Reasons To Be Veggie?

Next week (May 19-25) is national vegetarian week and just the other week somebody asked me the reason I became a vegetarian (I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 14) and awkwardly I meandered round to explaining it wasn’t about health, only pseudo political (I think I remember reading the statistics correlating to the national vegetraian weekpercentage of the world that was starving and the percentage of land given over to growing arable crops which seemed to a young and naive me a rather obscene juxtaposition) but had to say primarily I had and have a big ‘hang up’ over just not wanting to kill things, directly or indirectly whether they be creepy crawlies , people or animals.

I well remember the last interview some years ago with the actor Paul Eddington (The Good life, Yes Minister) who was visibly  in the advanced stages of a rare form of skin cancer, which had afflicted him since the 1960’s and was very moved by his words when asked how he would wished to be remembered. Eddington, a life-long quaker and pacifist thought for a while and then mused that so many people seem to do so much harm in this world he replied that he’d best like to be remembered as someone who “did very little harm.”

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3 thoughts on “Reasons To Be Veggie?

  1. I think one of the difficulties in giving a “simple” answer to the question “Why are you a vegetarian?” is because your thoughts and feelings evolve with time and become more complex.

    Perhaps my main reason is, as you suggest, the abhorrence I feel at killing and causing suffering, whether to humans or other animals but it goes deeper than that.

    I am endlessly fascinated by the creatures I see around me whether exotic animals in the zoo or pigeons in the streets of London. It takes only a little amount of observation to see coherent patterns of purposeful activity and social life begin to emerge, to see animals as individuals with characters and self-awareness. The idea of destroying that is intolerable.

    I think only when we have learned to understand and appreciate the animals will we truly understand and appreciate our own species.

  2. Wow, that was a big decision for a 14 year old – well, it was back then (oops sorry – you know what I mean, I am not implying you are old, well only old in the same way that I am). It wouldn’t be a big decision for a 14 year old now of course. My mother would never have allowed such a thing, she would have spouted “if you live in this house, you eat what we eat. When you have your own house you can do what you wish.”

    I have had vegetarian phases but I don’t have a really strong conviction about it so I tend to return to eating meat.

    I do buy organic meat but I guess that isn’t a big thing really – it’s still a dead animal. I’d struggle a bit if I cut out meat/fish as I already don’t eat wheat or any processed food and I don’t like rice. I guess there’s always cheese!!!

  3. RB: Well at least most cheese these days is made with non-animal renet. I can’t say my Mum was over the moon at the time and there was more of an onus on me to then deal with my own meals.

    SilverTiger: Yes, I understand what you’re saying.Like you, I just find it hard not to directly equate what could be served on the plate with , say, the family pet.The connection is too strong for me.

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