About a year and a half ago, I read Rethinking the Meat Guzzler in the New York Times and decided it was time for a change. I, of course, had had a brush with vegetarianism in college, after reading Peter Singer in one of my philosophy classes and watching a video of cruel factory farm practices. However, I never quite got to the point of acting on my discomfort. But something was different this time, and my moment of dissonance prompted me to write the "Eating Animals" post reproduced below. After writing this as a note on Facebook, many of my friends responded with encouragement and suggestions.
So, that was the beginning of my journey. Since that time, I’ve been continually trying to define exactly what my commitment means. Is eating eggs okay when the laying hens have just as bad or arguably worse lives than the chickens raised for meat? What are the implications of eating tofu "chicken" nuggets and TVP "beef" crumbles every night? As I’ve tried to answer these and so many more questions for myself, I’ve come to understand myself as what I’m calling an “ethivore” rather than a traditional vegetarian.
For me (at this point at least) this means:
As I write this blog, I’ll be expanding on these ideas and the implications of everyday food choices, as well as sharing some of the ways that I try to make it easy and delicious to follow my heart. If you have a similar story, resources to share, or particular question for me, please respond in the comments section!
- I rarely eat any meat or seafood at all.
- When I do, I assure that the animal in question was raised/ caught and slaughtered in a way that was humane and not overly harmful to the natural environment.
- I don’t eat red meat at all.
- I don’t generally eat eggs if I can avoid it, but I will still eat things baked by others that contain eggs (for reasons I will blog about later). When I buy eggs myself, I make sure they’re cage-free. I’ve also been experimenting with vegan baking.
- I also try to be mindful of other ethical considerations when I choose food: Was it grown or raised without pesticides, genetic modification, growth hormones, or excessive antibiotics? Was it grown locally? With fair treatment of farm labor? Bought at a fair price? Packaged minimally and in reusable or recyclable materials? This is a lot to think about, and I’m still trying to improve my awareness and decision-making in these areas.