Vegetarianism as a THOUGHT, as an INTENT, is a positive thing. It is a hope for personal progression and an awareness regarding the suffering of animals. Vegetarianism as an ACTION is WORTHLESS. It is no different than putting a bolt pistol to a pig’s forehead and pulling the trigger, for the victims of vegetarianism suffer the same fate as the victims of omnivorous eating habits. The dairy cows imprisoned in crates, whose babies have been stolen from them, who have been milked dry, literally, do not benefit from vegetarianism. The chickens equally imprisoned in crates with no room to turn around, growing festering sores on their bodies as they rub up against the cages, held until they can produce eggs no more, also benefit nothing from the value of vegetarianism. It is a morally bankrupt position and should be treated as such, for the benefit to the animals is the measure of all our actions and vegetarianism is nowhere near a less-harmful position to take.
My personal transition from vegetarianism to veganism didn’t last long, because the glaring inconsistencies weighed on me continuously. I was often pressed to justify my vegetarianism and could never comfortably offer a response that was consistent with my attempt to do no harm. I fell back on the stupid societal perceptions of alternative ways of eating to explain away my half-measures.
“Look at me, I’m so skinny. If I go vegan I’ll get sick and probably die!”, I’d exaggeratedly exclaim.
That, of course, was just immaturity and a lazy consideration of the issue. It was only when I WANTED to be consistent in my approach did I actually start considering whether I could go vegan or not. Then it all fell into place and the idea of vegetarianism just became laughable. Mind you, this was back in ’94 when I was in college and sometimes subsisted on plates of peas to get me by. This was before health food sections in grocery stores and a plethora of alternative meat and cheese options. It was legitimately more difficult to eat a packaged food vegan diet back then. We would praise Keebler Soft Batch cookies like they were dropped from heaven, excitedly inform all our friends when we stumbled upon accidentely vegan candies, and stuff our pockets full of samosas from all you can eat Indian buffets to save for later. Things were different back then.
So forgive me if I’m a little hard on vegetarianism, but it’s time has come to be scorned. We, as a culture, have come so far in terms of nutrition education, meat and dairy “transition foods”, and the general awareness of the vegan diet that I no longer see vegetarianism as a logical transition to veganism. If the goal is to stop harming animals, then we need to take the step from eating animals and their by-products to simply NOT eating animals and their by-products. We don’t need half-measures, we don’t need slow transitions. We’ve got the communities, cultures, and resources to make the switch from omnivorous eating to veganism immediately. Hell, the movie Forks Over Knives is converting people without a concern for animals to veganism overnight, and they even advocate cutting out MORE than what basic veganism asks.
The long accepted slow transition from eating animals to not eating animals is really just a matter of cultural perception and personal comfort that should be negated when we’re talking about the lives of animals. If we accept vegetarianism in this cultural climate as an acceptable transition to veganism, then it follows we should slow the transition even further to pescatarianism, red meat vegetarianism, etc. etc. Aren’t we at the point that all these half-measures (and quarter-measures, one-eight measures) can be viewed as just selfish and lazy? The bottom line is we have the infrastructure and knowledge in place to EASILY remove ourselves from eating animals and therefore should do so. I’m all about helping people make that transition and making it as easy as possible, but the continued enslavement, torture and killing of animals should no longer be a part of it. We are beyond that.
Thoughts and intents to do no harm are great, but it’s the actions that truly matter. End vegetarianism…go vegan.