Why I Eat Meat

For some reason, many people are surprised when they find out I am not a vegetarian. Oh, I’ve tried it over the years and I’ve considered it seriously, but I’ve chosen a different path—a path that started on the first official organic farm in America when I was little. There were steers and sheep and surprise batches of piglets and chickens, turkeys, and geese and eggs and big steaming vats of chicken broth on the stoves of my mother’s and grandmother’s kitchens. Yes, the animals were cute. They were my friends and I loved to play with them. But, yes, they were so delicious after a long day of playing outside. For some reason I never questioned it or felt conflicted about it, and I learned firsthand about how integral a part of the farm the animals were.

When I started going to school, I will never forget how often—seriously, someone must have put out a guidebook on how to hurt me—kids would say, “I’m not coming to your house because all you eat is tofu and carrot sticks!” Tofu? I had never seen it in my life. Do you think my mother, a good Pennsylvania Dutchwoman, would allow tofu into her house? No way. Not even if it was shaped like a chicken. Which I don’t think it was until I was grown up anyway.

I dated a vegetarian once. I am indebted to him for teaching me about pesto, but I could easily have done without the boxes of processed soy-protein stuff that he forced me to cook and eat. Something didn’t feel right about that. Food shouldn’t come in a box, I thought.

I didn’t firmly resolve my opinion, though, until taking a permaculture class with Bill Mollison. He said, “Everything eats,” and he was right. Through learning from him and studying permaculture, I realized that everything has a role (or three) in the environment and we are all part of an ongoing cycle of consumption. John Seymour, too, was one of my philosophical heroes; he would point out that farms need animals. Real farms, that is, not those filthy factories that abuse animals, feed them antibiotics to fatten them up, and fuel the global desire for cheap meat at any cost.

Ultimately, as a woman, I have often felt that I need meat for my body to feel healthy and happy. That means I have to be careful where I get my meat. I rarely eat it if it’s not organic. I buy from local farmers. I order it in a restaurant only if the restaurant is organic or supports local farmers. I avoid all forms of mystery meats of unknown origin, although I do have a weakness for hard salami, so occasionally I pretend to be a person who doesn’t care about where food comes from. Only occasionally. No one is perfect.

One day, all meat will be organic. And the vegetarians will happily coexist with the nonvegetarians. I’m trying not to laugh as I write that…it’s just that if we don’t start believing it’s possible, it won’t be possible. So I’m a believer. And if, by chance, I am believing the impossible, then all I ask is that you leave me alone while I enjoy my homemade chicken gravy…with some crispy skin bits…and a crust of bread to soak it all up…Sigh! That’s the real reason I eat meat.


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68 Responses to Why I Eat Meat

  1. Sarah November 21, 2012 at 8:04 am #

    I really appreciate this post. I went vegetarian for a season for “ethical reasons,” but for me it was a phase (and I still travel in and out of seasons of eating less meat). I’ve come to rest on thoughts/convictions similar to those you listed here…It’s just nice to have my feelings that eating meat can be right and good and done well confirmed:-).

  2. Jill November 21, 2012 at 9:10 am #

    Thank you for this. I went through a vegan phase which damaged my health (and before anyone gets all nuts on me, yes, I did it “right” and no, of course I won’t oppose anyone who chooses it as a lifestyle), and I was lacto-ovo vegetarian for many years. I have gone back to an omnivore’s lifestyle, as I have found I feel best with that. The point is to eat sustainably and with a conscience, not to wield your lifestyle like a machete.

  3. Maria Willocks November 21, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    Hello everybody,
    I’m not a big meat eater but my body sometimes is asking for it,so I give it to him. I agree with this article completly. Many people I know, think I don’t eat meat because I eat organic. I hope like you, one day…everybody can eat organic EVERYTHING.

  4. Emily @ Zweber Family Farms November 21, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    I love this post Maria! My brother is a vegan and my husband and I are organic dairy farmers. You can imagine the conversations we have! Another reason, I eat meat is because of the holistic nature animals bring to the farm. We use their manure for soil nutrients, they control weeds out in the pastures, etc. Then we harvest them for meat and the cycle continues. It is very beautiful.
    Thank you again for this post, some day all eaters (vegan and omnivore) will live in harmony. 🙂

  5. Leslie November 21, 2012 at 9:42 am #

    Thank you Maria.
    Put very well.

  6. cliff November 21, 2012 at 12:12 pm #

    You can rationalize all you want but it doesn’t change the fact that it is rationalization. We are (so far and as far as we know) the only species who can think about this and make a choice and as long as we choose killing other creatures that we don’t need to because they taste good or we have convinced ourselves that we “need” to eat them, we can rationalize anything.
    As long as there are slaughterhouses, there will be battlefields.
    -Leo Tolstoy
    and Emily, keep telling yourself how beautiful it is.

  7. Gina November 21, 2012 at 12:44 pm #

    I drew the line twenty five years ago not to eat duck, pork, veal, frog legs, rabbitt, etc. In my opinion, eating organic chicken/turkey, range free eggs and fish are the only protein I can eat with a conscious.

  8. Donna in Delaware November 21, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

    No Cliff, we don’t NEED to eat animals, but yes, we do have the choice to eat them or not! We don’t have to bash others just because they CHOOSE to eat meat! I hope that you don’t get bashed because you probably CHOOSE not to. We are all entitled. Yes, when animals are raised properly, and given to actually be the animals God intended for them to be, I suppose one can feel a lot less guilty about consuming them. In the beginning, we were all vegetarians, and the animals were for sacrificing only. Why is killing for sacrifice any more acceptable, than killing for consumption? Needless to say that this changed because of Adam and Eve. Now, since having consumed animal flesh for so many centuries, despite what we know of the impact they it have on the environment, it is difficult to wean ourselves from consumption, and we don’t really have to, if slaughtering, shipping and comsumption is done on a smaller scale. There are certain benefits to eating, meat and fish, and that is the protein that they provide for the body. Yes, I know, milk and cheese and nuts can do the same thing, just maybe not in the same way and to the same extent. Give each other a break. It’s bad enough that we rip each other apart over politics and religion, must we also do that over how others choose to eat. Everyone for themselves, please!

  9. cliff November 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm #

    But not with a conscience eh?

  10. Laurie November 21, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    We are the top of the food chain, easy as that in my book. However, I do feel that animals should be treated well before we eat them so I buy organic, free range, grass-fed and/or local. No one is going to convince me, or the majority of people, not to eat meat so people like Cliff are wasting their breath. But, a cause that I believe isn’t so futile is to help people understand that most of the meat at your everyday supermarket comes from animals that are treated cruelly and in disgusting conditions. I honestly didn’t know about CAFLs until about 6 years ago (and I’m pretty old!) and I felt like a fool that I didn’t know sooner. So, I think a better way to help animals is to get the word out about CAFOs and what exactly goes on there.

  11. maria (farm country kitchen) November 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    Happy Thanksgiving to EVERYONE, no matter what’s on your menu! XO

  12. Donna in Delaware November 21, 2012 at 6:44 pm #

    Happy Thanksgiving Maria, to you and yours. Let’s not forget those of us who have lost everything during the hurricane, and those who have nothing almost everyday, every year. Blessings upon us all.

  13. Donna in Delaware November 21, 2012 at 6:47 pm #

    With or without a conscience, everyone for themselves, and a higher power for us all.

  14. cliff November 21, 2012 at 8:14 pm #

    Oh, live and let live eh? Except for…hmmm, the defenseless animals. Nice. Look, eat what you want to eat but don’t get so upset when someone calls you out for congratulating yourself on how good you are because you only choose to eat dead murdered animals that have had a good life – right up till that last little bit. I grew up eating meat, still like the smell of pig, I mean bacon. I don’t usually comment on people’s choice. Tomorrow, I’ll be up at 4 so I can make it to the Bea Gaddy center in Baltimore to help cook for those less fortunate than myself and I’m thinking there may be some turkeys involved. I’d rather cook for the completely non-informed than hear this tripe. Like I said, you shouldn’t expect everyone to just sit there and read this self-congratulatory mental gymnastics and not hear what BS it is.

  15. maria (farm country kitchen) November 21, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    To quote myself: “And the vegetarians will happily coexist with the nonvegetarians.” I will continue to dream.

  16. tsch November 22, 2012 at 12:21 pm #

    Kids used to tease you unfairly about eating tofu? Traumatic and life changing. “Everything eats”? This is justification for you to slaughter other conscious beings to make soup broth? “… farms need animals”. When did farms start eating animals? For that matter, when did you turn into a farm? “… I need meat for my body to feel healthy and happy.” OK, you like meat. At least that is honest, if completely subjective, un-provable, and impossible to falsify.
    It is my sincerest wish that vegetarians and nonvegetarians never happily co-exist. I also don’t want to happily co-exist with murderers, child molesters, or other sociopaths that are incapable of understanding the horrific consequences of their actions on others. Yes, I and many other do put those actions into the same category, and that is why many vegetarians will never accept the justice of killing animals for food. When you can justify your actions in such a way that you also take your victim’s rights and interests into account, and not just what your interests are, maybe you’ll have something worth listening to.

    Keep up the good work cliff.

  17. tsch November 22, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Emily –

    I think it would be beautiful if we could harvest you and your husband. It would improve the soil in my garden so very much if we could compost you there. Perhaps you could weed my garden for a year or two first as well, and I could sell the use of your body to make my living during that time.

    Of course, I just know that you would volunteer to provide this loving, holistic service to your other fellow humans, yes? It’s perfectly natural, after all.

    I’m being facetious. The sad thing is that you are not. There is nothing beautiful about slaughtering another being because you are done using them for your benefit. Open your mind, open your heart, to the suffering you are responsible for.

  18. tsch November 22, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    Donna –

    You seem to confuse free will with ethical behavior. I’m free to do many things on this world that might not be considered ethical. Should we view all such options as equally valid, simply because we are free to do them?

    Yes, we should absolutely continue to discuss the differences we have as independent thinking creatures on important topics that impact our lives and the lives of other creatures. And to many people, the killing of animals needlessly for food is one of those important topics.

  19. tsch November 22, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Laurie –

    I secretly suspect you’re right. I actually don’t hold any hope of trying to convince the majority of self-absorbed, sociopathic Americans that they should consider the rights of non-humans, or even non-Americans, when they make decisions about their lives. Your complete dismissal of cliff as being irrelevant provides a wonderful example of why. And that is exactly how the majority of Americans will treat you when you try to talk about CAFOs – today. Societal attitude changes usually evolve slowly, and always because cliff and others like him keep pushing the envelope.

    I applaud anyone who is trying to improve how humans treat non-humans. But dismissing an argument you disagree with by platitudes such as “humans are at the top of the food chain” (a near meaningless statement, by the way) is counter-productive to the constructive, thoughtful dialog I expect everyone on this board would like to have.

  20. maria (farm country kitchen) November 22, 2012 at 1:56 pm #

    Dear tsch,

    I am sad there is so much meanness in your heart, especially on this day of Thanksgiving.

  21. tsch November 22, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    Maria –

    If speaking for the rights of the beautiful, voiceless creatures that cannot defend themselves is considered meanness, so be it. I observe with horror and revulsion what humans subject non-humans to, and in return I ask for rational dialog that cuts through the self-justification and excuses. I’ll win no friends, I’ll change no minds, but perhaps I’ll help inspire a like-minded individual with greater powers of persuasion to step forward one day.

  22. Donna in Delaware November 22, 2012 at 6:12 pm #

    If we only spewed such caring, kindness and goodness about our fellow humans, and not just nonhumans! My what a person you and CLIFF would be, and what a world this would be for us all in which to exsist.

  23. Donna in Delaware November 22, 2012 at 6:21 pm #

    Also, I am not confusing anything. Just because God gave us free will, doesn’t mean that we can just do whatever we want, whenever we want. This is the problem with the world, this is a bigger problem in the US!!! My husband always said, ‘In dialogue, people meet.” Lets hope that this is true and remain so, with any problem(s) we would like to fix. You seem to be on this banner-waving tear. That’s ok, someone has to do it. People do things in their own way and in their own time. Not everyone comes to a realisation when you do, or, when you want them to. Give people time, and maybe they will come around to seeing things YOUR WAY, ETHICALLY and WITHOUT FAULT!!

  24. Donna in Delaware November 22, 2012 at 6:22 pm #


  25. tsch November 22, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    Donna –

    Speaking of one cause does not exclude another. cliff has already told us how he is spending Thanksgiving – helping less fortunate people. I can’t speak for him, for his actions certainly do.

    If Maria should feel it necessary to publish an article on the wonders of deep fried baby flesh smothered in gravy, with lots of crispy skin bits, I suspect I could be roused to respond to that as well. As it is, our respect for the rights of other human animals is probably more similar than not.

  26. tsch November 22, 2012 at 6:56 pm #

    Donna –

    “In dialog, people meet.” That’s a very nice saying.

    According to the USDA, Americans slaughtered roughly 9 billion chickens, 275 million turkeys, and many millions more of other animals in 2008. I believe that to be not just worthy of discussion, but a fact that should horrify any feeling person. It doesn’t. So sure, I’ll wave the banner, trying to make the point that a preference for the taste of cooked flesh leads to unimaginable pain and suffering. A personal choice – yes – but one with consequences too many are willing to turn away from.

  27. Donna in Delaware November 22, 2012 at 7:17 pm #

    Listen people-
    There are 7 Noahide Laws. These are Biblical commands to all humanity-the children of Noah-and they provide the basis for ethical living. The last law is something special. They are:

    1. Do not worship idols.
    2. Do not curse God.
    3. Do not murder.
    4. Do not steal.
    5. Do not commit adultery.
    6. Set up courts of justice.

    The ban on eating the limb of a live animal is a general law which commands us to be kind to animals. In fact, Jewish law prohibits inflicting unnecessary pain on animals. These are not arbitrary categories of law. They cover the full gamut of moral obligation toward our fellow beings- respect for God who is above us, respect for human beings who are equal to us, and respect for the animal kingdom beneath us.

    There is a clear hierarchy. For we are not equal to God, and animals are not equal to humans. The myth of equality is necessary only to protect the weak in a world devoid of morality. But moral beings with a clear code of ethics can recognize the innate inequality of nature without exploiting it. Being HIGHER means being more responsible. Nature is here to serve us, but we are here to serve God, and that means treating all of his creatures, equal or not, with respect. Not my words, but the law, and an interpretation of the laws. Feel better now?

    As one goes through the “OLD TESTAMENT,” there are several mentionings of how to treat animals. We should all carefully read it and learn from it. Some things can be confusing, but it is there for all to see. Maybe we can stop with the back and forth, if we only take into account of what IS written.

  28. Donna in Delaware November 22, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    The sages said, “never to eat meat out of hunger, first satisfy the hunger with bread. A person who eats meat solely for for his palate and for his own stomach degrades both himsself and the animal. But, if it is “mindful eating”- eating for the sake of harnessing that animal’ss energies to do good, then it is a way of connecting with the divine and elevating our universe. Eat with humility and compassion and with mindfulness.

    I’m Done. Thank you. Hope your Thanksgiving was lovely and cruelty free, that also means free from emotional, physical, and mental abuse.

  29. Cliff November 23, 2012 at 2:55 am #

    Five hundred turkeys! When the coordinator asked for a volunteer for the “icky” job and no-one else stepped up, I did. So that was how I spent the day, up to my elbows in turkey parts. Did it bother me? Not really. I am saddened but resigned to the depths of self absorbed cruelty the human race is routinely capable of. As I said, the folks who have never given a thought to whether they should eat meat or not are much more preferable company than folks who have given it a lot of thought and still choose to eat it. But worse by far are folks like Maria who not only delude herself about how righteous she is but than feels the need to justify her actions in print, congratulating herself on how superior she is in her choices compared to all those other folks who are apparently morally inferior because they eat meat from those “filthy factories.” Yes, yes, Maria, I guess everyone who might be reading your newsletter is already familiar with them and most, like the girl who is living her “beautiful” life on a real farm where the animals are harvested can revel in the same moral superiority by virtue of their own twisted logic being reinforced in print.
    But Maria goes one step further; anyone who dare disagrees with her is treated to the oh-so passive aggressive quotes like –

    To quote myself: “And the vegetarians will happily coexist with the nonvegetarians.” I will continue to dream. or –

    Dear tsch,
    I am sad there is so much meanness in your heart, especially on this day of Thanksgiving. –

    Bah! There is meanness in someone’s heart alright. She just can’t see it through the wall of denial she has built to make herself feel good about her choices.

    I’m thankful for quite a bit. I’m very thankful for people like TSCH who continue to fight the good fight. As I told you all earlier, I don’t usually bring it up at all but that’s just because I’ve given up hope for most of the human race for exactly these types of reasons. Because otherwise good people continually tell themselves whatever they have to in order to continue doing HORRIBLE things. Do you not see the logic and self-evident truth in what Tolstoy said? If you can convince yourself of this, you are able to convince yourself of anything. Do you think all the people who fought against civil rights were all bad people? Do you think that men who routinely discriminate against women are completely bad people? Or that all Americans who have sat back with their blinders on while we have killed tens of thousands of innocent men, women and children (in just the last couple decades) are all reprehensible murderers? No, it is just degrees of how much we as a species and as individuals are willing to convince ourselves of. Whatever lies we need. Whatever gets you through the night.

    Maria, I await your dismissive reply.

    Donna, not everyone believes in your god so could you keep him out of it please.


  30. maria (farm country kitchen) November 23, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    Since you have already assumed I will be dismissive, I hope you can hear me when I say this:

    I think it is truly wonderful that you are helping others. I completely respect your opinion and your belief system. All I ask is that in my kitchen, you respect other opinions and belief systems as well.

  31. cliff November 23, 2012 at 10:19 am #


    If I was in your kitchen, I’d keep my mouth shut. But I’m not, I’m online reading a blog with posts that state opinions with many things I agree with and some that I don’t. I haven’t bothered to respond to any in the past, of either stripe. But your post Wednesday was in effect an excuse for committing horrible atrocities needlessly. This may seem to you like a matter of opinion but I don’t see it that way. I see it the same way you see the zealots you railed against a few weeks ago who deny climate change, think that smaller government is the end all and be all because they haven’t given the matter any serious consideration, at all, and only believe it because they are sheep for the soundbite writers and all the other foibles you lambasted in that post. If I may quote you again –
    ” You can believe that it’s not your problem and reduced government spending will solve everything, and that just focusing on abortion and gay marriage will make America strong again, but that’s freaking CRAZY!”
    See, it isn’t a matter of one person’s opinion versus another’s when the facts are so straightforward. It is just freaking crazy. And that’s how it sounds when you talk crazy talk, no matter what you have convinced yourself of.
    If you would like to continue the discussion, without snarky or dismissive postings, I’d be happy to posit some ethical comparisons and considerations for you to ponder in the hope that you, who have a far greater capacity to reach and influence people’s thinking than I ever will, might get beyond how good meat tastes, which is, as you said, the real reason you keep eating it, and make the right choice.


  32. tsch November 23, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

    Cliff –

    Well said. You bring up some excellent points about how we as a species are able to convince ourselves of some strange things. (68% of Republicans believe in demonic possession, 48% in climate change, according to a recent poll. Almost half of Americans believe in ghosts, etc., etc.)

    Our ability to deeply believe strange things is likely rooted in our biology. But that does not excuse capable, educated individuals such as Maria from their refusal to consider the impact their choices have on other beings. Those that wish to be thought leaders, or that just want to share opinions on an open medium such as this, need to be held to a higher standard of discourse. Justifying cruel actions based on personal preference does not meet those standards.

  33. Donna in Delaware November 23, 2012 at 1:14 pm #

    I don’t expect anyone else to believe in God. And unlike you, no, I WILL NOT keep HIM out of it. You don’t want anyone to tell you anything that you don’t want to or care to hear, so don’t tell anyone else! Your dismissal of, and refusal to acknowledge a higher power is your business, what do I care? If those of you out there who DO believe, and you know that these rules and laws are given to you by a higher power for you to live by, and you don’t, WHO THE HECK ARE YOU CLIFF, AND THOSE LIKE YOU to think that YOU can convince others to bend to you will and desires. In comparison, YOU ARE NOTHING!!

    That’s right, toot your own horn, pat yourself on the back for doing what is the right thing, the neighborly thing, the humanistic caring thing to do. I do this for the food bank and food kitchen and people not in my neighborhood all of the time, not just for a day, but almost everyday, and no one needs to know about it, accept those reaping the benefits. I don’t need the accolades. Good for you! You need to be doing something productive for the world besides mouthing off. Keep doing it, and while you’re at it, here’s a thought, why not educate those people that you say don’t know about animal cruelty, and vegetarianism and vegans, who are eating the turkeys that you help prepare for consumption? Now there’s a captive audience for you! Good luck!

  34. Donna in Delaware November 23, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    And by the way, you should tread carefully, because there are many a strange person out there, that just may find YOU to be a tempting, tasty, tidbit for the end of their fork!! Some people prefer to eat others. Don’t forget Jeffrey Dahmer and that other guy in Florida a few months back. I’m just saying…………

  35. Donna in Delaware November 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Not only do we believe in strange things, some of us actually carry them out. You tread carefully too!

  36. Donna in Delaware November 23, 2012 at 1:28 pm #

    BY NO WAY IS THIS A THREAT TO ANY PERSON. Just so you know and don’t get any strange ideas.

  37. Cliff November 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Ah, nothing like hearing how a good christian thinks.

  38. Donna in Delaware November 23, 2012 at 2:14 pm #

    Ah, how we always presume someone must be a good Christian. There are other GOOD religions out there, just in case you are an uninformed individual.

  39. Donna in Delaware November 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    Also for you misguided individuals, one does not have to be a part of any one religious group or community to be what one would consider “religious, or have religious beliefs.”

  40. Donna in Delaware November 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm #

    I am finished with this banter, have a good life!

  41. Cliff November 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    Hi Tsch,
    You may be interested in a book I read a while back – How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer. If you have already delved into these topics, this book might be considered an overview but if you haven’t, it is a good place to start. He covers quite a lot of territory in it and delves into many of the biological reasons we make all decisions, both large and seemingly inconsequential and how our evolution as a species helped form these methods. But the moment in the book that may really make you sit up and take notice is when he writes about the neuroscience that shows what is happening in the brain when people continue to believe or stand up for a position in spite of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. It’s another piece in the puzzle.

  42. tsch November 23, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Cliff –

    Thank you for that, I’ll give it a read. I hope Jonah doesn’t come to the conclusion humans are hopeless in this regard! I’d like to think rational people can still be convinced by rational means, even if my experience often seems contrary.

  43. John riddle November 25, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    I’m gonna throw a big fat steak on the grill, I’ll pray for the poor cow.

  44. esk November 25, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    I think the largest issue here is our (plant based dieters/ animal rights activists) inability/unwillingness to accept or respect another person’s decision to eat meat when it is 100% unnecessary and so very harmful to the earth and to other creatures. It has nothing to do with taking away your rights, it has everything to do with taking away the rights, happiness, health, offspring and LIFE of other’s. Either we stand on the side lines, viewed as extreme and freakish by our fellow peers, or we raise our voices and bring awareness to something which we consider to be of the utmost insult to what we are capable of as humans given our abilities to choose.
    I find it particularly frustrating that the reasons in your article for eating meat, are because you don’t want to eat something from and bow (by all means not necessary to consume anything from a box as a vegetarian… take it from a raw vegan like me) and that it tastes good. I am sure it tastes good, but I also know that we are built to sustain life with other substances for fuel, other sources which do not require the suffering, enslavement and premature, violent deaths of our neighbors.
    The hardest part for those of us who have already made the decision to not partake in such unnecessary atrocities, is the ability to co-exist. That is like asking us to watch a mother beat her child and not act. The thing people like Cliff, tsch and I need to perfect is finding balance between loving you (but not your choices) as much as we love the animals while still standing up for what we believe. We ARE here to convince you to change, or at least ‘ruffle your feathers’. We are NOT here to pass judgement as far as your quality as a human being, but only your actions in this aspect of your life… for you are not the only one affected by your decisions in this area. Were you the only one, no one would care either way.
    If a person is going to take a position of compassion against what has become the norm, they must have it in them to fight for it, act on their beliefs and change the world, one comment at a time. If it is not you we change, it may be someone else.
    I have no doubt you are an amazing woman, with so much you have offered and have to offer, but please do not expect us to co-exist in this way. I will show everyone, no matter the species, the love and respect I hope to be shown ( I will co-exist in that way), but I will not stand down. Please do not insult other’s by making such shallow observations as taste or packaging, about an issue that is clearly LIFE OR DEATH.

  45. Tovar@AMindfulCarnivore November 25, 2012 at 7:48 pm #

    Maria –

    You wrote, “And the vegetarians will happily coexist with the nonvegetarians.” Perhaps surprisingly, I’ve found a lot of space where such civil coexistence and conversations do occur. There is hope.

    All my best,


  46. tsch November 25, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    John – Your insight is astounding – I’m so glad you’ve joined the conversion. For a while there, I was afraid the meat eaters were afraid to come out of the closet and slap each other on the back some more.

    Tovar – I’d love to have a intelligent (civil is not my main concern) conversation with a meat eater on this board. Unfortunately, not one person advocating the right to eat meat has addressed the points raised by Cliff, esk, or myself. Of course there are vegetarians who don’t seek to change the world around them and would probably be more pleasant for you to chat with. But as esk said, there are others of us who will never stop the conversation, no matter how many times we’re ignored or ridiculed. We’re not going away.

    esk – Good stuff! I couldn’t agree more with your comments. Glad to see vegetarians drawn to a blog with such an outlandish title.

  47. holly November 27, 2012 at 10:01 am #

    “when one is firmly established in non-violence, all hostility disappears in that persons presence.”
    -Patanjali, sage and author of the Yoga Sutras

    almost three years ago i adopted a vegetarian diet as part of a vow of non-violence. that was the physical expression of this vow, which has expanded to include practices such as observing my thoughts and speech.

    while not eating meat and, as a result, not contributing to the death of another living being is part of this lifestyle, it is not enough.

    OM Shanti Shanti Shanti.
    OM Peace Peace Peace

  48. esk November 27, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    You are right Holly. It is not enough, however, every little bit of compassion and respect and awareness is worth it! Once people realize that we are not above one another will this world really be free from oppression, violence and maliciousness. One person at a time, one lesson at a time. But, being one to live in peace and know you are not knowingly contributing to those things, you will attract people and they will pay attention to your lifestyle and energy. Keep up your vows and continue to improve our world!

  49. Claire November 27, 2012 at 4:21 pm #

    Dear Maria

    In this posting you ask to be left alone to enjoy your chicken gravy and your local, organic meat, but I’m afraid that, given your standing as a voice in the healthy food movement, I would like to gently remind you of your greater responsibility. You seem to believe the common, mistaken, notion that meat-eating and vegetarianism are just personal lifestyle choices which all should be free to make as they wish. Because of the ethical implications of killing animals for food, I doubt that this was ever true, but it certainly isn’t true in this age of climate change and global food injustice. Meat and dairy production, even on organic and “humane” farms, are leading causes of climate change, water and land pollution, and food scarcity in poor nations.

    The United Nations has said that a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger and the worst impacts of climate change. The bottom line is that eating animal products harms animals and the earth, and it is not necessary. In shifting towards veganism, we have a chance to simultaneously: solve urgent environmental problems, feed far more people around the world, reduce chronic diseases in humans, and develop our innate compassion and empathy for non-human animals. I doubt that you’ll argue that the delicious flavor of your chicken gravy is more important than even one of those four tasks?

    Leaders of the organic movement are in an ideal position to exemplify the shift away from animal-based diets that is so needed in the wealthy nations, so I hope you will reconsider your point of view on vegetarianism. Eating animals from organic and “humane” farms only reinforces the illusion that meat can be produced sustainably. It’s time for a new look at our relationships with animals and food.


    Claire Holzner
    Huntingdon PA

  50. Gary Pearman November 28, 2012 at 11:43 am #

    Have a watch of this, and try to continue to eat meat with a clear conscience:


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