What’s up with vegetarianism, anyway?

Here’s my thing with vegetarianism and veganism as a means of impacting power over the meat industry – it inherently can’t work.

ID-100102841My bias is actually surprising for this one. I am a huge animal lover and not a big fan of meat. Where I grew up it wasn’t widely available or part of the normal diet so I guess I never developed a palate for it. While I am not a vegetarian, I eat meat normally no more than a single meal a day, and some days go without entirely.

Note that this isn’t me patting myself on my shoulder for being so eco-conscious, but clarifying my position, because I don’t think that does a damn thing to improve conditions for animals in slaughterhouses and factory farms.

What does help, I think, is meat eaters being pickier about the meat they buy.

Before I go any further, I want to make it very very clear that I don’t inherently disagree with the stance of vegans and abhor animal abuse. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to even talk about the atrocities committed in the name of tastiness. I am absolutely not in any way doubting their sincerity. I am only trying to explore a more effective way to achieve the dream – a significant reduction in cruelty.  

Here’s the thing, once you’ve removed yourself from the buyer pool, you’ve essentially stripped yourself of power in the eyes of the industry, which sees only in dollar signs. If you don’t eat meat, and all they sell is meat, they already know you’re a waste of effort. You’ll never buy their product, so who cares what you think?

Take on the other hand, my many carnivorous friends and family. I know people who will eat a steak the side of a baby’s torso. It’s insanity.

Point is, these people are the lifeblood of companies like KFC and Maple Leaf and the like. If you change their purchasing habits to other companies that sell cruelty-free meat, in my humble opinion, is far more effective.

And now, a comparison of the tactics involved with my idea versus the current methodology:

 

Now

THE FUTURE! Please, hold the applause!

The Approach

The general approach is to show people horrific (and completely true) images and videos from slaughterhouses to shame them into ending their relationship with meat altogether.

Another approach is to create comparisons between children’s cognition and that of the various animals that end up on our plates. Pigs, being crazy smart, are often used in this method.

Eat meat! Enjoy it knowing that no one had to suffer. Look at the labels next time you’re in the shop and buy meat obtained from farms that farm sustainably, don’t pump their animals full of drugs, and treat them well. Even now, there is a growing number of them.

Plus, this can totally be added to the existing roster as another style of campaigning rather than replacing the current methods entirely.

The End Result

Well, it gets to some people. It really does. It gets to me all the time, and I barely even touch the stuff.

The problem is that what it does more effectively is alienate a huge portion of the population. It’s easy to call them monsters, and some are, but it is so easy not to think about things. It’s how people survive genocides, work shitty jobs, and watch reality TV. So horrific video or not, most people will keep eating meat, and won’t think twice about it.

The idea here is the complete opposite, but also identical. By encouraging people to consume meat responsibly, we are attacking the industry’s main customers in a way that empowers them to affect real tangible change rather than shames them into eating meat in the closer with the lights off while these companies get away with torture and murder. As demand shifts to fairly treated meat, companies that don’t respond will die, and their nasty practices with them. 

Then we can start working on the next steps.

 

So here it is. My treatise on vegetarianism/veganism for the purposes of social justice and social justice only. I know plenty of vegans who do it just because they either don’t like the taste of meat or because of health reasons, or because of the massive environmental toll that animal breeding takes on our one and only Mother Earth. Even to avoid feeling the hypocrisy of loving animals and eating an animal you basically had contract killed.

All of that is fine. But don’t tell me you don’t eat meat to effect change in the world. It’s a shame, but you’re doing your own cause a disservice.

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