There are a lot of videos out there about the cruelty necessary to produce meat. I just watched this one at www.meat.org. I still eat meat sometimes, I must admit, even though I have had some memorable experiences that would make a lesser (or smarter) man go vegetarian.
Like the time my friend Wayne and I were driving up I-75 and stopped in a Hardee’s. We unapologetically ordered the Monster Burger: 2 patties, 8 strips of bacon, cheese, condiments, and bread. This was a real treat. Less than halfway through his burger, Wayne started gagging and spit the meat on his tray. There was something very subtle about the beef that he just couldn’t stomach. I’ve heard a theory that when a cow has an especially heinous death, there’s something unpleasant in their karma/nervous system that the consumer can subtly taste.
Or, there was that time in the Peace Corps in Haiti when I was riding my bike by the waterfront. I was going pretty fast, but I saw a very large pig with its legs tied up. A man was just about to put a knife to its throat. I turned around and joined the small crowd who was watching. The man stuck the pig and it began to squeal loudly. He kept moving the knife up and down in the pigs neck. Maybe he was going for the vocal chords, but he never found them, because the pig just squealed louder and louder as the minutes went on. You could see in the pig’s eyes that it was very much still alive and feeling the pain. Oh well.
It is a little sad, and I’ve found that I don’t really need meat to live. My father is a black man born during World War II. When someone in that demographic asks you what’s for dinner, the answer better be some meat. The side dishes are just that; sides. As a physician, he knows the risks, and he’s a pretty healthy eater, actually. He pointed out to us as kids that we have to cook meat to partially digest it because our stomachs can’t take it raw. That’s a sign, isn’t it?
So, I’ve cut way back on meat. I might do an occasional slice of bacon or the odd burger. It helps that my wife never eats beef or pork under any circumstances. A lot of times, I’m only eating meat to be diplomatic. If Aunt Betty has some boiled pig intestines seasoned just right for New Year’s, I can’t say no to Aunt Betty. Or if I’m at a pizza party, I’ll take a slice of pepperoni and save the cheese for the serious vegetarians. I know PETA and the others probably wouldn’t accept my rationale, but hey, I’m a work in progress here.