I’m always inspired by others who follow their convictions with conviction. I’m inspired and I little in awe because I can’t seem to do it. It’s hard to do the right thing all the time. I know that doesn’t make it any less right. But it is still hard. What gets even harder is determining what exactly is the right thing to do.
I’m a huge animal lover. I’m a proud supported of the ASPCA and the United States Humane Society. I’ve been a supporter of the IWF, NWF, WWF, Best Friends, APL, and almost every other abbreviation you can think of. Yes. I really really like animals. I care about them and I’m a strong advocate for animal welfare.
I’m a card-carrying conservative but I have to admit that once upon a time, I was even a member of PETA.
Everybody has their thing and for me, animals are my thing. So how do I reconcile that with my lifestyle?
You see, I eat meat and I’m not really pleased that I do. Is it a religious issue? A moral issue? A health issue?
Probably all of the above but, for me, it’s an ethical dilemma. I’ve never been comfortable with the idea of killing anything, even if it is to eat it and nourish my body. I just don’t like it. I hate hunting and fishing and the like, for the same reasons. Maybe even more so because so much of it is done for sport.
How do I deal with my ethical dilemma? I don’t think about it. Out of sight, out of mind. My brain doesn’t make the connection between the farm animals out in the field and the dinner on my plate. And I prefer it that way. But every once in a while, I’m reminded of the choices I make.
I live in North Carolina, one of the top pork producing states in the country. When I’m out on the highway, I often smell the pig farms and I see trucks like the following.
It’s a pig transporter. I remember the first time I saw one, I kept thinking that those pigs aren’t going to slaughter. I’m sure they’re being used for…. what? Milk? Eggs? Nope. Pigs are used for meat. That’s it.
And if you get close enough, you’ll almost always see their faces and their little snouts doing their best to get fresh air.
It kills me to see this. To make this connection with my food.
So why aren’t I a vegetarian? It sounds like a no brainer. The answer? Because I like eating meat (mostly).
I Like Chicken
I’d be happy to eat the fake chicken (there are some very good substitutes out there). But I’m not sure I could find a suitable substitute for fried chicken.
I Like Beef
I am not a big beef eater. I like it but I try to stay health-conscious and limit my red meat. I really enjoy a good filet mignon or even prime rib (with horseradish). And every once in a while, I go nuts for a cheeseburger. Veggie burgers are good in their own right but they are no substitute for beef.
I Like Pork
I am surprisingly not a big fan of bacon. I’d be fine if I never had bacon again. Or pork chops. But I love ham. And I love hot dogs (usually made with pork). But I’ve more than enjoyed the veggie dogs (especially the corn dogs made by Morningstar Farms).
I Like Seafood
I like most types of fish and shellfish. I’m especially fond of tilapia, sea bass, red snapper and other flaky whitefish. And I love me some crab legs. I’m cool with scallops too.
I wonder if I could survive as a vegetarian. I actually went to a vegan dinner last year at BlogHer ’10. I was recruited to dinner with @laurenacarlton to a vegan restaurant. I was apprehensive. No meat – fine. No eggs or cheese or any sort of dairy – can’t be any good.
It actually was an amazing meal. I can’t even tell you what was in it but I was amazed by the flavors and textures. Maybe if I lived in NYC and could eat take-out every night, it might be more feasible.
Can I make the switch? What would I miss? How would I adjust? Is anybody else as conflicted about the food they eat? I welcome thoughts from all omnivores, carnivores, vegetarians, vegans, and pescetarians alike.