I get asked fairly often why I don’t eat meat. I always feel a little bit on the spot in those moments because I want to be honest and open with folks but I also don’t think that I have all the answers or that my way is the right way. Usually people are just curious so I don’t know why I get so nervous about it. If I heard someone made a point not to eat flowering plants I’d be curious why… it’s just interesting.
I became a vegetarian sometime in February/March of 2007 (the semester I graduated college). It was something I had been thinking about for a while and I had set a date for myself. I remember my very last meat meal; I had chinese chicken on a pretty awkward second date (there was not a third). And I think, at first, the most difficult part to me was having to request special things at events, or dinners with friends. I’m an extremely no-you-pick-the-resturant kind of girl. So having to go out of my way to fulfill my new-found vegetarian principles was a little hard for me.
The reason I became a vegetarian in the first place was because I learned about factory farming and how cruelly the gross majority of animals are raised and slaughtered for commercial consumption. It was quite a shock to me at first. My grandparents were cattle farmers so I grew up spending lots of summer hours at their ranch. I knew my grandfather’s cows were meat cows, they would one day be slaughtered for eating. I got that. But on my grandfather’s farm they had tons of land to roam on and I knew how much care and concern my grandparents had for their animals. I thought all meat you bought at the grocery store had a story like that behind it. It doesn’t. If you’re interested in learning more there are tons of books and website out there, I highly recommend Eating Animals or the Butcher and the Vegetarian. I was first exposed to this truth through an environmental ethics class I took as an undergrad (I was a philosophy major).
For a couple of years I was vegetarian with only a few minor slip ups here and there. Then for about six months I went vegan. Then back to vegetarian. Then about 2 years ago I ate meat probably about 2-3 times a month. Weird stage, for me. Now I’m a pescatarian (I eat seafood, eggs and dairy) who will once in a blue moon eat a special meat dish (like turkey at Thanksgiving) and who owns one purse with fur. I do feel a little guilty about the fur purse. But I also love that purse. I don’t think my situation or choices are perfect, far from it. But I do like the idea that for the vast majority of my meals I’m choosing to not promote or support a business model that is cruel and unsustainable. And I feel good about that. xo. Emma