How I Became a Vegetarian

Lil Pig, originally uploaded by UnoLobo.

One day a friend and I were driving in the countryside and came upon a pen of baby pigs owned by an agricultural college. We got out and walked to the pen.

The pigs ran up to us just like dogs would. They stood on their legs to reach us, wanting to be petted. What a sensation it was. Their skin was very dry, and I immediately understood why they want to be lubricated.

Their little tails would uncurl and sort of wag in delight as we lavished attention upon these sweet little creatures. I had heard that pigs are at least as intelligent as dogs, but what I was not prepared for was their affectionate nature.

From that moment on, I no longer could eat pigs. It was totally out of the question, just as it is with eating, say, dogs. That began my inevitable march toward vegetarianism. Later I spent time with some cows: they, too, were curious and full of personality.

I wonder: Americans eat many times more meat than we ever have. Is it because we so seldom get to experience the joy and spirit of farm animals?

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6 thoughts on “How I Became a Vegetarian

  1. I think there’s a good point made.perhaps if we weren’t so far removed from our environment, our attitudes, consumption and gross culture of waste would disappear.

    I grew up eating meat, and tho I’ve increased the amount of beans and pasta in my meals, its difficult to imagine letting it go for good.but I certainly won’t be buying pork anytime soon.

    As always, a great post to read!

  2. What a cute piglet! That’s a great story. Have you ever heard of visiting Farm Sanctuary? It sounds right up your alley…

    As far as your question, I think it all depends. I have met people that could look an animal in the eye, hunt it, and then eat it. While being removed from the environment probably plays a large part for many, there are plenty of people who just don’t care about animals, unfortunately. Very sad.

  3. i get where you’re coming from as far as not -knowing goes. but for me, it was the opposite.
    growing up in america, i never knew where my meat was coming from — so i gave up meat for more than 7 years.
    now i’m in korea and meat is an everyday part of life here. you can’t avoid it, especially not out in the country where i live. before coming here, i’d never seen an actual pig farm or a piggery. but now that i’ve seen them — and interacted with the pigs and cows and dogs — i feel a little bit better eating them. (yes, i have eaten dogs.)

    i think it’s time we come to terms with our omnivoerus nature instead of denying what we are and where we come from.

  4. Hi Justin,

    I’m glad you wrote. I think the critical issue is how animals are treated before they are slaughtered. In your case, where you live, I suspect they are able to live naturally, that is, in the sun, grazing, and able to raise their young as nature intended.

    What horrifies me is factory farming and the suffering it causes. And the obliviousness of people who only want the cheapest meat and who don’t think about the suffering required for it.

    Does that make sense?

    There is another argument, made recently by food writer Mark Bittman in the New York Times. He shows that one-fifth of greenhouse gases come from livestock. He is not a vegetarian, but he argues that if everyone simply cut down on their meat consumption to what it had been a hundred years ago, we could go far in addressing global warming. And, eating less meat would be healthier, he maintains. You can read it here: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/27/weekinreview/27bittman.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=bittman+meat+pollution&st=nyt&oref=slogin

    I think it’s good to exchange info on this important matter. Thanks for visiting my blog and for writing. I like your blog, too!

    Vicki

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