I am a born again vegetarian.
"Born again" because I've been a vegetarian several times in my life:
- When my parents took me to the Westside Market and I saw an entire severed pig head in a deli case (that lasted several months)
- After that claymation movie about the chickens escaping from the farm with Mel Gibson as one of the voices (that lasted at least six weeks or so. I mean seriously, how could you even look a chicken nugget without remembering those ADORABLE clay chicks?!)
- In high school for a while
- In college on and off
Each time, my reasons were different: adorableness of animals, persuaded by a character in The Babysitter's Club books, hearing someone say "I don't eat anything with a face," I could go on.
And the truth is, I have really never loved meat that much. Steak always grossed me out. Pork? Not a fan. Anything on the bone turned my stomach (until I discovered chicken wings in college and could look past it because of the yummy sauces that were drenched all over them ... mmm... Europe Gyro spicy garlic...)
But I'm back on the veg wagon have having read about and learned a lot about factory farming, including the treatment of animals and the environmental impact. (In addition to adorableness and the whole thing about meat having a face.)
I'm not going to get on a soap box. I still feed factory farmed meat to my husband and son. I'd prefer not to, but that just not something that's gonna happen. (Seriously, sometimes I wonder what Brian was thinking proposing to me: a hippie wannabe, liberal, Hispanic, Catholic-turned-Jew? But, what can I say? It works. Ben will either grow up very balanced or very confused. :) )
I'd still eat meat, if I could confirm the animal who gave its life was able cared for and able to live the best life possible -- one with a healthy diet close to what nature intended, adequate space and the ability to do its animal things like roll in the mud, raise its children, graze in the field (or peck in the coop or swim in the stream) -- and that it was slaughtered swiftly and without fear or undue stress.
Some day, when we don't have doggies, I'd like to have chickens and my own eggs. (Yes, in my suburb. I don't live on a farm.)
I'm not a vegan -- yet. I'm getting there. And I'm learning as I go. But I can tell you this: it's not hard. For me, it's the right choice.
P.S. If you're at all intersted in reading what I did, check out The Omnivore's Dilemma and Eating Animals (in that order). Both are written by men who wanted to understand from where their food came. Neither book is preachy or defines absolutes, and both are fascinating.