I eat meat. No food group is excluded from my plate, but I am often struck with guilt for the meat I consume.
Even when I buy meat to cook at home, finding non-factory farmed meat isn’t always an option. It’s a problem that needs a solution, and I know that I could solve it, if only for my conscience, simply by eating a plant-based diet. But I find that very hard to do because of variety, taste, and the fact that I live with an almost absolute carnivore. In short, I am selfish.
I want to get to where the only meat I eat is either ethically raised and harvested or hunted. Growing up, I didn’t understand hunting and thought it cruel, never once considering what the farm animals I ate went through before ever making it to my family’s table. I have come to understand both, better. One thing that is true and clear to me is that something must die for something else to live, no matter where on the food chain said something resides. Whether it comes from plants or animals, energy must be consumed for life to go on.
However, that does not alleviate the responsibility we have to maintain life in the most ethically and humane way possible. We have made ourselves the stewards of the earth through our evolution and our ever-growing demands upon it. Conservation and care of every species, including our own, lies almost directly in our hands. Therefore, we should absolutely be concerned with how we are treating other sentient creatures. While animals may not think as we do, they do feel fear and compassion. The natural order should be respected as much as possible in our effort to feed the masses. Unfortunately, the current state of most factory-farmed animals is horrific, at best. We must do better.
I don’t want to linger on the suffering, though. It is mostly ineffective in anything other than producing anxiety or, more commonly, apathy in us. What I do want to do is to encourage all of us to reduce our meat and dairy intake. Not give it up, just reduce it. We already indulge in too much red meat, burgers, steaks, etc. And although many of us grew up with meat for every meal, this is not even close to necessary. There are many other ways to get the protein you need without consuming animals or animal products.
So, what do you think? Can you go one day per week without these food sources? How about one meal per day? What do you feel comfortable with? I don’t have all the answers to the problem, but we can find room for a solution if we can reduce the demand.
Thanks for reading. As always, feel free to reach out to me. Conversations are important.