An Open Letter to a Well-known Vegetarian

Dear —-,

I’m vegetarian myself (trying to be vegan), and have been so since the beginning of the year, and I wanted to ask you how you deal with being so as such a public figure, particularly as a comedian?

The only regret I have in my decision was not making it earlier. I do get upset however when the other 99% of the population feel it’s okay to harass me about my personal choices. My choices aren’t harming anyone like theirs, in fact they will save hundreds on animals lives in just my lifetime, so why does it feel like we’re the bad ones? Why is it the person with McDonald’s bag in their hand feels it’s okay to tell me my diet it extremely unhealthy, when I’m far more aware of the food that goes into my mouth than they do theirs? Even on public television news reporters and presenters think it’s okay to make the vegetarian joke. It would be outrageous for a presenter to joke about  any other minorities health-related issues, so why is this okay?

I’m trying to be a better person. I want to wake up every morning knowing no one has to die for me to live today. I want to encourage those around me to think about the decisions that not only affect the lives of hundreds of thousands of animals around the globe, but also their own health. I want society to recognize the health benefits of making this choice, so I don’t have to watch those around me, including my own family, suffer and die from preventable diseases. My life is no more important than anyone else’s, regardless of the species, but I do wish to treasure it and make the most of my time here without harming anyone else. I refuse to be part of the problem, but I’m struggling to make a big enough impact to be part of the solution.

I know you probably won’t read this letter, and many others won’t once they realize it’s about being vegetarian, not to mention the flow of abusive comments I will get following this- but every time I write a new post for my vegetarian blog (which is where I’ll be positing this), I have that small speck of hope that maybe between my thoughts on the matter and the resources I give my readers, it might be enough to have someone at least try to be vegetarian.

I wish you good luck with your career and family,

The Vegetarian.

No matter how much we may talk about kindness, no matter how much we may practice it elsewhere, as long as we demand that living, feeling individuals be harmed and killed for our pleasure— as long as we choose violence over compassion— then we do not live a good or just life. Far greater than the sum of our good acts is the trail of blood, suffering and death we willfully and needlessly leave behind us.

Re: “My beef isn’t with beef: why I stopped being a vegetarian”

This post is in response to http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cif-green/2011/jan/19/vegetarian-animal-cruelty-meat

This article demonstrates why it is so important to write down the reasons you are or want to be vegetarian (outlined in my “How to be vegan/vegetarian” guide). Jenna’s article “My beef isn’t with beef”, which she goes on to explain is because her beef is with the industry, not eating the meat itself, describes why she isn’t in the position to be publicly criticizing vegetarians. She talks about how poorly the big industries treat “meat in the making”, which obviously is both completely sad and true, but then goes on to say small farms treat animals well (not sure how we can regulate that one) and therefore it is okay to slaughter and eat them.

From myself that studies business at University, to someone who clearly understands very little of the topic, I would like to take a moment to give Jenna a very basic lesson. Every meat industry giant started off as a small farm. People don’t get into business to make the world a better place, they do it for money. Whatever is going to get them more money, they will do without question. What you are suggesting (pay more for independent, “sustainable” farm meat) is both illogical and unrealistic. Something you also clearly haven’t realized is people like money, particularly in their pockets- i.e. they will do whatever they can to spend less. Someone staring at meat in the produce isle of the supermarket looking at one piece of meat versus another at double the price, with a pretty label saying “raising animals nicely”, isn’t really going to care whether or not the animal they’re shoving down their throats had a good life or not.

The sustainability argument is a bit of a joke, considering 80% of the world’s grains are fed to livestock, more grains than we would need to end world hunger. The simple amount of resources we spend on producing enough livestock to satisfy our greed is enormous, with agriculture responsible for an estimated 14 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases. The cost on the healthcare system by the public’s increasing health problems as a direct result of  consuming meat and dairy on an increasing basis is tremendous for both Australia and the U.S.A (the largest consumers of these products). It results in 55,000 heart attacks in Australia alone,  with more than 350,000 Australians having at least one heart attack in their lifetime. To make matters worse, heart attacks are only a portion of the health problems created from consuming meat and dairy e.g. cancer and dairy have a direct link (this has been proven through research of the comparison between the consumption of dairy- when dairy is consumed cancer grows at a rapidly increased rate, however once consumption has stopped, growth decreases dramatically, which shows the ability to be able to turn rapid cancer growth on and off simply with the consumption levels of dairy).

As for justifying eating meat again after a decade of being vegetarian by saying it’s sustainable and the mentality “I know they had a good life because I raised them”- Sorry, but I would rather wake up every morning healthier and guilt-free with the knowledge nothing has to die for me to live today.

“Your fork is your ballot, and when you vote to eat a steak or leg of lamb purchased from a small farmer you are showing the industrial system you are actively opting out.” Yes, my fork is a ballot, and I choose to not lie to myself and pretend eating meat from an independent farmer is making the world a better place.

Part One. “Vegans are hopeless f*gs!” Right… wait, what?

Something to prepare for if you’re going to become vegetarian or vegan, and it only makes it worse when you voice your choice- you will get absolutely abused. Why? As soon as I figure it out, I’ll let you know. But don’t hold your breath.

This is something I never could have prepared myself for. From even back in my Quarter Pounder days, I remember having a friend who was vegetarian, and utterly envying them for being able to control themselves and have such a healthy lifestyle (this is even before I knew just how healthy it is). She, however, never once pushed in upon anyone else, and a lot of people didn’t even know she was vegetarian because she never spoke about it.

And now I understand why.

I don’t consider myself a very radical person. I don’t particularly preach religion or any strong views, tell people on the streets they’re sinners and going to hell, or anything of the sort. Though through my choice to become vegetarian this year, I have noticed a very upsetting amount of people, including close friends, perfectly comfortable in bullying me and telling me how wrong I am, and how unhealthy my decision is.

There is nothing wrong with different views. In fact, it’s extremely important to be open to other views. A lot of people see me as close-minded when we talk about why I’m vegetarian, but to be realistic, I never would have become vegetarian if I was closed-minded. I ate meat for eighteen years, and I would do anything to take that back, but it seems utterly ridiculous to say a vegetarian is closed minded, because most vegetarians are raised eating meat. They then open their mind up to the possibility that everything they believe in is wrong, which is an extremely difficult I might add (and probably why others get so angry when I suggest they do their own research into the meat industry and it’s health problems), and finally come to their own decision. And that ladies and gentlemen, is how a vegetarian is born.

What I would really like to say to sum this little rant up is that we need to learn to respect each other, and have intelligent conversations about our choices as human beings. We can either incite violence and pain in our world, or we can be free of it and move toward a more peaceful future. Nothing has made me feel better in my life than to be able to wake up every morning and know I’m doing everything I can to make this world a better place.

And then the Omnivore said, “I love animals”.

The struggle to associate what’s on our plate to the dog in our backyard has often been a difficult one. The fact remains, and has never changed, that they are the same- regardless of the species. Eating a pig or cow is no different to eating your pet dog, or we could even go as far as eating a human. In fact, (I am far from trying to promote cannibalism here) but eating a human would probably be considered more humane than eating a helpless animal. We can defend ourselves. They can’t.

Studies have shown pigs to be smarter than three year old children, however more than 90% of these animals in the U.S. are raised in factory farms. Now I’m not sure what image you have in your head when I say factory farms is, but if you’re an Omnivore and you claim to be an animal lover, it must not be a very accurate one. These intelligent resources are crammed in small, overcrowded, filthy warehouses, denied everything natural to them- and raised and slaughtered in ways that would make you or I sick.

“Mother pigs (sows) spend most of their miserable lives in tiny gestation crates that are too small for them to turn around in. They are impregnated again and again until their bodies give out and are then sent to slaughter.

Piglets are torn from their distraught mothers after just a few weeks. Their tails are chopped off, the ends of their teeth are snipped off with pliers, and the males are castrated. No painkillers are given to ease their suffering. The pigs then spend their entire lives in extremely crowded pens on tiny slabs of filthy concrete.

When the time comes for slaughter, pigs are forced onto transport trucks that travel for many miles through all weather extremes. Many die of heat exhaustion in the summer or arrive frozen to the inside of the truck in the winter. According to industry reports, more than 1 million pigs die in transport each year, and an additional 420,000 are crippled by the time they arrive at the slaughterhouse.

Because of improper stunning methods, many pigs are still conscious when they are dumped into scalding-hot water, which is intended to remove their hair and soften their skin.” – PETA.