein, fibre, fat, etc)and felt the wonderful feeling your body gets, you don't know if meat would actually make you happier :)

And knowing that you saved an animal to be reared for "factory" Death-Row life - THAT, my friends, is good for the soul!

PS. Being poor and vegan can work, but as easily not if you're chronically ill like me with iron-anaemia and FMS, CFS, etc.

 
At 12:52 PM, Blogger Sparkling said...

"Live fast, die young" comes to mind. Great book!

 
At 6:32 PM, Blogger mr_humble_guy said...

Amen to that post.

Now lets all sit back and celebrate over a nice frosty glass of pork juice.

 
At 8:40 PM, Blogger Evangeline said...

Animals also chase other animals down and shag them against their will. Generally the same species, I grant, not the interspecies warfare you're talking about here :-) But still, it does show that the logic is a bit... ermmm... off! Then again, you might be all for being run down and shagged. If so, no worries, at least you're consistent ;-)

Ummm, darn, I had a point here...

Oh yeah, bowel movements. I firmly believe that as a vegetarian (don't eat dairy or eggs either), I will lie on my deathbed and appreciate all the hours that I spent doing things other than sitting on the loo. One thing you've gotta admit... a diet mostly made up of fruit and veg means there's plenty of fibre going through the pipes.

 
At 8:42 PM, Blogger Evangeline said...

(Darn. I forgot the bit about being eaten for dinner after sex. Veg diet obviously hasn't helped my memory any)

 
At 9:59 PM, Blogger Carol said...

Very funny - and true post. I enjoyed it a lot.

 
At 10:01 PM, Blogger Yu The Great said...

I resemble that remark. I do my best thinking, and my best reading sitting on the loo.

But seriously, though, if we hadn't been meant to eat 'em, they should never have been put on the planet. As the sign in Saskatchewan said, "There's room for all God's creatures. Right next to the mashed potatoes."

 
At 11:10 PM, Blogger suki said...

I just like eating vegetables. :P In fact, I hope all broccoli, cauliflower, spinach die, so I can eat them! :P

After moving back home to live with the parents, I eat more meat now. I think I was mostly vegetarian out of my inability to really cook meat in a way that I really like to eat it.. :P

 
At 11:14 PM, Blogger Riss said...

I love conversing with vegans. It makes me smile.

Also, what's wrong with quiche? This post made me hungry. And meat is good. It soaks up alcohol like it's nobody's business.

 
At 10:57 AM, Blogger Orikinla Osinachi. said...

I was a strict vegetarian for 14 years. And I also had vegetarian girlfriends who were the most beautiful people I have ever known from two different countries. America and Germany. The American was from Tennessee and the German was from Munich. And we enjoyed our life.

But someone told me that Hitler was a vegetarian.

I believe that we can live without eating meat.

 
At 1:52 PM, Anonymous allan said...

If you could record that carrot scream, it would be a great tool for catching a rabbit dinner.

 
At 11:13 PM, Blogger zandperl said...

It's interesting that some 20 years ago "vegetarian" meant a person who didn't eat cow, but did eat fish and eggs, and sometimes ate chicken, turkey, and pig, depending on the individual.

Most vegetarians I know just can't stand the taste of meat, much like my opinion on veggies. The vegans I know are equally split between not wanting to hurt the poor widdle animals (or not wanting to inflict horrible living conditions on them), and not wanting to put the crap that domesticated animals are contaminated with into their bodies (such as many MANY antibiotics, growth hormones, and general unclean living conditions). Some also want to be more ecologically friendly, utilizing fewer acres of land, putting fewer poisons into the air and ground, using less energy to raise and transport the food, etc.

I understand their point of view, it's just my like for the tates of meat and dislike the texture of veggies is the strongest factor to me. Since I agree with some of those values though, I'm starting to shift towards organic and locally grown/raised foods. It's more expensive though, and also not everything I enjoy eating comes in organic/local versions, so I'm not consistent with it.

 
At 1:08 PM, Blogger Empress Baggie said...

Dear But I Digress,

The Queen of The World loves your blog.

You have Her Majesty's permission to carry on. Keep up the good work.

You must know that the most favorite words of Her Royal Highness are "but I digress." But I digress.

Very truly yours,
EB

 
At 4:35 PM, Blogger Empress Baggie said...

Dear Gary:

The Queen of The World was quite disturbed to find the following comment posted on her blog:

The Blogging Lovers Organization of the World (BLOW) will be filing an injunction against you for misappropriating my trademark phrase, "But I digress", which has been registered in book form with the U.S. Copyright Office.

It has also been registered in book form in MY office, which is even better.

Digression-Boy


Darling, the buck stops right here: Her Royal Highness Empress Baggie, Queen of The World. Her Majesty owns the U.S. Copyright Office. Her Majesty owns everything.

Have you forgotten that Her Excellence is also The First Lady of BLOW? Injunction, smunction. Conjunction junction, what's your function? But I digress.

Very truly yours,
EB

P.S. Tea at 2 p.m. Don't be late.

 
At 11:51 AM, Blogger Seawave said...

So where is that Brazilian steak house opening and when are we going?

 

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