Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Rethinking meat

I'm seriously considering going vegetarian (again). At 13 years old I went vegetarian as a first step in wanting to be kosher. I continued to eat kosher fish, but gave up all other meats until I was 19 years old. When faced with kosher turkey at a friend's thanksgiving dinner in college, I excitedly gave up my vegetarian identity, opting instead to do my best to find "happy" kosher meat (knowing where it comes from, free-range, etc).

While in London over winter break I started to reconsider meat. After going to a few different shiurs on kashrut I started to seriously think about what being kosher means to me. I also started to grapple with the fact that it is VERY difficult to find local/ethical kosher meat, and that killing an animal in a kosher way may no longer be the quickest/most humane way to do it. Then, today, I unintentionally ended up watching Oprah's episode on going vegan. As part of the episode, Lisa Ling goes inside a slaughter house to show the process. I think that watching those few minutes of footage were enough to get me to go vegetarian again.

I'm not saying that eating meat is wrong or that we, as humans, shouldn't eat meat. Nor am I saying that you, dear reader, shouldn't eat meat. I'm just not sure that I should keep doing it. Watching the way the cows were being processed reminded me way too much of gross anatomy lab, a class that I was VERY uncomfortable with for so many reasons. I realized that given the choice, I would never choose to slaughter, skin, or butcher a mammal in order to consume it. I'm barely comfortable taking raw meat out of the package in order to simply cook it! I strongly feel that I have no right to eat something that, in its entirety, makes me this uncomfortable. Vegetables, tofu, even fish; these are all things that I will take ownership of destroying for my own nourishment.

This is not a decision I am going to make lightly (this time around). So for now all I can definitively say is that I'm in the contemplation stage of returning to vegetarianism.

No comments: