-A. Whitney Brown So I get often get a hard time for being a vegetarian, but I had a harder time when I used to be a vegan! I was vegan for a year (I did not consume meat, dairy, eggs or any product derived from an animal), it was an experiment of sorts, it was difficult at times but it got easier as time progressed. When I started working at the East Indian restaurant I decided to eat dairy, because (a) I previously was not familiar with many indian dishes, (2) people would ask me about most of the food and I would have no idea because I could not eat it and (3) my love of butter vegetables with paneer cheese!
There are quite a few reasons morally I choose not to eat meat. I have no problem with its actual consumption and I have nothing against hunting game for food. The problem lies within factory farming and the brutality which occurs within. Animals raised for food are treated callously at all levels of production, from breeding, to raising, to slaughter. Furthermore, the amount of antibiotics and hormones pumped into the animals surely must have an adverse effect on the humans who consume them.
The second argument I would have to say would be based on environmental degradation. From the amount of energy it takes to produce one cow (in terms of feed, travel to the slaughterhouse, travel to the grocery store, in the freezer) it would be much more economically sound to promote the consumption of plants. The meat industry is extremely wasteful. Livestock consume 70% of all US grain production. Yet 20 million people starve each year. Americans could feed 100,000,000 people by reducing their meat intake 10%. On todays market there are more than enough options for a vegetarian diet to supplant the eating of meat, both in terms of vitamins and taste.
Thirdly, health benefits of eating fresh organic produce! Vegetarian live on average seven years longer than their meat-eating counterparts, with a significantly decreased risk of many serious diseases (cancer, heart disease etc...)
I don't think everyone should just give up meat, but I believe that more responsibilty and sustainability are needed and the elimination of factory farming. Today, many people eat meat at every meal. This is not necessary! Cutting down consumption, even marginally will benefit your health, the environment and your wallet (meat is mush more expensive)...so try to experiment with a vegetarian meal or cutting down on meat and see what happens!
Check out your local farmers market for organic produce, humanely raised meat from local farms: See bottom of page for links to find your local Farmers Markets
Here is a convincing article: "How to Win an Argument With a Meat-Eater"
For more info: Wikipedia article Vegetarianism
Good article: Huffington Post
Picture of market in my town via: Sue Richards
...How I long for summer mornings at the farmers market, eating homemade donuts and fresh strawberries!